Use case citators to find cases
A case citator is an index to case law. It provides a summary of the case along with additional information, such as:
You can search citators using the case name, citation or partial information such as the name of at least one party, the jurisdiction or court to find a case.
Is a case still 'good law'?
Both major citators (CaseBase and FirstPoint) contain a signaling system so you can quickly identify whether a case is still 'good law'. Good law are judgments that are still being followed or applied by the courts, and is therefore still current and good law to rely on in your arguments. Below are the symbols used by the citators:
A negative (red) signal is given to decisions which have been subsequently reversed, not followed, disapproved or overruled
A cautionary (yellow) signal is given to decisions which have been subsequently distinguished, explained, questioned or varied.
A positive (green) signal is given to decisions which have been subsequently applied, approved, followed or affirmed.
A neutral signal is given to decisions which been either considered or cited (also 'referred to' or 'discussed').
A citation information signal is given to decisions for which there is only citation information available.
A red flag warns that the case bas been reversed, varied, disapproved or overruled on at least one point of law.
A yellow flag warns that the case should be viewed with caution, however the case has not been reserved, disapproved or overruled.
An enclosed blue 'H' indicates that the case has some history but it is not known to be negative history.
An enclosed green 'C' indicates that the case has citing references but no direct or negative indirect history.
Finding cases considering legislation
Finding journal articles discussing a case
The case citators outlined above also include links to selected journal articles and commentary services discussing a case. To search for more journal articles, we recommend:
INFORMIT (Melb Uni staff & students only).
AustLII Journals (open access)
Finding cases on a topic
Below are a series of steps for locating cases on a topic.
1. Start with secondary sources such as textbooks, which will cite significant cases on the topic.
2. Find relevant journal articles, use topic keywords to search:
4. In addition to using secondary sources:
TIP: the case law databases will find many cases, but not all will be significant - use books, articles and commentaries to ensure the importance of the case.