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South African Law

Reported Decisions - Law Reports

Law Reports held by the Law Library

South African Reports

South African cases are reported very selectively. There is no official South African report series. The most familiar unofficial reporter is the South African Law Reports (abbreviation = SA) (vol 1 1947 to current - held in print only), and according to AGLC, this is the report series that should be cited where possible. This series reports leading judgments from the superior courts: Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and High Courts, as well as selected judgments from Zimbabwe and Namibia. The South African Law Reports are held in print only - on Level 4 of the Law Library. 

Prior to the South African Law Reports, a number of law reports cover South African cases from 1828 to 1946. Prior to the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, law reports were published for each of the High Courts in the Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. From 1910 onwards, decisions of the Appellate Division were reported in addition to the separate reports for the four Provincial Divisions. The Law Library holds these law reports on microform in off-site storage. They can be requested via the catalogue:

Other Report Series

  • Butterworths South African Constitutional Law Reports (on LexisNexis Advance, 1991 to current (UniMelb staff and student access)) 
    • Provides selected decisions from the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court pertaining to the interpretation of the South African Constitution. SACLR is available online on  Also included are key constitutional law decisions from neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. Most decisions are in English, but a significant number are in Afrikaans. Each case has an extensive summary provided in English. This database can only be searched - there is no table of contents by year.


  • Industrial Law Journal: including the Industrial Law Reports (on HEIN Online, from vol 1 1980 to current with a three year embargo (UniMelb staff and student access))
    • Appeals from South African courts were heard by the Judicial Committee of the UK Privy Council until 1950. These were reported in the English authorised Appeal Cases (AC), which contain some important South African appeals. The Appeal Cases are available on the ICLR platform (UniMelb staff and student access). The unreported decisions are available on the Privy Council Papers website, which links to full-text judgments on BAILII (open access), where available.