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South African Law

Parallel Citations - and which version do I Cite?

Cases on SAFLII (open access) includes parallel citations, so it is an easy way to find if your case is in a law report series for the purpose of citing the case appropriately.

South Africa has no authorised reports series. The most familiar unofficial reporter is the South African Law Reports (vol 1 1947 to current), and according to AGLC, this is the report series that should be cited where possible. 

In SAFLII the titles of the report series are abbreviated. To find the full title so you can check the Library catalogue for holdings, use the Law Library's Legal Abbreviations webpage.

In the example below, the case was heard in the Constitutional Court. The citation lists firstly the file number, then the medium neutral citation ([1995] ZACC 1) the SA (South African Law Reports), the BCLR (Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports), and the SACR (South African Criminal Law Reports), and the CHRLD (Commonwealth Human Rights Law Digest). To check if we have any of these report series, refer to the Law Reports page of this Guide, or check the Library catalogue. In this case, you should use the South African Law Reports citation: [1995] 2 SA 642.

Given that South Africa has no authorised report series, the preferable versions for AGLC citation purposes are, in priority order:

  1. The South African Law Reports (SA)
  2. generalist report series eg: All South African Law Reports (All SA)
  3. specialist report series eg: Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports (BCLR)
  4. unreported
    • medium neutral citation eg: ZACC (South African Constitutional Court)

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