If you are not sure what case you are looking for start with secondary sources to help you find relevant cases.
You can find cases in different ways, including:
Use the taps at the top of this box to see examples of using each of these methods.
If you have the citation of the case you are looking for, for example, from your textbook or unit material, you can search and find a case by using those details.
This is what a case citation looks like:
Type the citation after the case name into the search box of the case citators to find the case in law databases.
The case name are the parties that are involved in the case. Not all case names are unique, for example, the same parties may be involved in different matters before the court or in different stages of appeal. It is therefore important when searching by case name to know a little about the case you want to find, for example, what the case was about or the year?
You will need to use specialised databases that contain case law. They include;
Tell me things I need to know about cases.
Not every case that goes before a court will have a written decision. Some are written and made available on court websites. Some cases are selected to be published inside a report. A law report is a collection of cases.
For example, High Court decisions are available on the court's website and are later reported in the Commonwealth Law Reports.
A case citation are the numbers and letters that appear after the case name, these details tell you where the case was published and will help you find the case.
Sometimes a case may be published is several different reports and this will lead to difference case citations (parallel citations).
Authorised reports are decisions that have been approved by a judge, or their associate, and published in a specified report. In Australian courts, it is standard practice to cite an authorised report over other versions, and it is a requirement of the AGLC when citing case law (Rule 2.3). You can find a list of authorised reports on the Law Guide Case Law Page. Sometimes a case may not be published in an authorised report and you may have to cite another version see Rule 2.3 of the AGLC for specific examples.
Once you find the case, you will need to see if it is still being used or if the law is current. Watch the video below that will help you find out if the case is still good law.
Searching by citation.
You lecturer mentions a US case in reference to drug trafficking offenses in international jurisdictions. Using the citation off your lecture PowerPoint slides you want to quickly find the case and read about the case.
Searching using keywords.
For your assignment you have a problem-solving question where a child is injured on a slide during a school day, the local school that owns the slide asks for your advice on their duty of care for the child. You want to know if there have been any cases that are similar and will help you answer the question.