First Principles of Business Law

Sources of law: case law
10. Citing a law report

10.2. Other kinds of citation




Medium neutral citations.  Some citations do not contain a reference to a law report series but instead refer to the particular court that decided the case. Citations of this kind are known as 'medium neutral' citations because they do not depend on where and how the case is published. Medium neutral citations are useful for finding cases published on electronic databases and cases that are not published in a printed reports series. A medium neutral citation begins with a case name, followed by the relevant year, an abbreviated reference to the court that decided the case and the file number of the case, indicating which number case it was decided in that year.

An example is Cohen v Cohen [1929] HCA 15. In this citation, HCA refers to the High Court of Australia (rather than to a law report series). Other courts have their own medium neutral abbreviations for example FCA for the Federal Court of Australia; NSWCA for the New South Wales Court of Appeal and VSC for the Supreme Court of Victoria.  Click here to see a table of abbreviations used in medium neutral citations.

Multiple (or parallel) citations.  Sometimes, more than one citation is given for a particular case, for example, a medium neutral citation together with a traditional citation to an authorised law report series or an unauthorised series. In such instances, the individual citations follow each other, separated by a semi-colon.

An example is: Cohen v Cohen [1929] HCA 15; (1929) 42 CLR 91.

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