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The National Library holds law reports published in Australia from 1825. Historical sets of law reports are also held for many overseas countries. Overseas law reports are currently collected mainly from the Asia/Pacific region. International law is represented through the reports of international tribunals such as the International Court of Justice.
Court records include unpublished decisions, transcripts of proceedings (verbatim accounts of statements given during the course of proceedings), letters, lists of trials, depositions, circulars, bench books etc. They may cover the topics of wills (grants of probate or letters of administration), divorce, bankruptcy, civil and criminal cases, naturalisation, newspaper registrations, and conscientious objectors.
Summaries of court proceedings may be reported in daily newspapers. To locate newspaper reports of trials and cases, online full-text newspaper databases are available, as well as indexes, in the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room.
This guide contains selected print works only.
Most individual law reports are not listed in the Library's catalogue. Reference to judgments and decisions that have been published in law reports is given in the form of a case citation. They are usually referred to by year (in brackets), volume number, title abbreviation and first page eg the Mabo decision of the High Court published in the Australian law reports is cited as (1992) 107 A.L.R. 1. To convert the law report abbreviation to a full title use the books listed under the section Legal Citations and Abbreviations below, then do a catalogue search on the title.
To search for collections of law reports, select the Browse subjects option. Examples of Browse subjects searches are:
To search for law reports on a particular subject, select the Browse subjects option. Examples of Browse subjects searches are:
Cases that do not fulfil the necessary criteria for publication in a law report belong to material known as unreported judgments. To find unreported judgments held by the National Library, search the catalogue under the name of the court, tribunal or commission as an Organisation, or Browse subjects such as:
NB Some unreported judgments are available on the web through court web pages. Others may be obtained from the registry of the court where the judgment was delivered.
To find court and tribunal transcripts use Advanced Search. Enter the name of the court or tribunal into the Find box eg. High Court; select Author from the drop-down list on the right; enter the truncated word 'transcript?' into the second Find box; select Title from the drop-down list on the right; then select the Search button below.
Available on open access in the Main Reading Room unless otherwise specified.