Case law is law made by the courts, and consists of the judge's written reasons for his or her decision. Sometimes the judge does not release written reasons. Verbal judgments are called 'ex tempore' and are not reported. Additionally, jury cases do not have written judgments. Cases may be referred to as judgments or decisions, and sometimes reasons or orders.
Judgments made in legal cases have been recorded for hundreds of years. In England the earliest cases were recorded in the yearbooks which date from the thirteenth century. In Australia legal cases have been recorded in various series of law reports since the very early days of European settlement.
Typical case law research tasks include:
Case citators provide information on where to find cases. The citator lists all of the report series in which a case is reported, and for each case also includes information on:
The case citators that we have at JCU are:
Digests provide summaries of important superior court decisions but do not contain full text cases. They allow you to find cases by name as well as the following :
The Australian Digest
The Australian Digest aims to provide a digest (or summary) of all reported decisions of Australian superior courts since 1825.
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