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Style Manual

Authoritative reports

Case citations rely on authorised and unauthorised law report series. Use the correct abbreviations for Australian law report series. This will help people find the judgements you cite.

Cite an authorised law report if one is available

When you are referring to case law, you will generally cite a law report.

There are Commonwealth, state and territory law reports. They contain court judgments in cases that are important for legal reasons.

Reported cases generally set a precedent for similar cases. A written judgement is a useful summary of the key points of a case.

Not all court decisions are published. Where they are not published, they are called unreported judgments. Unreported judgments are less persuasive than reported judgments.

Authorised and unauthorised reports

Citations use common abbreviations for the titles of law reports. A law report is part of either an authorised or unauthorised report series.

The courts review, annotate and approve authorised law reports for publication. Wherever you can, cite an authorised law report using the relevant abbreviation.

Unauthorised law reports are legitimate reports that haven’t gone through the same process before publication. Tribunals and smaller courts often have unauthorised reports. These can be the only available reports of those decisions.

Use common abbreviations for authorised reports

This section lists common abbreviations for authorised law report series. Each series comprises judgments by specific courts and tribunals.

State and territory reports have common abbreviations for series titles that cover different periods.

Commonwealth jurisdictions

  • ALD (Administrative Law Decisions) – Administrative Appeals Tribunal – 1976 onward
  • CLR (Commonwealth Law Reports) – High Court – 1903 onward
  • FCR (Federal Court Reports) – Federal Court – 1984 onward
  • IR (Industrial Reports) – Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Fair Work Australia, Fair Work Commission – 2006 onward

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory

  • ACTLR (Australian Capital Territory Law Reports) – 2007 onward
  • ACTR (Australian Capital Territory Reports) – 1973 to 2008

Supreme Court of New South Wales

  • NSWLR (New South Wales Law Reports) – 1971 onward
  • NSWR (New South Wales Reports) – 1960 to 1970
  • SR (NSW) (State Reports NSW) – 1901 to 1959

Supreme Court of Northern Territory

  • NTLR (Northern Territory Law Reports) – 1990 onward
  • NTR (Northern Territory Reports) – 1979 to 1991

Supreme Court of Queensland

  • QdR (Queensland Reports) – 1958 onward
  • St R Qd (State Reports Queensland) – 1902 to 1957

Supreme Court of South Australia

  • SASR (South Australian State Reports) – 1971 onward
  • SRSA (State Reports South Australia) – 1921 to 1970
  • SALR (South Australian Law Report) – 1899 to 1920

Supreme Court of Tasmania

  • Tas R (Tasmanian Reports) – 1979 onward
  • Tas SR (State Reports Tasmania) – 1941 to 1978
  • Tas LR (Tasmanian Law Reports) – 1904 to 1940

Supreme Court of Victoria

  • VR (Victorian Reports) – 1957 onward
  • VLR (Victorian Law Reports) – 1875 to 1956

Supreme Court of Western Australia

  • WAR (Western Australian Reports) – 1958 onward
  • WALR (Western Australian Law Reports) – 1898 to 1958

Use standard abbreviations for unauthorised reports

If the law report has no authorised version, you might need to use the abbreviations from this select list of unauthorised law report series:

  • ACLR (Australian Company Law Reports)
  • ACompT (Australian Competition Tribunal)
  • ALJR (Australian Law Journal Reports)
  • ALR (Australian Law Reports)
  • APO (Australian Patent Office)
  • ATR (Australian Tax Reports)
  • ATMO (Australian Trade Marks Office)
  • CAR (Commonwealth Arbitration Reports)
  • ACopyT (Copyright Tribunal of Australia)
  • ADFDAT (Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal)
  • FWC (Fair Work Commission)
  • Fam LR (Family Law Reports)
  • FCCA (Federal Circuit Court of Australia)
  • FLR (Federal Law Reports)
  • HCA (High Court of Australia)
  • NNTA (National Native Title Tribunal).

Release notes

Guidance on citing legal material lists abbreviations for authorised and unauthorised reports. This is new content that did not appear in the sixth edition or the Content Guide

About this page

References

Australian National University (n.d.) ‘Authorised law reports’, A guide to Australian legal research resources, ANU Library website, accessed 2 June 2020.

Cardiff University (2020) Cardiff index to legal abbreviations, Cardiff University website, accessed 15 June 2020.

Greenleaf G (2005) ‘Australian law report series’, Advanced legal resources, UNSW Faculty of Law website, accessed 2 June 2020.

Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc and Melbourne Journal of International Law (2018) ‘2.3.2 Abbreviations for report series’ Australian guide to legal citation, 4th edn, Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc, accessed 15 June 2020.

The University of Melbourne (2020) ‘Authorised law reports: Australia: Commonwealth’, Library guides, The University of Melbourne website, accessed 15 June 2020.

The University of Melbourne (2020) ‘Authorised law reports: Australia: states & territories’, Library guides, The University of Melbourne website, accessed 15 June 2020

The University of Sydney (2020) ‘Law reports: Australia’, Library subject guides, The University of Sydney website, accessed 15 June 2020.

Thomson Reuters Australia (2017) ‘Legislation and commentary table of abbreviations’, Westlaw AU Guides, Thomson Reuters Australia, accessed 16 June 2020.

This page was updated Tuesday 8 September 2020.

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