Answered By: The Library, University of Notre Dame Australia
Last Updated: Jul 10, 2020     Views: 676

Round and square brackets refer only to whether there is more than one volume for the year in that particular report series. Cases may appear in several series depending on editorial interest and the importance of the case.

For example: High Court decisions are reported in the Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR), Australian Law Reports (ALR) and Australian Law Journal Reports (ALJR). The ALR and ALJR are unauthorised series and the CLR authorised. A decision may be reported in all three series.

Note: An authorised report should always be cited in preference to an unauthorised report, or unreported judgment (see AGLC Rule 2.2.2)

Authorised or official series of reports have official approval by the judiciary (Council of Law Reporting). In each jurisdiction only one series is designated authorised. Cases which enunciate a general principle or point of law are usually included in the authorised series of reports.

Unauthorised series of reports (authoritative reports):

  • Are produced more quickly and are often directed towards specialist practitioners:
  • Include reports of cases which may be later published in an authorised series
  • Can also include reports which may be only of transient interest, or illustrate the application of authoritative cases.
  • Unreported judgments are considered medium neutral - you identify them from the year, court and jurisdiction, and case number.

To check if a law report series is authorised or unauthorised see the law Authorised Law Report section in the CheckLIST law guide.