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Reported and Unreported cases

Reported cases:

Case details that are published in a law reports series in print or electronic format

Unreported:

Often only a digested summary, judgment or the transcript of a case is available

It takes between a few months to up to two years for details of cases to be reported in a law report or for a judgement to be published in either print or electronic form.

If a case is reported it is straightforward to find the case report as all reported cases have a reference known as a case citation. Case citations always follow the same format no matter if the case is civil or criminal.

Abbreviations are used in citations to summarise the titles of the law report series that contains details of the case. Law reports are available in print and electronic format.

There are a number of different formats for law report case citations:

Example 1

R v Martin (Anthony Edward) [2003] QB 1

To find the case with this reference it would be necessary to look in the 2003 year book of the Law Reports series with the abbreviation QB and turn to page 1. In this case citation the year is in square brackets [2003], this information indicates that the case was reported in 2003, not that it was heard in 2003.

Example 2

R v Martin (Anthony Edward) [2002] 1 Cr. App. R. 27

To find this case report the first volume of the 2002 yearbook for the law report series with the abbreviation Cr. App. R and turn to page 27. In this case citation the year is in square brackets [2002]. This information indicates that the case was reported in 2002, not that it was heard in 2002.

Example 3

R v Martin (Anthony Edward) (2001) 145 S.J.L.B. 253

This report can be located in the 145th volume of the law report series with the abbreviation SJLB, on page 253. As the date is in round brackets, (2001) it indicates that this is the date the case was first heard, not reported and therefore has no influence on where the case is reported.

A case can have a number of different citations as it can be reported in more then one series of law reports.