Case law & statute referencing

Both civil law cases and statutes are cited in the same way in-text and in your reference list. The elements appear in a particular order.

Case law


  • The name of the plaintiff, then
  • v (stands for “and” or “against”) and then
  • the name of the defendant all in italics.
  • The year in parentheses (brackets): If the law report series is based on volume number (such as in the Commonwealth Law Reports), the year the case was decided will be in round brackets. And if the law report series is ordered according to year, the year the case was reported (such as in the UK Appeal Cases), will be in square brackets [   ].
  • The volume number if issued (see Ex 1 and 2 below): Volume numbers are used in two situations – 1. if the series is based on years but has more than one volume for a given year, or 2. where the whole series appears in sequentially-numbered volumes. Otherwise, where the series is based on year of reporting, it could simply be the abbreviation for the law report as in Ex 3, 4 and 5 below.
  • The page number where the case begins in the law report.

Case law examples

Ex. 1: Oceanic Sun Line Special Shipping Co Inc v Fay (1988) 165 CLR 197

Ex. 2: Esso Petroleum Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise [1976] 1 All ER 117

Ex. 3: Burger King Corp v Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd [2001] NSWCA 187

Ex. 4: Todd v Nicol [1957] SASR 72

Ex. 5: Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562



Order the elements of a Statute reference in the following way.

  • The name of the statute in italics.
  • The year the statute was passed.
  • The abbreviation for the parliament which passed the act.
  • Finally, the section number and subsection number if referring to a particular section of the statute.

Statute examples

Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 124(1)

Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)

Goods Act 1958 (Vic)

For guidelines on other referencing other sources, refer to the FedCite online referencing tool.