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LawCite Search Help

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You are here: BAILII >> About BAILII >> Help >> LawCite Search Help

The LawCite Search Form has a number of fields and input controls:


Ordinarily, you just type a citation into this field as in:

[1963] 2 All ER 575

You can include or not include optional years, so that:

(1903) 1 CLR 1


1 CLR 1

will find the same thing.

You can also include punctuation, type in either case, use round, square or no brackets, or use alternate series names such that all of the following will find the same thing:

[2008] 3 All ER 1069
[2008] 3 All E.R. 1069
(2008) 3 All E.R 1069
2008 3 All. E.R. 1069
[2008] 3 AllER 1069
[2008] 3 all er 1069
[2008] 3 ALLER 1069
[2008] 3 AER 1069

You can also enter partial citations. For example:

2009] HCA

Finally, as is the case for all fields, you can use full Boolean searches. If you include a search operator (like "and" or "or") or if you truncate a term, this will turn off most of the above intelligence. Some examples:

"2003 3 All ER 1069" or "1 CLR 1"
"2003 3 All ER 106*"
106 pre/2 23

Most Lexis or Google style operators are recognised. See the AustLII Sino Operators Chart for full details. Bear in mind that there is an implict "and" between words in LawCite and unlike in AustLII, literal phrases must be quoted.


Type all or part of the party names to a case. Usually you put the name of the first party in the first field and the second in the second field, but it normally doesn't really matter. For a case to be retrieved, all of the words you type must appear in the case name. The only exception to this is where a party name is repeated (ie the same party appears in both fields). In this case, the party name must appear twice. This is useful for finding family cases such as "Whitaker v Whitaker".

If you want a literal phrase to be included (only) in the results, put it in double quotes. For example:

"hedley byrne" v "heller and associates"

If synonyms are turned on (which is the case by default), LawCite will also include synonyms for party names, so for example "UNSW" will find "University of New South Wales" and "University of NSW" and "Johnson" will find "Johnstone" and "Johnston" (among other). Unclick the "Synonyms" box if you want to turn this off.

You can also use Booleans as in:

smith pre/3 brown
smith and brown not white


Use all or part of a court name. As for other fields, all words must exist in the court name for records to be retrieved. For example:

Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Queensland
Queensland Supreme Court

This field is often used in conjunction with the "Jurisdiction" field.

You can also use Booleans as in:

supreme court or court of appeal or court of criminal appeal


Enter all or part of a country name and/or a jurisdiction within a country. For example:

New South Wales
Australia New South Wales

Some abbreviations may be used. These include common country abbreviations (UK, US, NZ etc) as well as Australian States (NSW, Qld, SA, Vic etc). If synonyms are turned on, various historical and alternative names are also enabled(eg Eire for "Republic of Ireland", Ceylon for Sri Lanka and so on).

Booleans can be used. For example:

nsw or vic
uk or australia or canada

Article Title

Use all or part of an article title. All words specified must exist. You can specify a phrase by putting it in double quotes. Otherwise, this field is similar to the "Parties" field but will only find journal articles (unless there are none in which case it will show cases).

Some examples:

The Future of a Federal Common Law
human rights
"human rights"

Again Boolean searches may be used.


This field is used to find journal articles by a particular author. For best results, type the name surname last. Omit honourifics and middle names. For example:

Michael Kirby
M Kirby

Booleans can be used. For example:

greenleaf or mowbray or chung


There are two year fields. If there is a single value in the first field, only records from this year will be found. If there is a single value in the second ("to") field, records in or before this year will be found. If two values are specified, case in and between these years will be retrieved.

Cases Considered

This field can be used to find cases and articles that have considered a case. It is of little use by itself, but in combination with the other fields can be used to do things like finding all cases from a particular jurisdiction that have cited something from another. For example, if you set this field to "HCA or CLR" and set the jurisdiction to "UK" you would find all UK cases referring to an Australian High Court decision.

Legislation Considered

Specify an Act name (and optionally a section) to find cases and articles that have considered it. This will only work well for Australian and New Zealand legislation where you specify a full Act name with the year.

Use Synonyms

By default the system uses synonyms for party names, countries, courts and so forth. To turn this off, un-check this box.

Filter Results

By default the system filters results and attempts to only return cases that have been cited a reasonable number of times in search results. If you want to see all matching cases, turn this off. Alternatively, you can click on "Show all results" from the search results page to do the same thing.

I'm Feeling Lucky

This button displays the most cited decision that matches the search criteria. If you want a quick way to get a citation for Mabo for example, type "mabo" into the party names box and click this button.

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