The Law Library of Victoria Home Menu

Round vs Square Brackets in Case Citations Research Guide

Round Brackets ( ) v Square Brackets [ ]

When citing a case it is essential to use the correct brackets around the year: (round) or [square]. This ensures you correctly locate the volume containing the case on the shelf.

A case citation having round or square brackets is dependent on the individual law report series published by the legal publishers and how the report series is then cited.

Round brackets ( )

Citations containing round brackets for the year indicate the law report series have a volume sequence and are not published in year order. For these citations you do not need to know the year of the case to locate the correct volume.

Muscat v Douglas (2006) 233 ALR 131

Attorney-General v Andrews (2007) 233 ALR 389

Both cases were in volume 233 of the Australian Law Reports.

Square brackets [ ]

Citations containing square brackets around the year means it is an essential part of locating the right volume. Some law reports have more than one volume per year, for example, to find the correct volume containing your case you will need the year or you won’t know if the case is in volume 1 or volume 3.

Cachi v Faluyi [2002] 1 All ER 192

This case is dated 27 June 2001 but was published in 2002.

Victorian Reports

From 1956 to 1999 the Victorian Reports use square brackets for citations. Where multiple volumes were produced during a year, volume numbering started at 1 for each year.

[1991] 1 VR, [1992] 2 VR

From 2000 the Victorian Reports started continual numbering and so now use round brackets.

(2000) 1 VR, (2001) 2 VR

Medium Neutral Citation

All judgments with medium neutral citations (ie unreported judgments) have square brackets, as the year is the essential part of the citation.

[2007] VSC 122