The Law Library of Victoria Home Menu

Victorian Unreported Judgments Research Guide

Many decisions are made by courts and tribunals each day.  A judgment is the decision a judicial officer makes at the end of a case. See our Judgments page for more information.

Select judgments are published in law reports series depending on the significance of the decision, for example, if the judgment changes the law or provides a new perspective on a particular point of law.

The following table describes the difference between reported and unreported judgments and authorised and unauthorised law reports: 

Judgment

Access

Authorised

A judgment that has been approved by the court to be published.

The preferred version (where available) for in court, or citation in scholarly publications.

Available in printed reports in the Supreme Court Library.

Available via  Digital Collections. Online reports are often only available via subscription databases.

See the Authorised Reports resource guide for more information.

Reported

A judgment that has been deemed significant (i.e. precedent value) and reported in law reports.

Available in printed reports in Supreme Court Library.

Available via Digital Collections. Online reports are often only available via subscription databases.

 

Unreported

A judgment delivered in court.

See the table below for where and how to access Victorian unreported judgments.

Locating Unreported Judgments

Court

Subscription Resources

Free Resources

If you haven't found what you're looking for...

Supreme Court of Victoria

Lexis Advance (1968- )

Westlaw AU (1999- )

Capital Monitor

(1997- )

Law Library of Victoria Catalogue (1950- )

AustLII (1994- )

JADE (1998-)

Contact the Law Library of Victoria for assistance via llv@courts.vic.gov.au. If the judgment still cannot be located the next step may be the request of records from the following locations:

Civil Pre 1989

  • Company, Civil Matters and Probate records. Contact Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Open access. Request via PROV.
  • Civil Miscellaneous (includes custody, maintenance and public trustee matters), Family, Divorce. There are privacy restrictions on records less than 75 years old and 99 years for children. Contact the Supreme Court Registry.     

Civil 1990 to Current 

Criminal Pre 1989

  • Contact the Supreme Court Registry. There are privacy restrictions on records less than 75 years old, i.e. only those pre-1940 are available.    

Criminal 1990 to 2000 

  • Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact PROV.
  • Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP). Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact the OPP
  • 2000 to Current. Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact the Supreme Court Registry.

Please note for some services a fee may occur.

Supreme Court of Appeal

Lexis Advance (1980- )

Westlaw AU (1998- )

Capital Monitor (1998- )

Law Library of Victoria Catalogue (1998- )

AustLII (1998-)

JADE  (1998- )

Contact the Law Library of Victoria for assistance via llv@courts.vic.gov.au. If the judgment still cannot be located the next step may be the request of records from the following locations:

Civil Pre 1989

  • Company, Civil Matters and Probate records. Contact Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Open access. Request via PROV.
  • Civil Miscellaneous (includes custody, maintenance and public trustee matters), Family, Divorce. There are privacy restrictions on records less than 75 years old and 99 years for children. Contact the Supreme Court Registry.     

Civil 1990 to Current 

Criminal Pre 1989

  • Contact the Supreme Court Registry. There are privacy restrictions on records less than 75 years old, i.e. only those pre-1940 are available.    

Criminal 1990 to 2000 

  • Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact PROV.
  • Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP). Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact the OPP
  • 2000 to Current. Closed files. Permission must be requested. Contact the Supreme Court Registry.

Please note for some services a fee may occur.

County Court of Victoria

Lexis Advance has a small selection of County Court decisions

AustLII (1993- )

Selected decisions only

JADE (1997- )

Selected decisions only

Go to the Case Information page on the County Court website for information about obtaining copies of decisions, viewing court files or other information held at the court.

Go to the Court decisions page on the County Court website to find selected judgments that court has decided are cases of note.

 

Magistrates' Court of Victoria

There are currently no subscription databases which contain Magistrates' Court decisions

AustLII (2006- )

JADE (2006 - )

The Magistrates’ Court has a small hard copy collection 1992 - 2013. 

Email the Law Library of Victoria via llv@courts.vic.gov.au to arrange a search of this collection. 

Additional information on the Magistrates' Court website.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

Established 1998

Lexis Advance (2002- )

Westlaw AU (1998- )

Capital Monitor (2007- )

VCAT (contains a selection of high profile decisions)

AustLII  (1998- )

JADE (1999- )

For decisions from 1 July 1998 to present day, use the ‘Contact us’ page of the VCAT website to arrange a search of the Register.

Fees apply.

 

 

1

Important to note

  • Oral decisions are not published
  • Not every case has a written judgment
  • Some judgments are anonymised
  • Distribution is at the discretion of the Judge, Magistrate or Member who heard the matter
  • Judgments may not be available due to legislative restrictions or suppression orders
1

More information

For more information about case law research and the Australian court system see the Melbourne University Australian Case Law Research Guide.

For more information about judgments and the conventions for citing them, see the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (published by the University of Melbourne) and the Court Cases in Australia Guide (published by the State Library of Victoria).

1

Medium neutral citation (MNC)

The medium neutral citation (MNC) is a number assigned to a judgment by the court or tribunal who heard the matter. It is called an MNC as it does not depend on publisher or medium, it is a unique court identifier for each judgment, each year.

In 1998 the MNC numbering system was started by the High Court of Australia and also adopted by the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Victorian Court of Appeal. You can expect to see MNC used by other Courts and Tribunals after 1998.

For example:              

R v Rees [2002] VSC 37                                                

Case name

Year

Medium Neutral Citation

Judgment number

R v Rees

2002

VSC

37

 

Prior to 1995,  cases heard before the MNC system began may give the party name, judge and date of judgment.

For example: 

DPP v Hunter (Supreme Court of Victoria, Appeal Division, Court of Criminal Appeal, Young CJ, Murphy and Brooking JJ, 25 May 1987)

Case name

Court

Judge(s)

Full Date

DPP v Hunter

 Supreme Court of Victoria, Appeal Division, Court of Criminal Appeal

Young CJ, Murphy and Brooking JJ

25 May 1987

 

Note:

As the Victorian Court of Appeal was established in 1995, but the MNC citation began in 1998, there may be some inconsistencies in the way a judgment around that time is referred to.

Some online databases are allocating medium neutral citations retrospectively. These are not court issued MNC's, for further information see AGLC note about using these in court 2.3.1.

1