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Law: Case Law

This guide provides a starting point for resources in Law

What is Case Law?

Case Law is the body of Law set out in judicial decisions. Case Law means court decisions and judicial decisions or judgements in cases. Case Law is a primary source of legal research. Understanding how to find case law is an important part of your legal study and research which you will need to draw in legal practice.

Finding Judgements in Law Reports

                  

Law Reports.

Law Reports publish the judgements in cases. A law Report citation provides the information you need to find the case judgement.

Example:

Key Law Reports include;

  • Irish Law Reports Monthly via Westlaw IE
  • Law Reports (UK)
  • Weekly Law Reports  - via Justis and Westlaw UK

We also have Law reports for certain aspects of Law  for example;

  • Environmental Law Reports
  • Industrial Relations Law Reports

Some judgements are not reported and are know as unreported judgements

  • Family law cases

 

Links

                     Image of gavel

The Irish Courts Service official website also provides information on Irish cases. It provides a high court search facility, judgements and determinations aswell as a legal diary.
 

Finding Cases in UCD Law Databases

You can search for cases in a number of key Law databases

To find a case, click on the case tab in one of the databases below and then search by party name or keyword.

  • Westlaw IE - Search this database for Irish Cases
  • Westlaw UK - Search this database for UK Cases
  • Lexis Library - Search for All England and Northern Ireland Reports
  • Justis - Search for older Irish and English cases

Some databases will give you the case information, others will also provide links to further information related to that case;

  • Key cases cited in the case
  • Key cases considered during the case
  • Future cases that referred back to the case
  • Articles about the case

The database Juscite provides a really good visual map called a citation map which displays case connections. Not all cases have the citation map feature.

These can help to lead you to other relevant cases and research on a legal topic you are investigating.

Finding a case in the database Westlaw (UK)

The following tutorial introduces you to Westlaw UK CaseLaw searching.

Click on the image below

Image of Westlaw UK database

 

Case Citations

A typical case citation looks like this

People (DPP) v Quilligan [1986] IR 495 (SC) 511

In legal case citations, you will often see abbreviations for Law Reports which publish case judgements;

  • ILRM - Irish Law Reports Monthly
  • IR - Irish Reports
  • ECHR - European Court of Human Rights
  • IEHC - High Court of Ireland Decisons

To find out what an abbreviation stands for use the Cardiff Index of Legal Abbreviations

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