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Law: Cases

A start guide to legal research in the C J Koh Law Library

Introduction & the Case Citation

Case law is simply defined as the body of law set out in judicial decisions. Cases are generally heard in courts of law.

A case citation is a reference to a legal case in published law reports. You will need this in order to locate the report of a case.

It generally includes the

  • names of the parties to the case
  • year the decision of the court was delivered or published
  • volume number of the law report
  • abbreviation of the law report series
  • first page at which the case is reported.

Example:
Anwar Siraj and Another v Ting Kang Chung John [2010] 1 SLR 1026

Finding Cases

Identify legal abbreviations to law reports using these online and print sources: 

* Librarian's preferred choice for non-Singapore sources

Example. If you have a case citation, like Salmah v Chop Chin Guan Hong [1929] SSLR 172:

Step 1. Identify the legal abbreviation in the citation using an index
For Singapore cases, use the Singapore Legal Abbreviations index. In this example, SSLR stands for the Straits Settlements Law Reports.


 

Step 2. Run a Title Search for the law report in LINC:


 

Step 3. Select the relevant title from the results list.


Step 4. Once in the record, determine the location of the relevant volume.


Step 5. Once you have retrieved the relevant volume from  the shelves, turn to the first page of the report, which in this case is page 172.

For a full listing of law databases, see: Guide to Electronic Resources Collection.

Selection of the more commonly used databases for case law:

Australia

  • Lexis Advance Singapore
    Contains various Australian law reports, Australian Current Law and Casebase.
  • WestLaw
    Contains the Commonwealth Law Reports, Federal Court Reports, Federal Law Reports, South Australian State Reports and Australian unreported judgments.
  • CCH iKnowConnect
    Database containing Australian Tax Office Rulings.

China

  • *China Judgements Online
    Database supported by the Supreme People's Court. Contains the largest collection of judgments and decisions from Chinese courts.
  • CNKI Legal Knowledge Integrated Database
    CNKI is a key national research and information publishing institution in China, led by Tsinghua University. The legal section of the database provides access to court judgments.
  • Lawinfochina (English version of pkulaw.cn)
    Contains English translations of judicial decisions approved and published by the Supreme People's Court or the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Subject areas include administrative law, civil law, criminal law, economic law, intellectual property law, and maritime law..

Europe

  • vlexJustis
    Contains the European Court Reports and Official Journal of the European Communities.

  • WestLaw
    Coverage includes decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (General Court), the Civil Service Tribunal and the EFTA Court.

India

Malaysia

  • CCH iKnowConnect
    Database containing Malaysian tax cases.
  • CLJ Law
    Contains the Current Law Journal (CLJ), Supplement series (CLJSupp/MTC/BLJ), Industrial Law Reports (ILR) and Laporan Syariah/Syariah Reports (CLJ(Sya)/SHR).
  • Lexis Advance Singapore
    The Malayan Law Journal contains reports of cases from the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts (in all states) from 1932.

Singapore

Sri Lanka

  • Law Lanka
    Contains Sri Lankan reported judgments from the New Law Reports and Sri Lanka Law Reports.

UK

US

International

  • *CML CMI Database
    Database of judicial decisions on international maritime conventions. Contains case summaries, with links to full texts where available. Project undertaken and hosted by the Centre for Maritime Law, National University of Singapore in collaboration with the Comité Maritime International.
  • ICC Dispute Resolution Library
    Extracts from ICC arbitral awards published in the ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin from 1990 to date.
  • Investor-State Law Guide
    Contains publicly available ICSID, NAFTA and ad hoc tribunal decisions, and relevant materials pertaining thereto.
  • KluwerArbitration
    Major database containing the full text and associated data of both commercial and investment awards.
  • Lexis Advance Singapore
    Coverage of cases in the following jurisdictions - Australia, Canada, European Union, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States of America.
  • Oxford Reports on International Law
    Contains arbitral awards, arbitral decisions, OPIC decisions, international court decisions and national court decisions.
  • WestLaw
    Law reports from Australia, Canada, European Union, Hong Kong, Korea, United Kingdom and United States.
  • WorldTradeLaw.net
    Full-text search engine for GATT/WTO decisions.

* indicates open access database

A selection of websites, mainly from common law jurisdictions, which provide open access to court judgments and awards are listed below.

For ASEAN countries, refer to the ASEAN Law Resources LibGuide.

Australia

Canada

China

European Union/Europe

Hong Kong

India

New Zealand

Singapore

UK

US

Global

International

Guidance on finding case law:

Research Librarian

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Su-Lin Lee
Contact:
C J Koh Law Library
+65 6601 7105
llbleesl@nus.edu.sg