Cases – Family Law – LibGuides at University of Melbourne

Family Law: Cases

A research guide on Family Law in Australia.

Federal Courts Building – Melbourne

Source: Judicial Conference of Australia

Recent cases – summaries

For summaries of recent cases, use CCH Online – scroll to AustralianCommonwealth Courts and Family Law Tracker. The case summaries provide snapshots of reasons for judgments of cases recently handed down by the Family Court of Australia.

  • CCH Online – Australia*IntelliConnect is CCH’s online platform which delivers full text access to CCH Australia’s publications combined with advanced research tools. The publications include loose-leaf services, law reports and books.

Recent cases from Family Court of Australia (FamCA & FamCAFC)

(courtesy of BarNet Jade)

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Family Court of Australia Bulletins

Family Court Bulletins are published in July and December each year and include summaries of important decisions.

Recent decisions from Federal Circuit Court

(courtesy of BarNet Jade)

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Reported cases

The two main series of specialist family law reports in Australia are:

  • Australian Family Law Cases (FLC) published by CCH
  • Family Law Reports (Fam LR) published by Lexis

Sometimes the same case is reported in both series.
Authorised Reports
It is important to note that the above two report series are not authorised – to ascertain whether your case is in an authorised report, check the case name in LexisNexis AU on the Cases tab.
For example the recent High Court of Australia case MRR v GR was located in CCH – on this database the link to the full text is to the Australian Family Law Cases (FLC) – the CCH report series. Checking the name in LexisNexis AU provided the following parallel citations: (2010) 240 CLR 461; (2010) 263 ALR 368; (2010) 84 ALJR 220; (2010) 42 Fam LR 531; (2010) FLC ¶93-424; [2010] HCA 4; BC201000969 – in this case the authorised report series is the Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR) and this is what should be cited and pinpointed in discussion.
For a list of authorised report series, see the Authorised Law Reports Research Guide.

Unreported cases

Cases will appear much faster in unreported versions eg: on AustLII and the court websites. In our example of MRR v GR above, the decision would have appeared on the High Court’s website and AustLII within a day of being handed down. Relevant websites include:
TIP:  AustLII has more recent decisions than are available on the court websites; however the pdfs of the cases on the court websites are the ‘official’ certified copy of the unreported decisions.

*Note: Federal Magistrates Court changed its name to Federal Circuit Court of Australia in April 2013
The High Court website provides very useful Judgment Summaries and High Court Bulletins, published very quickly (usually the same day) as the judgment – use the Publications tab to find these. The judgments link takes you to full text of the unreported judgments are on AustLII. Other useful websites with judgments:

Further information on the differences between different versions of cases and the importance of using one in preference to another is contained in  the Australian Cases LibGuide
See also AGLC3 which provides relevant citation rules.

Journal articles on a case

Use the following to find journal articles on cases:

  • AGIS Plus Text (Informit)Type the casename into the searchbox and select the Legal Cases field eg: “MRR v GR” (UniMelb access)

Subsequent Consideration

To find subsequent consideration of a particular case, use citators such as Casebase (LexisNexisAU) and Firstpoint (Westlaw AU).