Skip to Main Content

Referencing: Australian Legal Materials

Australian Legal Materials

An important note on citing Australian legal materials using APA style: 

In the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020, 7th ed.), Appendix 7.1 References to Legal Materials advises:

"References to legal materials... which include court decisions, statutes, other legislative materials, and various secondary sources, are more useful to the reader if they provide the information in the conventional format of legal citations" (p. 216).

The "conventional format" for citing Australian legal materials using APA style is to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC4).

  • Use AGLC format for your references, with APA style parenthetical ( ) or narrative-based in-text citation and end-text reference:

 

General APA / AGLC4 hybrid style notes:

  • Use the abbreviations for Jurisdictions, Court Names and common Law Report Series titles - see abbreviations below.
  • Pinpoint references (i.e. page numbers, paragraphs, section / clause numbers etc) are only used for in-text citations, and should be proceeded by the correct abbreviation for the resource type.
  • Ranges of pages should be separated by an "en-dash" (e.g. 12--7), and paragraphs listed discretely separated by an "en-dash" (e.g. [12]--[13]).
  • Full stops should not be used in abbreviations or after initials.
  • The PRINT source should be cited, unless an electronic source is designated the official version.
  • For all other jurisdictions (i.e. not Australia), follow the standard APA style, or contact a Librarian for assistance.

 

Below are examples of some Australian legal materials you may need to reference. Each example includes a table outlining the in-text citation and end-text reference, with further explanation for each resource type.  

For other Australian legal material types, please refer to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (2018, 4th ed.).

Expand all
  • There are two main kinds of legislation:
    • Statues (Acts of Parliament)
    • Delegated Legislation, e.g. regulations, rules and orders; also known as:
      • Legislative Instruments (Commonwealth) or Subsidiary Legislation (or Statutory/Subordinate Legislation) (States)
  • When referring to legislation as ‘the Act' in your narrative, Act should have an initial capital and be in italics
  • The full legislation reference should be used for both in-text and end-text references.
     
  • A legislation reference takes the following format:
    • In-Text: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviationpinpoint
    • End-Text: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation)
       
  • Title (Short): Each Act has a short title given in section 1, which includes the year the Act was passed.

  • Jurisdiction: The short title does not include the jurisdiction. When you are citing legislation, you must add an abbreviated form of the jurisdiction in the in-text citation, e.g. Crimes Act 2008 (WA). (AGLC rule 3.1.3)  (See Jurisdiction abbreviations below).

  • Pinpoint: For an Act, these usually comprise an abbreviation and a number, separated by a space. They should refer to specific sections or regulations within the Act. Where a subsection is added, it should appear in parenthesis after the section number, with no space between them, e.g.

Crimes Act 2008 (WA) s 7(4)

The abbreviation used should correspond to the highest ‘level’ cited in the pinpoint reference. In the example above, the highest level of the pinpoint is to a section, therefore the abbreviation used is s.  Abbreviations should be used except where the pinpoint begins a sentence.

See Abbreviations below, and refer to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation Appendix C.

 

Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Legislation

Section 6 of the Mental Health Act 2014 (WA) sets out....
 

______________

A departmental officer is authorised to possess prohibited drugs (Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1982 (WA), reg 4A).

______________

A person may apply for a medicinal cannabis licence that authorises them to produce cannabis or cannabis resin for medicinal purposes (Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth), s 8E(1)(b)).

______________

Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth) commenced on 1 January 1993 (reg 2).

Mental Health Act 2014 (WA)

______________

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1982 (WA)
 

______________

Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth)


______________

Immigration (Education) Regulations 1992 (Cth)

Constitutions

Notes:

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia may be cited as the Australian Constitution, the Commonwealth Constitution, or simply the Constitution if there is no ambiguity as to which constitution is being cited. 

Where necessary, the Australian Constitution may also be referred to within its enacting legislation as:

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp) 63 & 64 Vict, c 12, s 9.

Constitutions of the Australian states should be cited as normal statues, e.g.

Constitution Act 1889 (WA) s 2(1).

See notes to left. 

 

 

 

 

 

Constitution Act 1889 (WA)

 

Legislation
 

A person may apply for a medicinal cannabis incense that authorises them to produce cannabis or cannabis resin for medicinal purp

For complete details refer to:

Notes on referencing Bills (AGLC Rule 3.2):

  • A Bill reference takes the following format:
    • In-Text: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction Abbreviation) pinpoint
    • End-Text: Short Title Year (Jurisdiction Abbreviation)
       
  • Title / Year: A Bill should be cited in the same manner as an Act, except the title and year should not be italicised. 
  • Pinpoint: A pinpoint reference within a Bill is to a clause or clauses, abbreviated to ‘cl’ and ‘cls’ respectively (AGLC rule 3.5).

 

Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Bills

The Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) was introduced into parliament by...

______________

Changes to social security law were introduced into parliament in 2016 and passed by both houses in 2017 (Social Services Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Student Payments) Bill 2017 (Cth) cl 45).

Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA)

______________

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Student Payments) Bill 2017 (Cth)

 

A person may apply for a medicinal cannabis incense that authorises them to produce cannabis or cannabis resin for medicinal purp

Bills

For complete details refer to:

Notes on referencing Explanatory Memoranda (AGLC Rule 3.7):

  • The format of a reference to an Explanatory Memorandum for a Bill is:
    • In-Text: Explanatory Memorandum, Bill Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation) pinpoint
    • End-Text: Explanatory Memorandum, Bill Short Title Year (Jurisdiction abbreviation)
  • The Explanatory Memorandum is cited the same as the Bill, prefixed with the term "Explanatory Memorandum" as in the example
  • A pinpoint to a Explanatory Memorandum should be to a page, and follow APA conventions for page abbreviations.

 

Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Explanatory Memoranda

Clause 10 of the Bill was enacted with the purpose of ensuring that the powers conferred to a 'police officer' are also conferred to an Aboriginal police liaison officer (Explanatory Memorandum, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA), p. 2).

The Explanatory Memorandum, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA) shows that the amendments were made following advice from the State Solicitor's Office.

Explanatory Memorandum, Police Amendment Bill 2006 (WA)

 

Explanatory memorandum

 

For complete details refer to:

  • The format of a reference for a parliamentary debate is:

    • In-text: JurisdictionParliamentary Debates, ChamberFull Date of Debatepinpoint (Name of Speaker)
    • End-text: JurisdictionParliamentary DebatesChamberFull Date of Debate
       
  • Jurisdiction: Written out in full, no abbreviations
  • Pinpoint: Page numbers to Hansard should be included where available, and follow APA conventions for page abbreviations.  (The PDF version available from the parliament websites contains accurate page numbers).
  • Names: "MP," "MLC," "MLA," "Senator" and other designations indicating membership of Parliament should not be included in the speaker's name.
  • Ministry: ​If the speaker holds a position within a relevant Ministry or Shadow Ministry, this can be included after their name, preceded by a comma, e.g. (Liza Harvey, Minister for Transport):
    • JurisdictionParliamentary DebatesChamberFull Date of DebatePinpoint (Name of Speaker, Position)

 

Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Hansard (Parliamentary Debates)

The new s 244 was introduced based on the position "that the citizens of Western Australia have a right to absolute safety within their homes from intruders" and that "people who legitimately protect themselves from intruders to their homes should not be penalised" (Western Australia, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 16 August 2000, 389 (Kevin Prince)).

Western Australia, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 16 August 2000

Parliamentary debates (Hansard)

 

For complete details refer to:

  • Quasi-legislative materials include gazettes and legislation delegated to non-government entities
  • The format of a reference to a gazette is:
    • In-Text: Jurisdiction, Gazette Title, No Gazette NumberFull Date, pinpoint
    • End-Text: JurisdictionGazette Title, No Gazette NumberFull Date​​​
Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Quasi-legislative Materials

Western Australia, Western Australian Government Gazette, No 30, 28 February 2014, 526.

Western Australia, Western Australian Government Gazette, No 30, 28 February 2014

Notes on referencing Cases:

  • The full case reference should be used for both in-text and end-text references.
  • A reported case reference takes the following format:
    • In-Text: Party name v Party name (Year) case citation, pinpoint
    • End-Text: Party name v Party name (Year) case citation
       
  • Party names: Written in italics and separated by an italicised v with NO full stop after

  • Year: Use [square brackets] or (parentheses) around the year, as used on the original case in front of you 

  • Case citation: A reported case citation is made up of the following elements:

    • volume or [year]

      • If the year appears in parentheses (2015), the report series is ordered by volume, and you must include the volume number in the case citation. The (year) is not considered part of the case citation.

e.g.  242 CLR 374

  • If the year appears in square brackets [2017], the report series is ordered by year, and it forms part of the case citation. There may or may not be a volume number as well.

e.g.  [1971] Qd R 117

e.g.  [1984] 3 NSWLR 156

  • law report series abbreviation
  • starting page of the case

e.g.  242 CLR 374

e.g.  [1984] 3 NSWLR 156

  • Pinpoint: A pinpoint reference, is a reference to the page or paragraph number of the case. Make reference to the paragraph number in [square brackets]. Follow APA conventions for page abbreviations.

 

Material Type In-Text citation End-Text reference
Case Law

It was held in Markopoulous v Wedlock [2008] WASC 3 that...

The court must exercise care in intervening with a grant of injunctive relief to address procedural irregularities (Markopoulous v Wedlock [2008] WASC 3, [67]).

______________

The case of Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374 considered the question of whether evidence possessed "significant probative value" (p. 375).

The court found that the evidence did not have significant probative value and should not have been admitted into evidence at trial (Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374, p. 397).

Markopoulous v Wedlock [2008] WASC 3

 

______________

Stubley v Western Australia (2011) 242 CLR 374 

 

Law Report Series

  • The abbreviation of the law report series should adhere to AGLC Rule 2.2.3, and use the abbreviations which appear in the AGLC Appendix ACases are available in report series (authorised / unauthorised) or unreported from the courts directly. The authorised version should always be used where available.

Order of preference for citing cases:

  1. Authorised report series
  2. Unauthorised report (Generalist)
  3. Unauthorised report (Subject-specific)
  4. Unreported (with medium neutral citation) - i.e. with unique court ID
  5. Unreported (no medium neutral citation) (AGLC Rule 2.3.2)

 

Page / paragraph numbers

  • Both in-text and end-text references should include the starting page number.
  • Only an in-text citation to a specific point requires the pinpoint.
  • A page should appear as a number / a paragraph should appear as a number within square brackets (Rule 1.1.6).
  • Spans of pinpoint references, such as multiple pages or sections should be separated by a non-spaced en-dash - (Rule 1.1.7)

 

 
Reported Cases, in Law Report Series ordered by Volume

 

Reported Cases, in Law Report Series ordered by Year

 

Unreported decisions (not published in a law report series) with a medium neutral citation (a citation system that does not depend on publisher or medium) should be cited a shown below. However, a medium neutral citation should only be used when the medium neutral citation was assigned by the Court itself.  Pinpoints for medium neutral citations are to paragraph(s).

Unreported Decisions with a Medium Neutral Citation


Otherwise, cite as an unreported decision without a medium neutral citation, listing the full name of the court and the judge, as below. Pinpoints are generally to a page number(s).

Unreported Decisions WITHOUT a Medium Neutral Citation
 
Sentencing Remarks

 

As most jurisdictions only display their sentencing decisions for a limited period of time, you may be beneficial to use the Australian Current Law Reporter on Lexis Advance. To restrict the results to sentencing specific information, enter sentencing in the 'Terms' search field.

 

For complete details refer to:

AGLC Abbreviations

Australian Jurisdictions

The following AGLC abbreviations should be used for Australian jurisdictions:

  • Cth - Commonwealth
  • ACT - Australian Capital Territory
  • NSW - New South Wales
  • NT - Northern Territory
  • Qld - Queensland
  • SA - South Australia
  • Tas - Tasmania
  • Vic - Victoria
  • WA - Western Australia
Law Report Series (Authorised)

In Australia, each State and Territory has one series of authorised law reports approved by the judiciary, the government and/or the official law reporting council for that jurisdiction. If a case appears in an authorised series, courts in all jurisdictions require the authorised report citation.

Court / Jurisdiction Law Report Series Abbreviation Years
High Court of Australia Commonwealth Law Reports CLR 1903--
Federal Court of Australia Federal Law Reports FCR 1984--
Australian Capital Territory ACT Reports ACTR (in ALR) 1973--2008
ACT Law Reports ACTLR 2007--
New South Wales State Reports (NSW) SR (NSW) 1901--59
NSW Reports NSWR 1960--70
NSW Law Reports NSWLR 1971--
Northern Territory Northern Territory Reports NTR (in ALR) 1979--91
Northern Territory Law Reports NTLR 1990--
Queensland Queensland State Reports QSR 1902--57
Queensland Reports Qd R 1958--2020
Queensland Reports QR 2020--
South Australia SA Law Reports SALR 1899--1920
SA State Reports SASR 1921--
Tasmania Tasmanian Law Reports Tas LR 1904--40
Tasmanian State Reports Tas SR 1941--78
Tasmanian Reports Tas R 1979--
Victoria Victorian Law Reports VLR 1875--1956
Victorian Reports VR 1957--
Western Australia Western Australian Law Reports WALR 1898--1958
Western Australian Reports WAR 1958--
Australian Courts

Below is a list of current preferred unique court identifiers for Australian Supreme and superior Commonwealth courts, and the year when the court commenced allocating judgment numbers (medium neutral citations).  A more extensive list is available in Appendix B of the AGLC Manual.

Court Unique Court Identifier Years
High Court of Australia HCA 1998 -
High Court of Australia - Special Leave Dispositions HCASL 2008 -
Federal Court of Australia FCA 1999 -
Federal Court of Australia - Full Court FCA 1999 - 2001
FCAFC 2002 -
Family Court of Australia FamCA 1998 -
Family Court of Australia - Full Court FamCA 1998 - 2007
FamCAFC 2008 -
Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (including Full Court) ACTSC 1998 -
Australian Capital Territory Court of Appeal ACTCA 1998 -
Supreme Court of New South Wales NSWSC 1999 -
New South Wales Court of Appeal NSWCA 1999 -
New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal NSWCCA 1999 -
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (including Full Court) NTSC 1999 -
Northern Territory Court of Appeal NTCA 2000 -
Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal NTCCA 2000-
Supreme Court of Queensland QSC 1998 -
Queensland Court of Appeal QCA 1998 -
Supreme Court of South Australia (including Full Court until end of 2009) SASC 1999 -
Supreme Court of South Australia - Full Court SASCFC 2010 -
Supreme Court of Tasmania (including Full Court until end of 2009) TASSC 1999 -
Supreme Court of Tasmania - Full Court TASFC 2010 -
Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal TASCCA 2010 -
Supreme Court of Victoria VSC 1998 -
Victorian Court of Appeal VSCA 1998 -
Supreme Court of Western Australia WASC 1999 -
Western Australian Court of Appeal (including Full Court until end of 2004) WASCA 1999 -

AGLC pinpoint abbreviations for legislative materials (Rule 3.1.4)

Numbered or lettered subsections should be placed in parentheses immediately following the section number., e.g. s 5(2)(a)

Designation Abbreviation / Plural
Appendix app / apps
Article art / arts
Chapter ch / chs
Clause cl / cls
Division div / divs
Paragraph para / paras
Part pt / pts
Schedule sch / schs
Section s / ss
Sub-clause sub-cl / sub-cls
Subdivision sub-div / sub-divs
Sub-paragraph sub-para / sub-paras
Subsection sub-s / sub-ss
Delegated Legislation  (Rules 3.1.4 & 3.4)
Order ord / ords
Regulation reg / regs
Rule r / rr
Sub-regulation sub-reg / sub-regs
Sub-rule sub-r / sub-rr

 

Expand all