Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Supreme Court of Victoria practice note 9 of 2011 - citation

The Supreme Court of Victoria has issued Practice Note 9 of 2011 concerning citation of judgments, including electronically sourced judgments.

It reads as follows:
  1. Practice Notes No 3 of 2004 and No 1 of 2006 are hereby revoked. 
  2. Where a judgment is reported in an authorised series of law reports, all references and citations must be to, and any copy provided to the Court must be a copy of, the authorised report. 
  3. Where a judgment is not reported in an authorised series of law reports but is available electronically, reference must be made to its medium neutral citation. Reference may also be made to any report in an unauthorised series of reports. 
  4. Any copies of judgments provided to the Court which are printed from an electronic source must be printed from the Rich Text Format (RTF) or Portable Document Format (PDF) of the judgment where available. Judgments delivered in Australia are generally available in one or both of these formats, with a medium neutral citation, on various websites including the Australasian Legal Information Institute at:
  5. At present, to obtain a judgment in RTF or PDF from the above website, it is necessary to take the following steps: 
    1. Click on the link to view the judgment. 
    2. Choose the “Download” option in the toolbar above the case citation.
    3. Click on the “Rich Text Format (RTF)” or “Portable Document Format (PDF)” hyperlink below the heading “Available Data Formats”. 
    4. Print the document and provide in this format.
  6. Where a judgment is not reported in an authorised series of law reports and is not available electronically with a medium neutral citation, references and citations may be to, and any copy provided to the Court may be from, an unauthorised series of law reports.
  7. If a party intends to rely upon a judgment which is not reported in an authorised or unauthorised series of law reports and is not available electronically, a copy of this judgment must be provided to all other parties, and to the Court, as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so.
  8. A copy of a judgment provided to the Court must be printed in portrait, as opposed to landscape, orientation. Copies must not be provided in a reduced size.
  9. Where a judgment is divided into numbered paragraphs, all references to that judgment must be to the relevant paragraph or paragraphs and, where the judgment has been published in hard copy, the page on which those paragraphs commence. For example:
    • Smith v Jones (2010) 28 VR 415, 420 [45]-[55].
    • Smith v Jones [2010] VSCA 14, [56] (medium neutral citation, where 14 is the number of an unreported judgment of the Court of Appeal and 56 is the paragraph in which the cited passage is found).
Reading between the lines, part of the Practice Note suggests that the Court is unhappy with the practice of being provided with screen prints from AustLII and other electronic resources, which is understandable. The Practice Note otherwise reflects the ongoing position that authorised reports are preferred over unauthorised reports.

1 comment:

  1. Judges don't like printouts from electronic resources because the formatting is not always converted accurately and because there isn't usually enough space for margin notes.

    If no RTF or PDF version is available, a considerate practitioner should adjust their printer settings to leave some extra margin space.