Searching for cases? Having difficulty noting-up a judgment? Help is just a mouse-click away with LawCite, a free international case citator developed at AustLII in collaboration with other members of the Free Access to Law Movement. Use this to locate and find a copy of a judgment, see how the judgment has been subsequently dealt with, and find other materials such as journal articles about the judgment. Launched in Dec 2008, the 3 year project is currently at an “alpha” stage. But there are aims to publish a “beta” version of LawCite in 2009 with the final production version in 2010.
The Law Librarians find this database particularly useful when law students present us with incomplete citations containing only the names of parties to a case. LawCite is a great starting point for searching for cases as it saves us the trouble of ploughing through individual indexes and citators for the various jurisdictions. Although LawCite’s current emphasis is on common law countries, this is gradually being extended to include civil law jurisdictions. Currently, over 2,000,000 cases and law journal articles from around the world are indexed in the database.
In LawCite, decisions can be identified by citation, party names, jurisdiction, court, year or any combination of these. The system includes a relatively complete set of parallel citations. LawCite will also provide a link to a freely available version of a decision if one is available. If there isn’t, then LawCite will indicate a commercial service (e.g. LexisNexis or WestLaw) that may have a copy.