Legal cases

Important: Confirm with your lecturer whether you are using APA 6th or APA 7th as they are slightly different.

In-text citations


When citing a Case in-text, it is necessary to include the title of the case in italics followed by the year in brackets. Alternatively, it is also acceptable to include all case details enclosed in brackets; italicise only the case title, followed by the year.

Include the year with the first citation. The year can be dropped in subsequent citations.

According to the case of Drew v Minister for Health and Ageing (2011) . . .

. . . (Drew v Minister for Health and Ageing, 2011).

Direct quote

Place direct quotes between double quotation marks " " and provide the title of the case, year, page number, section heading (if applicable) and paragraph number.

"The Tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to consider the decisions made by the Secretary in relation to the drug Clozapine" (Drew v Minister for Health and Ageing, 2011, Held section, para. 5).

Reference list


Plaintiff v Defendant (Year/Date) Volume/Series Law report Page number

  • For court decisions the elements to include are: title of the case in italics, year in brackets, volume number, reporter abbreviation, and starting page number.
  • If a case is obtained from an electronic database, add a retrieval statement.

Drew v Minister for Health and Ageing (2011) 56 AAR 227. Retrieved from

Civil law cases

Oceanic Sun Line Special Shipping Co Inc v Fay (1988) 165 CLR 197

Esso Petroleum Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise [1976] 1 AII ER 117

Burger King Corp v Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd [2001] NSWCA 187

Todd v Nicol [1957] SASR 72

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562

** Check with your teacher or lecturer to confirm their particular requirements.

Civil law case references

  • Formatting of civil law cases appears the same in the reference list as in your text.
  • Start with the name of the plaintiff, followed by v (comes from "versus" and separates the names of the opposing parties), then the name of the defendant, all in italics.
  • The year is next in brackets. If the law report series is ordered according to year, the year the case was reported (such as in the UK Appeal Cases), is in square brackets. If the series is based on volume number (such as in the Commonwealth Law Reports), the year the case was decided is in round brackets.
  • After the year may be a volume number (as in Ex 30/1 above). Volume numbers may be used in two situations: (1) if the series is based on years but has more than one volume for a given year, or (2) where the whole series appears in sequentially numbered volumes. Otherwise, where the series is based on year of reporting, it could simply be the abbreviation for the law report as in Ex 30/3, 30/4 and 30/5 above. Include the page number in the law report where the case begins.