N.B. These are examples of citations you may see. For guidance on how to cite sources in your own work, refer to a style guide, for example:
A case citation is the way in which a case is referenced in order to allow lawyers to both find a copy of a case report or transcript and to identify a specific case.
Traditionally, the citation refers to where a judgment is reported. It indicates the case name and the report series, the year and/or volume, and the page at which the report begins. You can use this information to find a case in the printed volumes in the Library. It takes the form:
Cadder v HM Advocate 2011 SC (UKSC) 13
|Cadder v HM Advocate||2011||SC (UKSC)||13|
|case name (party names)||year (and / or volume)||report series (abbreviated)||page the case begins|
The parties were called Cadder and HM Advocate and a report of the case starts at page 13 of the 2011 Session Cases (UK Supreme Court cases). Each series of reports has a specific abbreviation.
Because a single judgment may be reported in more than one series of reports, there may be several citations for the same case. For example, the above case was also reported at: Cadder v HM Advocate 2010 SLT 1125.
An example of a case which includes a volume number in the citation is:
Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd  2 AC 457
|Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd||||2||AC||457|
|case name (party names)||year||volume||report series (abbreviated)||page the case begins|
The parties were called Campbell and Mirror Group Newspapers and a report of the case starts at page 457 of volume two of the 2004 Law Reports Appeal Cases.
More recently, because transcripts of judgments now become available online quickly, and because lawyers need to refer to cases which have not yet been reported, a system of ‘neutral citations’ has been developed. These do not refer to a report of a case but to the judgment itself. A neutral citation indicates the case name, the court hearing the case, the year of the judgment and the case number:
Cadder v HM Advocate  UKSC 43
|Cadder v HM Advocate||||UKSC||43|
|party names (case name)||year||court||case number|
Neutral citations can be used to identify a case and to locate a transcript (or subsequent report) using online services such as Westlaw, Lexis®Library, or BAILII.
Some referencing styles (e.g. OSCOLA) may require that both the neutral citation and the most authoritative report are included in the case citation:
Cadder v HM Advocate  UKSC 43, 2011 SC (UKSC) 13
and that cases which do not have a neutral citation include an abbreviated reference to the court:
You may notice that case citations use different brackets or no brackets at all round the year. The use of brackets depends on whether the report is Scottish or English and whether the year is strictly required in order to find the case in printed volumes.
For Scottish cases, if the year is in round brackets then it is not strictly required to locate the case as the series has consecutively numbered volumes. If the year is not in brackets then it is required to locate the case.
Hislop v Durham (1842) 4 D 1168 - year not required to locate case
MacLeod v Kerr 1965 SC 253 – year required to locate case
For English cases, if the year is in square brackets then it is required to locate the case. If the year is in round brackets then it is not strictly required to locate the case as the series has consecutively numbered volumes.
Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd  2 AC 457 - year required to locate case
Young v Wilson (1955) 72 RPC 351 - year not required to locate case
This is the most authoritative series of Scottish reports. Early volumes of Session Cases are cited by a single letter abbreviation of the names of their editors. For example:
5 S 390 (5th volume edited by Shaw page 390)
7 D 346 (7th volume edited by Dunlop page 346)
10 M 120 (10th volume edited by Macpherson page 120)
17 R 931 (17th volume edited by Rettie page 931)
4 F 297 (4th volume edited by Fraser page 297)
You will often be given a year too, but you can find the case without it.
From 1907 onwards this series is cited as SC e.g. 1995 SC 471
Within each volume of Session Cases there are now several separately numbered page sequences. Each page sequence reflects the court in which the case was heard.
SC (PC) - Session Cases (Privy Council)
SC (HL) - Session Cases (House of Lords)
JC - Justiciary Cases
SC - Session Cases
SC (UKSC) - Session Cases (UK Supreme Court)
Remember to make sure you are looking in the correct section!
Sections in Scots Law Times also have distinct abbreviations, e.g.:
SLT - Reports (from superior courts)
SLT (Sh Ct) - Sheriff Court reports
SLT (Land Ct) - Land Court reports
SLT (Land Tr) - Lands Tribual reports
SLT (Lyon) - Lyon Court reports
SLT (News) - News section (contains articles not cases)
SCLR - Scottish Civil Law Reports
SCCR - Scottish Criminal Case Reports
This is the most authoritative series of English reports. The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales Law Reports is comprised of several component parts, each with their individual abbreviation. For example:
AC - Law Reports Appeal Cases
Ch - Law Reports Chancery Division
Fam - Law Reports Family Division
KB / QB - Law Reports King's / Queen's Bench Division
In the Andersonian Library these component parts are all shelved under Law Reports in the alphabetical reports sequence then alphabetically by component part.
All ER - All England Law Reports
Although there are no 'official' reports in Scotland or in England and Wales, some series are regarded as being authoritative and should be cited in preference to others when a report is available for a case.
In Scotland the series regarded as authoritative and which should be cited in court or in academic work are the Session Cases and Justiciary Cases. (Should reports not be available in those series then Scots Law Times, Scottish Civil Law Reports or Scottish Criminal Case Reports, then other series, may be cited.)
In England and Wales the series regarded as authoritative and which should be cited in court or in academic work are those published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) - AC, Ch, Fam,QB. Should reports not be available in those series then All England Law Reports (All ER) , then other series, may be cited.)
'If a case is reported in the [ICLR] Law Reports, this report should generally be cited in preference to any other report . If a judgment is not reported in the Law Reports, cite the Weekly Law Reports or the All England Law Reports. Only if a judgment is not reported in one of these general series should you refer to a specialist series, such as the Lloyd’s Law Reports or the Family Law Reports.'