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Online Guide for Law Students: Law Reports

Begin your legal studies and research with our comprehensive resources!

Types of Case Reports

All court decisions are unreported cases initially. Important decisions that contain significant points of law will be selected for publication in law reports. 

Authorised reports contain cases that the court has seen the final version and approved the publication. The two authorised reports in Hong Kong are the 'Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Reports' (HKCFAR) and the 'Hong Kong Law Reports and Digest' (HKLRD). 

An authoised report should always be cited in preference.  Unreported cases should only be cited if there is no reported version available.

Steps to Locate a Law Report

Suppose you need to locate the following case in Hong Kong. You can follow the steps below to locate the law report and read the case:

Step 1: Check the Full Report Name
HKLR is an abbreviated name of a law report. We can visit Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations to check the full report name:


Step 2: Search the Law Report in LibrarySearch by its Full Name
Input the full report name in LibrarySearch and make a search, it will show the database link under View it section on the result page.


Step 3: Search the case in the law report
Search the case with party name(s) or citation in the law report, and then click on the citation to read the case.

Alternatively, you can also visit this page as a quick reference to locate different law reports.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviation

A comprehensive list of legal abbreviations used in law reports, law journals, and other legal publications. 

Video: How to Find a Case Law

Square Brackets or Round Brackets?

Use square brackets [ ] if year is necessary to identify the volume:
Click to enlarge the picture:

Use round brackets ( ) if year is not necessary to identify the volume:
Click to enlarge the picture:

What is a Neutral Citation?

A neutral citation is a unique identifier assigned to a case by the court, which includes the year of judgement, a court identifier, and a unique serial number.

It provides consistent reference to the case that is independent of the traditional law report publishers.  This simplifies the process of locating and citing cases, especially for unreported cases.

The HKSAR Judiciary implemented neutral citations for all Hong Kong judgments since 2018 (see Practice Direction 5.5).

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