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Vendor and Medium Neutral Citations

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Vendor and Medium Neutral Citations

Last updated: 15 October 2002

It is a general AustLII policy to establish a "vendor and medium neutral" mechanism for citing materials available on AustLII's website. A medium neutral citation allows a resource such as a decision of a court to be cited irrespective of its publication medium, namely, in print form, or in electronic form available on the Web.

Since the release of the AIJA's Guide to Uniform Production of Judgments, 2nd edn (1999), many courts and tribunals have adopted medium neutral citations for their decisions. In essence, a medium neutral citation consists of three main components:

[<year of publication>] <designator> <sequential number>

For example, the third decision in 2001 from the High Court of Australia may be cited as:

Commissioner of Taxation v Payne [2001] HCA 3

Further, if paragraph numbers have been incorporated into the resource, a specific location within the resource can be identified using the paragraph numbers. For example, the sixth paragraph in Commissioner of Taxation v Payne would be cited as Commissioner of Taxation v Payne [2001] HCA 3 at [6].

A related concept is the use of parallel citations if more than one form of citation exists so that users can access the resource from different media. For example, a decision may have both a medium neutral citation as well as a print citation. This can be cited as follows: Commissioner of Taxation v Payne [2001] HCA 3; (2001) 240 CLR 50.

AustLII has now extended this mechanism to secondary materials that it holds such as law journals. For example, the seventh article from the University of Technology, Sydney Law Review in 1999 may be cited as:

The Honourable Daryl Williams, "The Courts and the Media: What Reforms are Needed and Why" - [1999] UTSLR 7; (1999) 1 UTS Law Review 13

where [1999] UTSLR 7 is the medium neutral citation and (1999) 1 UTS Law Review 13 is the print citation.

If paragraph numbers are incorporated into the document, pinpoint citations can be made. For example, the tenth paragraph (on page 14, say) of the same article may be cited as follows:

[1999] UTSLR 7 at [10]; (1999) 1 UTS Law Review 13 at 14

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