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Unreported Judgments Index User Guide

What are unreported judgments?

  • Unreported judgments are those cases heard in courts or tribunals and not published in a series of law reports.
  • Judges recommend which cases are to be reported. Some decisions are oral, not written.
  • A case may not be reported because it is of little legal interest or significance. However, unreported decisions can be of great relevance to those researching specific areas of law.

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Contents of the Judgments Index

This is a listing of unreported decisions acquired by the University of Otago Law Library. The bulk of the decisions are from the Court of Appeal and the High Court. It is not a complete collection of judgments from these or other bodies but the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court holdings should be substantially complete from November 2000.

While these judgments are obtained in an unreported state, they may have subsequently been reported. It is important to check this using Briefcase and Linx before you use the judgment in your research. Even if the case has been reported, we still keep the unreported version.

Dates of Holdings from Court of Appeal and High Court Decisions

(NB: the bulk of this index is comprised of judgments from these courts)

Court of Appeal 1976 -
High Court 1976 -

Full text Court of Appeal (1999-) and Supreme Court (2000-) decisions are available online from NZLII and AUSTLII.   

Dates of Holdings from other bodies

(NB: holdings for the following are not extensive)

Complaints Review Tribunal 2001 -
District Court 1984 -
Employment Court 1992 -2000
Employment Tribunal 1993 -1999
Family Court 1982 -
Maori Appeal Court 1998 -
Maori Land Court 1997, 2000
Overseas judgments 2001 -
Privy Council 1989 -
Supreme Court 1956, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1972 -76, 2000-
Youth Court 1992 -

Decisions of the following bodies are not listed in this Index, but are held in a near complete state in the Law Library.

ACC Appeal Authority KG/348/A24
ACC District Court Appeals KG/348/A25
Broadcasting Standards Authority KG/348/B7
Commerce Commission KG/342/N124
Environment Court / Planning Tribunal KG/348/N5
Film and Literature Board of Review KG/348/F5

For further information about the range of courts and tribunals, and the availability of their decisions, refer to the Waikato University Law Library's directory of decisions.

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Searching the judgments index

  • There is no need to use capital letters for names, or to include 'v' between parties when searching.
  • We recommend you search the index using the court file number if you know it.
  • The court number is filed in the following format: e.g: AB 111/99. It should be searched by typing in just the number eg: 111/99.
  • In the year 2000, the filing system of some court file numbers changed e.g: CP 73-SD/00. Search for this by typing 73-SD/00.
  • Courts are recorded in an abbreviated format. For example the Court of Appeal is recorded as CA, the High Court Auckland as HC AK. See the list of abbreviations of courts for more details.
  • Judgments dates need to follow a dd/mm/yy format.

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Finding judgments in the library

The Library's collection of judgments is divided up into sets. The set number determines the position of the judgment. Within each set the cases should be bound more or less alphabetically.

  • Sets 1-17 are located in the Library’s Storage facility. Requests for items may be made via Library Search | Ketu
  • Sets 18-20 are located on the 8th floor of the Law Library at KG346
  • Sets 20E and 21E are available in electronic format only
  • There are some decisions that have court imposed suppression orders. These decisions cannot be listed in this internet accessible database but may be held by the Law Library. Please check with the Law Librarian or email

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Requesting Judgments which are not held by the Law Library

  • Judgments can be requested only by Law Faculty staff.
  • Please fill in the request form or email the Library with the details of the case.
  • Postgraduate and final year honour students need the approval of their supervisor before requesting judgments for their thesis or dissertation.
  • A permission slip can be obtained from the Main Desk of the Law Library. This needs to be signed by the supervisor and returned to the Library with the request.
  • All other students who wish to obtain judgments can do so by calling Butterworths on 0800 0800 986. You may pay using a VISA card or be invoiced in advance.

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Citing unreported judgments

The citing of unreported decisions differs from that of reported cases, e.g: Hoiho v Johnstone, Jones & Wilke (High Court, Dunedin CP 53/99, 12 July 1999, Manx J). You need to cite the date of judgment rather than the date of the hearing.

A lettered code is used in older court filing numbers.

  • A: Action - old code; is now CP
  • AD: Admiralty
  • AP: Appeal
  • B: Bankruptcy
  • CA: Court of Appeal
  • CP: Civil Proceeding
  • CL: Civil List
  • HC: High Court
  • M: Miscellaneous
  • P: Probate
  • S: Sentence
  • T: Trial - criminal

Reference: Mulholland, R.D. Introduction to the New Zealand Legal System. Wellington: Butterworths, 1999: 6.48.

Last revised: 15 August, 2013