Judgments FAQs

Which judgments are published on this site?

Judgments of the following Court and Tribunals are published on this site:

  • Federal Court of Australia, 1977- 
  • Australian Competition Tribunal, 1997- 
  • Copyright Tribunal, 1980- 
  • Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal, 1999-     
  • Supreme Court of Norfolk Island, 1998-
  • Industrial Relations Court of Australia, 1994 - 2002
  • Federal Police Disciplinary Tribunal, 1982 - 1998
  • Trade Practices Tribunal, 1981 - 1995

How often are judgments published?

Judgments are published within 24 hours of being released for publication by Judges' staff, often earlier.

In cases of high media interest, the Court endeavours to publish decisions within 1 hour of being delivered by the Court.

In what format are they published?

From 1995 to the present judgments are published in HTML with a printer-friendly or downloadable version in MS Word (doc or docx formats).

Judgments from 1977 to 1994 are available in searchable PDF. Please note that PDF judgments have been scanned from the original paper copy and that the quality of the original paper copy may impede the searchability of the judgment.

Formatting in the HTML version

In some cases, the formatting within the HTML version of the judgment does not exactly match the judgment as produced by the Court. For this reason, if you are printing or downloading the judgment, or using it as an authority in Court, we strongly recommend you use the MS Word version.

Microsoft Word version

From 1995, a printer-friendly version of the judgment is available in either doc or docx formats. To view these documents, installation of one of the following is required:

  • Microsoft Word 2003 or higher
  • A Word compatible word processor
  • A free Word viewer available from the Microsoft website

I cannot find a judgment - where else should I look?

If you have conducted several searches and have still not found the judgment, the next step is to search for the case record in Federal Law Search. Federal Law Search will confirm whether the judgment was delivered by the Federal Court (or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for General Federal Law matters) and whether a judgment has been delivered in the matter.

In some cases, the Judge may have delivered orders but not a judgment. All orders handed down from 2005 (and some from 2004) are available in full-text on Federal Law Search.

Once you have searched for the case, drill down to Court Events and Orders to see whether a judgment or order has been delivered, or is scheduled to be delivered.

In the example below, a judgment was delivered on July 6, and another reserved on August 28. Note that the Judge also handed down orders on July 4 which are available in full-text.

;Federal Law Search screen shot

About Federal Law Search

Federal Law Search is a database of all cases that have come before the Federal Court. It provides the following:

  • Names of parties
  • Court hearing dates and events - including future listings when known
  • Orders of the Court (in full-text from 2004/2005)
  • A list of documents filed by the parties
  • Date of judgment delivery and a link to the judgment
  • Name of counsel and solicitors

Check Federal Law Search FAQs for further search assistance.

File inspection

If at this stage, a judgment or orders have not been found, the last resort is to inspect the court file. Requests for file inspections should be directed to the Registry which heard the matter.

Please be aware fees may be involved.

What is medium neutral citation?

Medium neutral citation ("MNC") is a citation assigned to judgments by the Court or Tribunal. It is independent of any other citation that the commercial publishers may give to a judgment or decision. All Federal Court judgments from 1999 have an MNC, located at the top of the first page of the judgment.

Example: SL6 Limited v Fat Duck Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 71

Full Court judgments

From 1 January 2002, the Federal Court adopted a new medium neutral citation for Full Court judgments - FCAFC.

Example: LED Technologies Pty Ltd v Roadvision Pty Ltd [2012] FCAFC 3

Note: judgments from January to April 2002 have been assigned parallel medium neutral citations in both the FCA and FCAFC series.

MNC elements

The MNC is comprised of the following elements:

First-named applicant
( or appellant or plaintiff
First-named respondent
( or defendant
[Year of judgment


Single Judge judgment

Woolworths Limited
GetUp Limited


Full Court judgment

Australian Industry Group
Fair Work Australia

Background to medium-neutral citation

Medium neutral citation was endorsed by the Council of Chief Justices in 1997. All Australian jurisdictions now use medium neutral citation. It was instituted in part as an aid in electronic searching and retrieval of judgments. It gives each Court a unique identifier and each judgment or decision a unique number.

The medium neutral citation system also introduced paragraph numbers within judgments in order to overcome the difficulties of referencing page numbers, which differed depending on the source of the judgment (hence why it is "medium neutral")

From 1 January 1999, all judgments and decisions written by Federal Court judges, including written ex tempore judgments and decisions, require an MNC.

How should Federal Court judgments be cited?

For guidance on citing Federal Court judgments, refer to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 4th  ed, available for download on the Melbourne University Law Review website.

Section 2.8 provides advise on the citation of unreported judgments.

What is a judgment?

A judgment is the decision of the Court in a particular case. Judgments typically include a statement of the facts, an analysis of the relevant law and the application of the law to the facts.
Judgments may be given orally or in writing, although the complexity of the matters coming before the Federal Court means that judgments are more usually given in writing.

Types of judgments

Ex tempore judgments

Judgments are said to be 'ex tempore' when a judge gives it orally immediately after the hearing of the matter. This normally occurs when the matter is either simple or urgent. It is normal practice in the Federal for ex tempore judgments to be published at a later date.

Reserved judgments

Judgments delivered at a later date are often referred to as 'reserved judgments'.

Full Court judgments

In the Federal Court, a Full Court is constituted to hear appeals and other matters of sufficient importance. A Full Court usually consists of 3 or more judges sitting together.

A Full Court will publish a single judgment, although it may include more than one set of reasons. If all judges come to the same conclusion, the Full Court may elect to publish joint reasons or the Judges may choose to publish individual reasons. If the judges do not come to the same conclusion, then the case is decided by majority. In these cases, the judgment will consist of at least two sets of reasons, known as the majority and dissenting reasons.

In all cases, the judgment of the Full Court is issued as a single judgment with the one MNC, FCAFC.

Do you offer any judgments subscriptions services?

Yes, there is the Judgments and Events by National Practice Area email subscription service. There is also a Judgments RSS feed if you have a feed reader.

It is also possible to track progress in matters before the Court: further information on all of these services is in on our Subscriptions page.


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