Citing outside the law reports: Citations of secondary authorities on the Australian state Supreme Courts over the twentieth century

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The purpose of this study is to examine trends in citations of secondary authorities in the six Australian state Supreme Courts based on decisions reported in the official state reports at decade intervals between 1905 and 2005. The main conclusions from the study are that citations of secondary authorities have increased over time; the state Supreme Courts cite fewer secondary authorities than the High Court; most citations of secondary authorities are to legal sources; and, of the legal secondary authorities cited, the state Supreme Courts cite far fewer journal articles than legal texts. The study considers the implications of these findings for decision-making on the state Supreme Courts. Citations of secondary authorities, and law review articles in particular, can serve as an indicator of the extent to which the courts take account of the policy implications of their decisions. The article concludes that, although there is some evidence that the state Supreme Courts have adopted more of a policy role over the last two decades, the secondary sources that they cite are still very narrow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-726
Number of pages35
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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