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Case name

Neutral citation


Volume number

Report series

Starting page

Court identifier

Pinpoint reference


Z v Dental Complaints Assessment Committee

[2008] NZSC 55,





at [26]










Eg Z v Dental Complaints Assessment Committee [2008] NZSC 55, [2009] 1 NZLR 1 at [26].

Eg Body Corporate 202254 v Taylor [2008] NZCA 317, [2009] 2 NZLR 17 at [76(c)].

Eg Taylor v New Zealand Poultry Board [1984] 1 NZLR 394 (CA) at 398.

3.2.1 Case name

(a) Italics

Italicise the case name including the “v”. The “v” is short for versus but spoken as “and” in New Zealand and most Commonwealth countries.

(b) Parties’ names

Give the parties’ names exactly as they appear on the first page of the case in the law report, except:

(in liq)
(in liquidation)
(in rec)
(in receivership)
(in stat man)
(in statutory management)
publicly listed company

Do not abbreviate other names, including “Attorney-General”, “Solicitor-General”, “Commissioner of Inland Revenue”, “Regional Council”, “District Council”, “City Council” or “Accident Compensation Corporation”.

If additional information about the parties is provided on the first page of the report, include this information.

Eg Re Gunson (A Bankrupt), ex parte Official Assignee [1966] NZLR 187 (SC) at 194.

Eg Auckland City Council as Assignee of Body Corporate 16113 v Auckland City Council [2008] 1 NZLR 838 (HC) at [45].

(c) The Crown

When citing an unreported case and one of the parties is “The Queen”, abbreviate to “R”, which is short for Regina (or Rex in the case of “The King”). This rule applies to both criminal and civil cases.

Historically, the Queen was often listed as the first party irrespective of whether the Crown was the plaintiff/appellant or the defendant/respondent. This rule should no longer be followed. Simply give the name of the appellant/plaintiff first.

Eg Thompson v R (Private Prosecution) [2007] NZAR 722 (HC) at [18].

When citing a reported case, give the case name as it appears in the report series for ease of reference, even if that format is different from the rules above.

Eg Thomas v The Queen [1972] NZLR 34 (CA).

Eg R v Rongonui [2000] 2 NZLR 385 (CA) at [17].

Eg Rex v Crawford (1915) 17 GLR 505 (SC).

(d) Procedural phrases

Shorten procedural phrases such as “In re” and “In the matter of” to “Re”.

Eg Re Pettit [1988] 2 NZLR 513 (HC) at 515.

Do not abbreviate “ex parte”.

Eg Re Paterson, ex parte Kingston [1997] 1 NZLR 371 (HC).

(e) Common names

Cite cases with common names by giving the names of the parties in accordance with this rule (rule 3.2.1). The common name may be italicised and enclosed in round brackets (in the main text) and in square brackets following the citation (in footnotes).

The common name follows the full citation, even if that name is included following the proper name in the law report (in which case it appears only after the citation). On second and subsequent references to the case refer to the common name.

Eg Simpson v Attorney-General [1994] 3 NZLR 667 (CA) [Baigent’s case].

(f) Abbreviated names

Cases with long case names, particularly if the case is referred to frequently, may be cited in the same manner as cases with common names by using an abbreviated name of your choosing which is used to refer to the case on second and subsequent references. If the chosen abbreviated name is obvious (for example, one of the parties’ names), it need not be noted in the citation when the case is first referred to. However, if the abbreviation of the name could cause confusion with other cases, note the abbreviated name after the citation by using a reference tag. The use of reference tags is discussed in rule 1.1.7(c).

Eg In He v Hard to Find But Worth the Effort Quality Second Hand Books (Wellington) Ltd (in liq) (Hard to Find – Distress)1 the Court of Appeal considered the effect of an unlawful distraint for non-payment of rent where the landlords later re-entered for non-payment of rent. In its earlier decision in the same litigation, He v Hard to Find But Worth the Effort Quality Second Hand Books (Wellington) Ltd (in liq) (Hard to Find – Strike-out),2 the Court was required …

1 He v Hard to Find But Worth the Effort Quality Second Hand Books (Wellington) Ltd (in liq) [2008] NZCA 509, [2009] 1 NZLR 626 [Hard to Find – Distress].

2 He v Hard to Find But Worth the Effort Quality Second Hand Books (Wellington) Ltd (in liq) [2007] NZCA 565, (2007) 18 PRNZ 757 [Hard to Find – Strike-out].

(g) Undisclosed names

Where the names of one or more of the parties have been suppressed by court order, use the designation given by either the court or the report being used. In the rare case that there is a suppression order, but no designated way of referring to the name of the suppressed party, use the first letter of the party’s last name.

Eg T v H [1995] 3 NZLR 37 (CA).

Where one of the parties’ names is suppressed and a letter is used in place of that name, the Court of Appeal’s practice in criminal cases is to include the court file number in round brackets following the suppressed party’s name. This differentiates the case from other cases with the same name. Follow this practice when citing Court of Appeal decisions. The letter abbreviation is followed by a space, then the court file number in round brackets with no space between “CA” and the number.

Eg R v E (CA380/06) [2008] NZCA 404, [2008] 3 NZLR 145.

to differentiate the case from, for example,

R v E (CA369/03) (2004) 20 CRNZ 847 (CA).

Some of the superior courts have developed a practice, particularly in family law cases, of giving the parties fictional names rather than using initials where there is a suppression order: Brown v Argyll [2006] NZFLR 705 (HC) at [1]–[10]; and White v Northumberland [2006] NZFLR 1105 (CA) at [63]. Where such an order has been made, use the fictional names.

Eg Basingstoke v Groot (2006) 26 FRNZ 707 (CA).

In other cases, rather than using fictional names, the court or the law report may include a description of the case following the parties’ names to help identify it from other similarly named cases. Include such descriptions in the case name as they appear in the law report or on the judgment.

Eg Re T (An Adoption) [1996] 1 NZLR 368 (HC).

The Family Court does not generally use fictional names. Instead, it identifies the parties by their full initials. When citing such a judgment, follow the Family Court’s practice. Give all initials, without spaces.

Eg KAB v PRJ FC Tauranga FAM-2008-070-1800, 17 February 2009.

The Family Court publishes a selection of cases on its website. When it does so, the parties may be given fictional names to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. Original versions of Family Court judgments with the parties’ correct names are available from the main online legal databases. When citing Family Court cases, cite from original versions of judgments with the parties’ correct names (and not from the versions on the Family Court website).

(h) Multiple cases with the same parties

Where there are multiple cases with the same parties heard by the same court, the court (or the law report) will sometimes add a number after the parties’ names to differentiate one case from another. Include this number in the citation. Any full stops should be removed in accordance with rule 1.1.2.

Eg Prebble v Awatere Huata (No 2) [2005] NZSC 18, [2005] 2 NZLR 467.

If the number is given in the format “Judgment no”, remove the word “Judgment”.

Eg Equiticorp Industries Group Ltd (in stat man) v The Crown (No 47) [1998] 2 NZLR 481 (HC).

NOT Equiticorp Industries Group Ltd (in stat man) v The Crown (Judgment no 47) [1998] 2 NZLR 481 (HC).

(i) Consolidated cases

Consolidated cases involving more than one proceeding may be heard together, resulting in one judgment with two or more case names. Only cite the first or most common name. If it is necessary to refer to the second or less common name, this may be done in the text.

Eg South Pacific Manufacturing Co Ltd v New Zealand Security Consultants & Investigations Ltd [1992] 2 NZLR 282 (CA) at 301.

NOT South Pacific Manufacturing Co Ltd v New Zealand Security Consultants & Investigations Ltd; Mortensen v Laing [1992] 2 NZLR 282 (CA) at 301.

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