Answered By: Your Library Team
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2023     Views: 406

Neutral citations were introduced in the UK in 2001 for judgments from all divisions of the High Court and are independent of any printed series of law reports. Instead, the abbreviation indicates the court in which the case was heard and the number indicates the case number.

For example:

Brown v Davies [2006] EWCA Civ 166 [9]

  • Brown and Davies are the parties involved
  • [2006] is the date of the judgment
  • EWCA Civ is the court in which the case was heard; in this case, the Court of Appeal England and Wales, Civil Division
  • 166 is the case number
  • [9] refers to paragraph number 9.

Neutral citations make it easier to find a judgment online from sources such as the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website (BAILII).

Cases may subsequently be reported in a printed series of law reports, but the neutral citation will always remain at the front of the list of authorities.

For example:

Imerman v Tchenguiz [2009] EWHC 2024 (QB); [2010] 2 F.L.R. 735; [2010] F.C.R. 14; [2009] Fam.Law 1135, QBD.

Some lower courts and tribunals have since adopted a neutral citation system.