Reported over Unreported
Reported cases should always be cited as legal authority over unreported cases. Reported cases are the official published version of the case with arguments of counsel, head notes etc. Unreported cases are the original judgments issued by the court and should only be used if a reported version is not available. Free legal resources only contain unreported cases. Students should always use the reported sources on the legal databases in preference to the freely available sources for case law and legislation and lose marks in their essays for not doing so.
The principal printed series of reports are the Irish Reports and Irish Law Reports Monthly, cited as ‘IR’ and ‘ILRM’ respectively. Many cases remain unreported. For electronic access to reported and unreported cases, see the following:
Fee-paying service which offers access to judgments on an ongoing basis.
Covers Irish Law Reports Monthly, Employment Law Reports, Irish Current Law Statutes Annotated, and various other material.
The Hidden Law by WH Auden
The Hidden Law does not deny
Our laws of probability,
But takes the atom and the star
And human beings as they are,
And answers nothing when we lie.
It is the only reason why
No government can codify,
And verbal definitions mar
The Hidden Law.
Its utter patience will not try
To stop us if we want to die;
If we escape it in a car,
If we forget It in a bar,
These are the ways we’re punished by
The Hidden Law.
Taken from LawLegal.eu site
Unreported judgments are ones approved and made available for circulation in typescript form. Some of these cases later become reported judgments. To quote O’Malley in Sources of Law, “The fact that a judgment remains unreported does not, of course, mean that it is devoid of legal value. Even today, many important Irish judgments remain unreported.” This is echoed in Butterworths Legal Guide, “in Ireland there has always been considerable reliance on unreported cases.”