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Law Subject guide: Finding Law reports & unreported judgments

Unreported Cases

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.

Finding Irish Law Reports

  • Justis 
    Fee-paying service which offers access to judgments on an ongoing basis.

Finding unreported material

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:

  • British and Irish Legal Information Institute  (Bailii)
    The most significant data here are in the Supreme Court (‘IESC’) and High Court (‘IEHC’) directories. The database is not comprehensive so it is important to consult other sources.  The majority of cases date from 1997 (High Court) and 1998 (Supreme Court.)
    Irish Legal Information Initiative (Irlii)
    This site provides a database of 'leading Irish cases' classified by subject, e.g. constitutional law cases include Attorney General v X (1992).  These cases are also available on the Bailii site.  Note also the Irlii index of cases.
    See also IRLII Latest Cases RSS News Feed -  
  • Courts Service Judgments Database
    Recent cases from the Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Criminal Appeal 
  • Justis
    Fee-paying service which offers access to judgments on an ongoing basis.

  • Westlaw.IE
    Covers Irish Law Reports Monthly, Employment Law Reports, Irish Current Law Statutes Annotated, and various other material.

The Hidden Law

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.

June 1940

Researching Irish Law

Taken from 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.”