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Researching Case Law


FirstPoint is a legal research product, accessed via Westlaw AU, which helps you find information about Australian case law.

FirstPoint comprises Australian case research from a variety of sources including: digests of cases published in the Australian Digest, the Australian Legal Monthly Digest and ALMD Advance; digests of reported and unreported judgments from selected courts and tribunals around Australia; and entries from the Australian Case Citator.

With FirstPoint you can:

  • retrieve a case on a specific topic or point of law using the Australian Digest classification scheme
  • browse the hierarchical structure of cases using the Australian Digest classification scheme
  • and view relevant case details such as judges, date of judgment, digest notes for some cases, catchwords, litigation history, cases considered, cases citing, legislation judicially considered and words and phrases judicially considered.

Accessing FirstPoint

Go to the library's A-Z Database list and search for Westlaw AU or FirstPoint


1. Type FirstPoint in the search box on the Library website

2. Click on the 'Access this resource' link

Searching FirstPoint

You can search the FirstPoint template in a number of ways. The most common are by keyword (Free Text), Case Title/Party Name, Citation, or Legislation Cited.

firstpoint search fields

Elements of a FirstPoint record

Case name and symbol (see box below):




Judgment information (court, date of judgment, judge(s)):

Brown HCA judges

Parallel citations and text options:

Brown HCA citations

Catchwords and digest:

Brown HCA digest

Words and phrases considered by the case:

Brown HCA phrases






Legislation considered by the case:Brown HCA legislation

Later cases which have considered this case:

Brown HCA cases citing

Cases cited by this case:

Brown HCA cases cited

Journal articles referring to this case:

Brown HCA journals

Additional references may also be found under 

Breadcrumb trails

WestlawAU uses a classification system commonly known as a 'breadcrumb trail'. For example, in the FirstPoint case citator, you can browse through the classification menu on the left side of the screen.  Every time you click on the + sign, it will open the next branch in the classification (breadcrumb trail).

WestlawAU breadcrumb trail
























Breadcrumb trails are also displayed once you are in a FirstPoint case record: 

WestlawAU Breadcrumb record





See the FirstPoint Quick Reference Guide for more information.

FirstPoint symbols

FirstPoint uses case status symbols to alert you to the fact that history is available for your case and should be investigated.

Signa    Explanation
A red flag warns that the case is no longer good law for at least one of the points it contains.
A yellow flag warns that the case has some negative history, but has not been reversed or overruled.
A blue H indicates that the case has some history but it is not known to be negative history.
A green C indicates that the case has citing references but no direct or negative indirect history.