What is a neutral citation?
Last Updated: Mar 02, 2018     Views: 287

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. If this is the only citation you have then you will not find the case in any of the printed law reports series, you will need to look at one of the electronic sources.

An example and breakdown of a neutral citation is shown below:

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 Westlaw, LexisLibrary or 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.

These are the neutral citation formats used for the different courts:

  • EWCA Civ - Court of Appeal Civil Division
  • EWCA Crim - Court of Appeal Criminal Division
  • EWHC (Admin) - High Court (Administrative Court)
  • EWHC (Ch) - High Court (Chancery Division)
  • EWHC (QB) - High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • EWHC (Comm) - High Court (Commercial Court)
  • EWHC (Admlty) - High Court (Admiralty)
  • EWHC (Fam) - High Court (Family Division)
  • EWHC (Pat) - High Court (Patents Court)
  • EWHC (TCC) - High Court (Technology & Construction Court)
  • UKHL - House of Lords
  • UKPC - Privy Council

EW is used for courts covering England and Wales
UK is used for courts covering the whole of the United Kingdom