The naming of cases is of course central to what we do. We have several standards we us in renaming cases as they are presented to us. Understanding these can be a help for you in looking for any particular case. We have something over 250,000 cases, and policies have come to be applied at different times and with different rigour, so they have often (not yet) been applied to many cases. We tend to make the change either before publication (best) or as we come across them. Though the latter is clearly hit and miss, it does affect a couple of dozen cases a day.
In no particular order (with more to follow):
- “C (a Minor), Re” becomes “Re C (a minor)” or “In re C (a Minor)” – This change reflects the fact thaat any case is being searched here by a computer search engine. The original is a traditional way of naming such cases where the m]name would be looked up in an alphabetic index. Our version better reflects the correct naming of the case, and assists any compouter search (look for “Re C “. We apply this to any name where the source moved the ‘re’ to the back end of the name. BTW ‘re’ or ‘in re’ mean ‘in the matter of’.
- “Oxdam Ltd.” becomes “Oxdam Ltd” – We drop the full stop used to indicate a shortening of a word. This is just a more modern standard.
- “R v Freddy” becomes “Regina v Freddy” or “Rex v Freddy” – Again the shortening to R reflects a practice based on paper based indices. We do not reverse the wording – “Freddy v R” does not become “Regina v Freddy”. A general rule that the appellant’s name goes first is much ignored in criminal cases, so we do not make the change
- “(Rev 1) – deleted. A judge may publish a judgment to the parties, but then make adjustments after for example representations from the parties. If so there are two judgments in circulation between them. The second (or later) judgment is therefore labelled to show which it is. That makes sense for the parties, but the last one is the only one published, so we are not interested, and the annotation is removed.
It is very common for cases to have two or more versions of the names. Where we have one version for our index, but know that the case has been reported under a differemt name by a recognised court series, we will try to add that name variety to the case. It will normally appear at the end of a case summary with a paragraph beging ‘Otherwise:’ or ‘Orse:’. This is not the perfect response, but is effective and should mean that the case can be found when a search is conducted under the varietal name.