Leading Cases In Australian Law: A guide to the 200 most frequently cited judgments
Daniel Reynolds and Lyndon Goddard; The Federation Press, 2016; 480pp; $79.95 (paperback)
Leading Cases in Australian Law is the first casebook in Australia, and the only casebook published in the 21st century, to provide succinct summaries and analysis of the most significant cases in Australian law at large. As Chief Justice Robert French notes in his foreword to the book, the text is part of a venerable tradition of casebooks dealing with leading cases in all areas of law. However, Leading Cases is a thoroughly modern iteration of its predecessors, and will serve as a very useful point of reference for present day students and practitioners.
The tradition of which the Chief Justice speaks began in 1837, when John Smith wrote A Selection of Leading Cases on Various Branches of the Law with Notes (Sweet and Maxwell, 1st ed, 1837). By the time the final edition was published in 1927, this book had evolved into a portly tome stretching across two volumes. Well before the final edition was published, a further navigational guide had become necessary, in the form of John Indermaur’s An Epitome of Leading Common Law Cases: With Some Short Notes Thereon: Chiefly Intended as a Guide to ‘Smith’s Leading Cases’ (Stevens & Haynes, 1st ed, 1873). Thankfully, Leading Cases is shorter in both the length of its title and its text.