Case selection criteria for law reports

04 December 2020 16:00 by Shebash Pillay

Case selection criteria for law reports

by Shebash Pillay, Managing Editor, LexisNexis Law Reports and Merilyn Kader, Editor, All South African Law Reports and Constitutional Law Reports

Case selection in the field of law reporting is an extremely important part of publishing. The selection of cases that are current, important, topical and precedent setting is the basis for publishing a commercially sustainable and useful law report series.

With guidance from the courts in terms of reportability, the editors of the All South African Law Reports (All SA) follow a process for the selection of judgments to be published and apply, inter alia, the following principles:

The elementary screening of judgments using the courts’ own indication of reportability, as the All SA only publishes those cases that are marked as “reportable” or “of interest to other judges” by the presiding judge.

These marked cases are then further reviewed, guided by the following principles when deciding on the selection:

  • Whether the judgment “sets new precedent”, “reverses a legal principle” or “confirms a legal principle”;
  • Statutory interpretation around specific sections of legislation or an Act as a whole, (for example the testing of a section/Act against the provisions of the Constitution and whether it is constitutionally valid);
  • Discussion around legal principles surrounding an area of law or a test to be applied, its relevance and importance and whether it brings new legal developments to light;
  • Where a judgment contains a novel set of facts which has not been dealt with by previous courts; and
  • Currentness, importance and topicality of a particular judgment having regard to what might be in the public interest.

The selection of cases for reporting in the All South African Law Reports is reviewed by its Honorary Consulting Editor, retired Judge R D Claassen.

Published monthly, the title is available in paperback with quarterly cumulative indices and is complemented by the Butterworths Consolidated Index and Noter-up to The All South African Law Reports and the South African Law Reports (“Gracie’s”) and its annualised supplements.

Looking for current case law? Click here to find out more. Want to submit your judgment for possible inclusion in the All SA publication? Email: The Editors