First 100 Years

The model of law reporting adopted in Queensland in 1902 continued largely unchanged for many years. During this period, the ICLRQ was based in the Supreme Court Library and shared its staff. The State Reports of Queensland typically reported only about 30 cases each year, which were published in a single volume of about 400 pages. The ICLRQ operated with only one Editor and one Reporter. In 1958, the name of the reports was simplified to the Queensland Reports.

By the early 1970s, however, the number of cases reported had reached 50, the size of the annual volume had expanded to about 600 pages and the Queensland Weekly Notes were discontinued (1972). During this period, when printed digests, texts, and law reports remained the primary legal research tools, there was a growing demand for printed reports and the ICLRQ was able to operate at a surplus which could be regularly applied to benefit the various branches of the Supreme Court Library.

A period of change in the ICLRQ’s operations began in the 1980s. The growth in the Queensland economy led to a sharp rise in the volume and complexity of commercial litigation. This resulted in the Queensland Reports expanding its output to two annual volumes, comprising about 1400 pages of reports. The increasing demands upon the ICLRQ led to a decision to establish separate premises and staff. In 1985, Ms Jackie Mengel became the first independent Secretary of the ICLRQ and its operations moved for a time to the fifth level of the District Court building in Brisbane. In 1992, the ICLRQ moved to larger premises again on the second level of 376 George Street, Brisbane.

During the mid-1980s, the potential for computer databases to be used to store and search Australian case law had also become apparent. In the years that followed, the ICLRQ arranged for the Queensland Reports from 1974 onwards to be digitised. For a time, these recent volumes of the Queensland Reports were only available to users electronically on CD-ROM. With the development of the Lexis database on the internet, however, they became instantly accessible on desktop and mobile computers across Australia. This in turn led to a shift in demand away from printed materials, towards the many benefits of online access to legal materials.

See further:

Helen Gregory, Capturing Law and History: One Hundred Years of Queensland Law Reporting (SCQL, 2007).