Library

Subjects

UK Legislation and Cases

Information on searching for statutes, case law and older reports.

Statutes

How to find printed Statutes in the Library

Our printed collection of Public General Acts and Measures are not on open access.  Please enquire at the Ask Me Desk on Level 1 if you want to use the printed volumes. The Public General Acts and Measures collect together all of the Statutes enacted in a given year. They are arranged by chapter number of the Act. The text of each Act is as it was passed by Parliament, and does not show repeals or amendments or whether the Act is still in force. This series is largely of historical interest.

How to find electronic sources for Statutes

You can use JustCite to locate legislation that is in force at any particular time.  Click on the Online Resource button for access.

JustCite will then direct you to the full text of statutes normally found on Lexis Library or Westlaw UK.

These commercial databases make legislation easy to find and give the text of statutes currently in force in amended form.

Lexis Library: contains all UK legislation in force, including Statutes and Statutory Instruments. It is updated regularly and includes Halsbury's Is it in force? An excellent resource for checking if a statute has come into force.

Westlaw UK: contains all UK legislation in force, including Statutes and Statutory Instruments, and has links to commentary (Analysis).

The full-text of UK Acts as originally enacted can be found from 1988 on the Legislation.gov.uk website.

To search by subject 

To find out what the current law is, start by using an encyclopedia like Halsburys's Laws of England. 

 

How to find Statutory Instruments (SI's)

Our printed collection of Statutory Instruments (SI's) are not on open access.  Please enquire at the Ask Me Desk on Level 1 if you want to use the printed volumes.  The text of each statutory instrument is as it was passed by Parliament, and not revised.

You can use JustCite to locate Statutory Instruments that are in force at any particular time.

JustCite will then direct you to the fulltext of SI's normally found on Lexis Library and Westlaw UK.

The full-text of SI's as originally enacted can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website

Other Jurisdictions

Commonwealth  - use Lexis Library for coverage of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and selected coverage of Asian and Africa countries. International Materials on Westlaw UK (under the Services tab at the top of the screen) has coverage of Australia and Canada.

European Union - use EUR-Lex for Treaties, regulations, directives and decisions of the EU.

United States - use International Materials on Westlaw UK (under the Services tab) or Lexis Library for access to federal and state legislation

FLAG Foreign Law Guide - use to locate UK research Library holdings of foreign law materials

Foreign Law Research - provides research guides for foreign jurisdictions

Case Law

How to find Case Law in the Library

Cases in the Courts are reported in many different series of law reports.

In 1865 the modern Law Reports began when the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting started publishing this semi-official series. Since 1881 there have been four series:
AC (Appeal Cases), Ch (Chancery Division) QB (Queens Bench Division) or KB (Kings Bench Division) and Fam. (Family Division).

The I.C.L.R. also publish the Weekly Law Reports, 1954-

The other major series of law reports is the All England Law Reports 1936-

Legal citations

Before you start searching for a case the first thing you will have to do is to find out about case citations. Case citations include the names of the parties and a reference to the law report in which it is published.

e.g. Hinz v. Berry [1970] 2 QB 40

This provides the party names, Hinz and Berry, the year in which the report was published, 1970, the law report volume number, 2, the law report series abbreviation, QB and the page number, 40

A good place to start searching for cases is JustCite. You can enter the party names e.g. Hinz v Berry or the citation e.g. 1970 2 QB 40

JustCite will provide case summaries, judicial histories and precedent maps. It will also take you to the fulltext of the case normally via Lexis Library or Westlaw UK.

Some cases will have numerous citations which means they have been reported in a various different law reports. If you need to understand what the abbreviation for the law report stands for use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

Neutral citations

Since January 2001 all cases from the Court of Appeal and divisions of the High Court have been assigned neutral citations. Each case is given a unique number to identify the case which is not tied to any law report series.The citations are set out as follows

e.g. Holland v Barnett [2001] EWCA Civ 10

You can still use JustCite to find the case using either the party names or the citation.

Halsbury's Laws of England (via Lexis Library) provides summaries of the law in all subject areas, including key cases where relevant.

Older Reports

Many reports published before 1865 can be found in the English Reports, a collection of various series of reports. Text for these cases can be found on Hein Online or Westlaw or BAILII. The Library also has a print set of the English Reports shelved on Level 5 with the other printed law reports.

How to find printed sources of Law Reports in the Library

The Library subscribes to a large amount of law report titles in print.

The printed law reports are arranged alphabetically on Level 5 and are part of the Law Collection.The principal reports are: All England Law Reports (ALL ER), Common Market Law Reports (CMLR), Criminal Appeal Reports (Cr App R ), European Court Reports (ECR), Industrial Cases Reports (ICR), Industrial Relations Law Reports (IRLR), The Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports(WLR)

Non-subscription services include:

BAILII : contains an easily searchable and growing number of case law databases

Academic support for your subject

The Library provides subject support via:

Academic Skills and Development (SPLASH)

Online tutorials

Drop-ins

Appointments

Contact Us - Students

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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