U.K. Legal Research

An introduction to print and electronic sources for researching law in the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


Statutes of the Realm, Magna Carta to Reign of Queen Anne
Law Folio KD129 1810 (Note the location: Law Folio is on the 2nd floor)
Also available on Hein Online

Acts and ordinances of the interregnum, 1642 - 1660
Law Compact Shelving KD130 1642

Statutes Revised (3rd ed., 1950)
Law Compact Shelving KD132 1950 
(covers 1235 – 1948)

Previous editions of Halsbury's Statutes of England [and Wales]
Law Remote Storage KD135 .H3 G74 1968
Law Remote Storage KD135 .H3 G74 1948
(The current (4th, 1985) edition is in Law Compact Shelving)

Index to the Statutes in Force (1235 - 1952)
Law Compact Shelving KD142.4
(Law Library has 1952 volume only)

Chronological Table of the Statutes (1235 - 2005)
Law Compact Shelving KD142.3 .C46


UK Statutes and Statutory Instruments currently in force are available on lexis.com and Westlaw and at legislation.gov.uk

NB: Prior to 1963, citations to British statutes included the regnal year (e.g., 6 Feb. 1952 – 5 Feb. 1953 was the first year of the reign of Elizabeth the Second). Tables of regnal years are available from the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University.


The English Reports (1220 - 1865)
Law Compact Shelving KD270 1220 E5
Law Microforms KD270 1220 E5
Also available on Hein Online

Selected nominate reports: Salkeld, Raymond, East, Blackstone
Law Compact Shelving KD200, KD203
These nominate reports are also reproduced in the English Reports. To determine where, see the Index Chart for English Reports, Law Compact Shelving (KD270 1220 .E5 Chart). The Index Chart is also reproduced by Hein Online.

All England Law Reports Reprint (1558 - 1935)
Law Compact Shelving KD288 A6

Early series of Law Reports (e.g., Queen's Bench, 1865 - 1875, Queen's Bench Division, 1875 – 1890)
Law Compact Shelving KD277 - KD279

Law Reports Digest (1901 - 1905; 1931 - 1950)
Law Compact Shelving KD284 .L38 1906
Law Compact Shelving KD284 .L38 1951

Year books, 1- 11 (Edward I - Henry VIII)
Law Folio KD194
(Fragile condition)

UK Cases available on LexisNexis and Westlaw tend to date back to the mid-19th Century. If a citation does not retrieve the document, search UK cases databases on lexis.com (e.g., UK;ALLCAS) and WestlawNext (International Materials > United Kingdom) with information such as the parties' names.


Elizabeth Moys, Manual of Law Librarianship: the use and organization of legal literature (1976)
Law Stacks Z675 L2 M27 1976

"English Legal Research," in Barkan, Mersky and Dunn, Fundamentals of Legal Research (9th ed., 2009), pp. 523 and ff.
Law Open Reserve (Stauffer Collection) KF240 .J3 2009

English Legal History (Duke)

Legal History: The Year Books (Pappas Law Library, Boston University)

Additional Sources

For treatises Search OSCAR by author, title, keyword or subject.

On Hein Online, search the Legal Classics Library (by author and title) and the Foreign & International Law Resources Database for UK materials (by keyword).

UK Cases available on LexisNexis and Westlaw tend to date back to the mid-19th Century. If "Find by citation" or "Get A Document" does not produce the case you are looking for, try searching UK cases databases on lexis,com (e.g., UK;ALLCAS) and Westlaw (International Materials > United Kingdom) with additional information, such as the parties' names.

Heafey Law Library Research Team