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Law reports

Law reports contain the decisions or judgements of courts on points of law.

Only cases of significant legal interest are reported. This includes cases that signify a change or development in the law, clarify a difficult principle of law, or interpret legislation.

The Library has several series of law reports (covering England and Wales, and other countries) in Edward Boyle Library on level 12. We also offer access to the main databases for law reports: Lexis Library and Westlaw-UK.

Legal abbreviations

Most references to cases and journal articles use an abbreviation for the title of the law report or journal. Our Library Search requires the full title, so you will need to find out what the abbreviation stands for.

The Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations is one of the best online sources for legal abbreviations.

Law resources

Some of the most useful resources for tracking down cases, either with a reference to a particular case or on a particular subject, are:

  • Current Law Case Citator: summaries of cases and references for finding full reports. The citator will refer to the appropriate Current Law Yearbook, and is updated by the Monthly Digests (Case Citator section).
  • The Digest: summaries of cases and references to full reports. The Digest covers UK, European and Commonwealth cases as far back as the 11th century, and is updated by the annual supplement.
  • Lexis Library: includes reports from all the major series, as well as some specialised reports and transcripts of unreported cases. The cases search option allows you to search by case name or subject. All reports are in full text.
  • Westlaw-UK: includes the UK Case Locator which can be searched by case name or subject. Some law reports series are available in full text via this service.
  • Halsbury's Laws of England: summaries of the law in all subject areas, including key cases where relevant.

England and Wales

The major series of general law reports are shelved in the Edward Boyle Library and also online via Lexis Library or Westlaw-UK.

These are:

Law Reports Series (Appeal Cases, Chancery Division, Family Division, Queen's Bench Division).

Weekly Law Reports (available in print and electronically)

All England Law Reports (available in print and electronically)

English Reports (for pre-1865 cases, consult the English Reports index of cases)

Revised Reports (for pre-1865 cases)

The specialised series (eg Criminal Appeal Reports, Family Law Reports, Industrial Relations Law Reports), are shelved in one alphabetical sequence immediately following the general series listed above.

Law reports indexes

  • Law Reports Consolidated Index: includes an alphabetical list of cases, a subject index and a list of cases judicially considered. It covers cases back to 1951 and is updated three times a year.
  • All England Law Reports Index: includes an index of cases reported and considered and a subject index.

Other countries

Use the Library search to find series of law reports from other countries:

  • United States (Law N)
  • Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (Law J)
  • International law reports (Law L).