Skip to main content

English Legal Research: Print Resources - UK Law

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2018 5:38 PM




  • Clinch, Using a Law Library, 2nd ed. KD 392C55 2001 (Ref)
  • Cllnch, Legal Research: A Practitioner's Handbook 2nd ed. KD 392 C548 2013 (Ref)
  • Easton, Finding English Law, 2nd ed. KD 51 E28 2017 (Ref)
  • Holborn, Butterworths Legal Research Guide, 2nd ed. KD 392 H65 2001 (Ref)
  • Moys, Manual of law librarianship: The Use of and Organization of Legal Literature, 2nd ed. Z 675 L2 M27 1987 (Ref Desk)
  • Reynolds & Flores, Foreign law: Current Sources of Codes & Legislation K 38 R49 1989 (Ref)
    See specifically, "United Kingdom" 
  • Information Sources in Law, 2nd ed. KJC 76 I54 1997 (Ref Desk)
    See specifically, “United Kingdom & Dependencies," Ch. 30 



  • 1962 and earlier, use regnal year and chapter number - Example: 5 & 6 Eliz.2, c.3;
  • after 1963, use calendar year and chapter number - Example: 1975, c.77;
  • short title and year - Example: Land Charges Act 1972

ACTS (chronological)

  • Statutes of the Realm (1225-1713) KD130 1235 (Oversized & HeinOnline)
    • (Record Commission) published 1810-22
    • most authoritative
    • chronological arrangement
    • includes Private Acts before 1539
    • alphabetical and chronological indexes of all Acts
    • subject index for each volume
    • contemporary and modern English with editorial notes
    • parallel translation of all early statutes not in English
    • index of complete set
    • NB, Acts of the Interregnum (1642-1660) period are not included in this set 
  • Statues at Large (1255-approx. 1869) KD130 1801
    • various editions, each somewhat different
  • Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum (HMSO) (1642-1660) KD 130 1642
    • includes Acts of Cromwell's Commonwealth
    • chronological
    • vol. 3 includes chronological list and subject index
  • Law Reports: Statutes (Incorporated Council of law Reporting) (1865+) KD 124 G74
    • "General Public Acts
    • UB Law Library Holdings: 1925-1964
    • part of Law Reports series
    • reprint of the Public General Acts and measures with same tables and indexes
    • still published but no longer received by UB Law Library
  • Law Reports: Statutes (Council of Law Reporting) KD 135 L3 G74
    • "Public General Statutes"
    • UB Law Library Holdings: 1865-1925
  • Some of the Law Reports: Statutes volumes are missing and are replaced with Public General Acts and Measures (HMSO) (1831+)
    KD 124 G74
    • UB Libraries Holdings: 1832, 1847-8, 1975, 1966-71
    • annual cumulation of slip laws
    • Church Assembly Measures
    • Local and Personal Acts since 1962
    • alphabetical and chronological lists in each volume
    • tables showing effect of the year's legislation and, since 1967, derivations of Consolidation Acts for the year
    • index
  • The Statutes: Second Rev. ed. (H.M.S.O. published 1888-1929) 1235-1920 KD 132 1888 
    • all statutes in force through 1920
    • chronological order
    • includes a volume of Church Assembly Measures
  • Current Law Statutes Annotated (1948+) Not owned by UB Law Library 
    • includes Public General Acts & Church Assembly Measures by chapter number in chronological order
    • more important acts are annotated
    • annotations contain detailed account of the background to the Act, a summary of the contents and definitions and explanations of individual section of the Act
    • current year's Acts issued in looseleaf format to be filed in service file
    • cumulative citator and subject index
  • Butterworth's Annotated Legislation Service (1939+) Not owned by UB Law Library 
    • extensive commentaries on selected Acts
    • practitioner oriented
    • cumulative index published every two years

STATUTES (subject arrangement)

  • Statutes in Force: Official Revised Edition (H.M.S.O.) (1972-1981) Not owned by UB Law Library 
    • unannotated 
    • looseleaf format - 84 binders with 131 titles
    • all Public General Acts currently in force with SOME notes
    • arranged by subject, each with its own index
    • alphabetical and chronological lists of Acts and Measures and subject headings published annually
    • annual Cumulative Supplement
    • general index expected with completion
    • list of repealed sections with authority for repeal given after text of Act concerned
    • not kept up-to-date properly and lacks a proper index
  • Halsbury's Statutes of England 2d (1948-67) KD 135 H3 G74 1948/Halsbury's Statutes of England 3d (1968-91) KD 135 H3 G74 1968
    • arranged by subject with notes inc.: history, definitions, cross-references, delegated legislation
    • arrangement:
      • 2d: Main work is 26 v.; Cont. Vol. 28-47 1948-67
      • 3d: Main work is 39 v.; Cont. Vol. 40-61 1968-91
    • includes all Public General laws, Church Assembly Measures, London Local acts
    • European Community Law - v.42A of 3rd ed.
    • Acts pertaining to Scotland only are not included
    • Acts pertaining to Northern Ireland only are included
  • Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales, 4th ed. (Butterworths) (1985+) KD 135 H3 G74 1985
    • fully comprehensive
    • annotated including information about earlier legislation, definitions and cross references
    • includes information about delegated legislation relating to the statutes
    • arrangement:
      • Main work
      • Index - Alphabetical list of statutes
      • Annual cumulative supplement volume with the noter-up service
      • current statutes service with noter-up service


  • Citation Form
    • Local 1975, xxxv By Year, Chapter No. in Roman numerals
    • Personal 1976, 25 By Year, Chapter # in Italics
    • NB: Pre-1963 cited by regnal year

Local & Personal Acts are acts passed by Parliament whose application is limited to certain localities or individuals and which arises by petition from the promoters (local authorities, industry, etc.). Acts having local application but proposed by the government become Public General Acts.

Local & Private Acts are printed by the promoters and thus not widely available. There are various indexes including the list in the Public General Acts and Measures and Chronological Table of the Statutes.

STATUTE CITATORS (or How do you update a statute?)

  • Halsbury's Statutes of England & Wales, 3rd and 4th KD 135 H3 1968/KD 135 H3 G74 1985
    • use latest cumulative supplement volume and Noter-up section in Current Statutes Service volume
    • depending on the date of an amendment or repeal, find text of changes in either the cumulative supplement or the Current Statutes Service volume
  • Index to the Statutes in Force (H.M.S.O. annual) (1235+) KD 142.4 I5
    • UB Law Library holdings: 1235-1973 
    • lists all Public General Acts from 1235 section by section
    • indicates which sections have been repealed and by what authority
    • indicates which sections have been amended by subsequent legislation
    • Acts totally or partially in force have their titles printed in heavy type
    • Acts totally repealed have their titles printed in italic type
    • From 1974, includes chronological table of Local and Personal Acts
  • Is It In Force; a guide to the commencement of statutes passed since... (1991+) KD 142.6 I8
    • indicates the exact commencement dates of Public General Acts passed in the last twenty-five years
    • includes information on repeals, amendments and substitutions


  • Index to the Statutes in Force (H.M.S.O.) (1235+) KD 142.4 I5  
    • UB Law Library holdings: 1235-1973
    • annual
    • arranged by subject 
    • indexes the laws in force at the end of a given year

LEXIS (law students only)

  • full text of statutes in force from 1267 - Based on Butterworth’s Statutes of England and Wales
  • most comprehensive and current collection of statutes in force
  • does not include references to related provisions or annotations of judicial decisions
  • Acts pertaining to Scotland only not included
  • Also possible to do a combined search with Statutory Instrument.


  • Law in Force, current and historic (also listed by subject, current & historic)
  • Includes Acts of the Scottish Parliament
  • United Kingdom Statutes, current and historic

Delegated Legislation, Administrative Law


  • Citation Form: S.I. 1977/1426 By year and running number 
  • Statutory Instruments (H.M.S.O.) Annual, Not owned by UB Law Library 
    • each Statutory Instrument published individually and then cumulated into annual bound volume
    • all general statutory instruments and some local ones
    • includes Orders of Council, Royal Proclamations and Letters Patent (executive documents)
    • numbered serially in given year
    • pre-1962 published in subject order; 1962+ published in chronological order with subject index 
    • tables: chronological list of Statutory Instruments
      • effect of new Statutory Instruments on Parliament Acts
      • effect of Acts on Statutory Instruments (Citator)
  • Halsbury's Statutory Instruments (Butterworths) (1951+) KD 173 H3 G74 
    • full text of selected Statutory Instruments, summaries of others
    • arranged by subject with Index
    • annotated
    • Service Binder: includes updated chronological list of Statutory Instruments in force, new Statutory Instruments, annual Cumulative Supplement, Monthly Survey, summaries, key and index
  • Index to Government Orders in Force (H.M.S.O.) Not owned by UB Law Library 
    • subject index gives Statutory Instruments and authorizing statute
    • chronological table of statutes lists all orders issued and repealed under each statute (Citator)
    • biennial cumulation
  • Table of Government Orders (H.M.S.O.) (1671+) KD 171 T33
    • annual
    • chronological and numerical lists of all general Statutory Rules and Orders and Statutory Instruments since 1671
    • indicates whether or not in force and any amendments or repeals that have occurred since 1948
    • if all or part of the instrument still in force, the title of instrument is in bold type
    • if instrument totally revoked, the title of instrument is in italics
  • Statutory Rules and Orders and Statutory Instruments Revised (H.M.S.O.) (1948)
    • all Statutory Instruments in force in 1948 Not owned by UB Law Library
    • subject arrangement

LEXIS (law students only)

  • all general Statutory Instruments currently enforce, updated weekly 


  • Statutory Instruments, current and historical (also listed separately by subject, current and historic)

Case Law

LAW REPORTS (Early Reporters)

  • The Year Books (cases from 1272-1535)
    • very subjective, in Law French
    • various editions:
      • Black letter editions pub. 16-17 C. (UB Law Library owns edition published 1679-1680 in Rare Book Collection)
    • unbroken sequence of reports from Edward I (1272) to Richard III (1485) and intermittent reporting to 27 Henry VIII (1535)
    • contemporary reports
    • Year Books (Edward I: 1272-1307). Year books of the reign of King Edward the First KD194 1292
      • Holdings: yrs. 20/21-yrs.32/33 (Rolls Series)
    • Year Books (Edward II: 1307-1327). Year books of the reign of King Edward II KD194 1307
      • Holdings: v.1 (1307/1309)-v.26 (1321) (Seldon Society)
    • Year Books (Edward III: 1327-1377). Year books of the reign of King Edward the Third KD194 1327
      • Holdings: yrs. 11/12-yr. 16: pt 1 (Rolls Series)
    • Year Books (Richard II: 1377-1399). Year books of Richard II. KD194 1378
      • Holdings: v.5 (1387/1388)-v. 7 (1389/1390) (Ames Foundation)
    • Year Books (Henry VI: 1422-1471). Year books of the reign of King Henry VI KD194 1422
      • Holdings: v. 1 (1422) (Seldon Series)
    • Year Books (Edward IV: 1461-1483). Year books of the reign of King Edward IV. 10 Edward IV and 49 Henry VI, A.D. 1470 KD194 1470
      • Holdings: 1 volume (Seldon Series)
  • English Reports (E.R.) 178 v. 1220-1865 (published:1900-1932) KD 270 G74
    • Also via HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
    • reprint of early nominate reporters
    • includes over 100,000 cases from 265 separate series of reports
    • arranged by court
    • table of cases in last two volumes - includes citations to original reporter and to location in English Reports
    • spines indicate original reporters and citations
    • includes notes to Mews' Digest of English Case Law
    • editorial notes indicate those decisions affected by subsequent legislation


  • Law Reports (Incorporated Council of Law Reporting) (1865+) KD275.3 .L39
    • UB Law Library owns to 1974
    • semi-official, most authoritative, established by the Bar
    • reported decisions read by the judiciary prior to publication
    • includes arguments of counsel
    • several series and name changes corresponding with changes in court organization
    • currently 4 series: 
      • Queen's Bench KD277 L39 Holdings: v. 1 (1865/1866)-v. 10 (1874/1875); KD277.2 L39 Holdings: v. 1 (1875/1876)-v. 25 (1890)
      • Queen's or King's Bench KD277.7 L39 Holdings: 1891-1964, 1965-1974
      • Chancery Division KD276 L39 Holdings: v.1 (1865/1866)-v. 10 (1874/1875); KD276.3 L39 Holdings: v. 18 (1880/1881)-1964, 1966-1974
      • Family Division KD279.4 L39 Holdings: 1972-1974
      • Appeal Cases (House of Lords) KD275.4 L39 Holdings: v. 1(1875/1876) - 1964, 1966-1974
      • Note: other series owned by the Law Library.  Check online catalog for call numbers)
    • to cite:
      • 1865-1875: (1868) L.R. 3 Ex.D. 330 [Note () and L.R.]
      • 1875-1890: (1888) 2 App.Cas. 666 [Note () and NO L.R.]
      • 1891-date: [1892] 2 Q.B. 484 [Note [] and NO L.R.]
    • subject index and tables of cases
      • Law Reports: Digest, 1865-1949
      • Law Reports Consolidated Index, 1951-60 and 1961-80 (UB Law Library owns 1961-74) updated with monthly and annual cumulative indices
    • citator: "Cases judicially construed" table at back of subject indexes
  • Weekly Law Reports (W.L.R.) (1953+) KD282 W44 
    • UB Law Library owns 1953-1975
    • advance sheets to Law Reports which are later bound in 3 vol.
      • vol. 1 - cases not included in Law Reports
      • v. 2 & 3 - cases included in Law Reports
    • pre-1952, called Weekly Notes (W.N.)
  • All England Law Reports (Butterworths) (1936+) KD288 A64 
    • reports of decisions are published within four weeks of judgment
    • unofficial with weekly advance sheets
    • arguments of counsel not included and judgments are not always quoted
    • coverage:
      • House of Lords, Privy Council, Court of Appeal Civil and Criminal divisions, all divisions of the High Court fully covered
      • Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Consistory Courts opinions are selectively included
    • digest of cases included in each volume
    • since 1982, includes companion volume, All England Law Reports Annual Review which includes articles by academic lawyers evaluating decisions of the court
    • references to Halsbury's Laws, Halsbury's Statutes, Halsbury's Statutory Instruments and The Digest
    •  Consolidated Tables and Index 1936-76
    • Tables and Index 1976+ annual
    • Advance sheets to the Tables and Index
    • tables include: Tables of Cases, and Cases judicially considered, statutes judicially considered, subject index, practice directions and notes, Words & Phrases Judicially Considered (Citator)
  • The Times [London] AP4 T44
    • Lockwood Library Newspaper Area and Silverman AV
    • newspaper
    • cases listed under "Law Reports"


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

  • selected cases chosen for their present day value to the legal profession
  • primarily cases referred to twice or more in All England Reports and Halsbury's Laws of England
  • also include cases reprinted from the Law Times Report
  • includes approx. 6,000 cases
  • index and table of cases
  • up-to-date headnotes and annotations included
  • Law Journal Reports KD288 A22
  • Old series (1822-1831)
  • New series (1832-1949)
  • incorporated with The All England Law Reports in 1949
  • Law Times Reports (L.T.) (1859-1947) KD288 A34
  • incorporated with The All England Law Reports in 1947 
  • Law Times, Old Series (L.T.O.S.) (1843-1860)
  • Ub Law Library does not own
  • old series of the Law Times Reports
  •  journal format
  • Times Law Reports (1884-1952) KD288 A5
  • digests available
  • superseded by Weekly Law Reports

LEXIS (law students only)

  • reported decisions from the Law Reports from 1865, Al England Law Reports Reprint cases from 1558 and over 2 dozen specialized reporters
  • unreported decision since 1980
  • Scottish cases since 1893
  • European Communities decisions since 1954

WESTLAW (law students only)

  • law reports from 1865
  • Lloyds Law Reports from 1919
  • Scots Law Times from 1893
  • Other specialized reporter with varying dates
  • European Reports from 1919 (includes European Union cases)

Encyclopedias & Finding Aids


  • The Digest, formerly English and Empire Digest 2nd Reissue (Green band) (1992+) KD296 E5 
    • digest of every reported case from early times to present
    • primarily English cases but includes some from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries, and European Union
    • subjects arranged alphabetically
    • cases numbered serially under each topic
    • references to Halsbury's Statutes and Halsbury's Laws
    • arrangement: 51 main volumes, Cumulative Supplement (annual), Consolidated Table of Cases, Index


  • Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. (Butterworths) (1973+) KD310 H34 
    • Encyclopedia of English law
    • Arranged by subject with references to statutes, statutory instruments and cases
    • Annual Cumulative Supplement is arranged by subject and paragraph number and contains tables of statutes and cases
    • Current Service - looseleaf contains Monthly Review, Noter-Up and key from 3rd and 4th editions to Current Service information
    • includes European Communities law
    • each volume has tables of cases and statutes and subject index
    • Consolidated Table of Cases, Consolidated Index
    • Consolidated Tables of Statutes, statutory instruments, European communities
    • N. Ireland and Scotland included
    • Annual Abridgement - survey of the year's case and statutory law, references to law journal articles
  • Words and Phrases Legally Defined, 3rd ed. KD 313 W67 1988 (Ref)
    • in cases, statutes and textbooks, primarily Halsbury's Laws of England
    • alphabetical arrangement of words and subjects
    • includes definitions from other Commonwealth countries and the United States


Note: Check standard dictionaries for variations in English and American spelling of words. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language 2nd ed. Rev. Unabridged ( Dictionary Stands PE 1625 R3 2005) is a good one to use.