Skip to Main Content

English Legal Research: Print Resources - UK Law

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2022 12:52 PM






  • 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?)


  • 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)



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.