Students discussing their studies sitting around a laptop


Our subject guide will help you find the best resources for your studies.

Maria Bell portrait


Maria Bell

Academic Support Librarian.

Find books and journals in the Library, search for articles online, learn about the best online resources and websites for your area and get help with using our resources and services.

Use the list of contents to skip to the relevant part of this guide.    

Case Law




Specialist resources

If you need any help you can get in touch with your librarian for advice or to arrange a consultation. You can find their details on the Academic Support Librarian web page. 


Case Law

Legal citations and abbreviations

All law reports are referred to using a standardised 'citation', for example, Pepper v Hart [1993] A.C. 593. which provides the party names, Pepper and Hart; the year in which the report was published, 1993; the law report series abbreviation, AC and page number,593.
To locate where this case has been 'reported', identify the abbreviation used.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

  • Use to identify the full title of the law report series or journal title required.
  • Coverage includes current and historical titles, UK and international materials.
  • An abbreviation can refer to multiple publications.
  • Check the titles that most closely match the topic or jurisdiction that you need.

Justis (LSE staff and students only: select Home institution) - this enables extensive UK case law research.

Law reports

The Law Reports - In English law (England and Wales), there has been one 'official' series of law reports since 1865, known as The Law Reports, published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting|. This series comprises separate sequences for each court division - Appeal Cases (AC), Chancery (Ch.), Queen's Bench (QB) and Family (Fam.).

Many law reports series are produced by commercial publishers such as Education Law Reports or Housing Law Reports.

  • Use Library Search to locate the series by title. Print and online holdings are shown.
  • Locate online or on the first floor in the Law books and Law reports section.

Westlaw UK

  • Full text UK cases are included from 1865 onwards, as well as summaries judicial history of cases - select Case Analysis feature. Includes full text of the official law reports for England and Wales, The Law Reports from 1865 onwards.

Lexis Library

  • Full text of United Kingdom reported cases from 1865 and High Court unreported cases since 1980.
  • CaseSearch feature provides background to cases.  Includes full text of the official law reports for England and Wales, The Law Reports from 1865 onwards.
  • Use the Practice Areas tab for specific legal areas, e.g. Employment, Tax, Commercial, Family.


  • Use as a starting point to search case law and legal citations with judicial histories and precedent maps.
  • Each citation provides a drop-down list of where to locate the full text.
  • Provides citations, case summaries, case / legislation history, and key articles.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) is a freely available website that publishes the full text of judgments (the official transcript) from the High Courts of the UK from 1997 onwards.

Croner i-Tax and Accounting- UK Tax Cases.


Please note that the majority of our online legal resources are available to current LSE staff and students only. External visitors and LSE alumni, should check before you visit you can access the resources required.

Pre-1865 law reports

Prior to 1865, cases were reported by individuals and these became known as the Nominate Reports.

English Reports, 1235 -1865 (ER), KD270 E51, first floor is a reprint of the Nominate Reports. They are not usually cited as 'English Reports' but by their original citation e.g. (1675) 1 Rolle 360.

All England Law Reports Reprint 1558-1936, KD288.A6 A42 - important older cases.

State Trials - HeinOnline World Trials Library contains a selection of English trials relating to offences against the State. A wide variety of cases is covered, predominantly high treason but also bigamy, sedition, murder, riot, piracy, witchcraft and corruption.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 - 1913 A fully searchable service containing over 190,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. 

European Union

EUR-Lex - the official portal to legal and judicial materials of the EU, updated daily. Since 2004, the contents of Celex (see below) is included.

Judgments of the European Court of Justice since 1952

CELEX via Justis (LSE staff and students only) - archive of legal and judicial materials. European Court of Justice judgments since 1952. Content should now be on EUR-Lex.

Lexis Library -  select Cases, then International Cases

Westlaw UK - select EU

International and national jurisdictions

Public International Law  is a single source for all international law jurisprudence from international courts, tribunal and domestic courts as well as key reference works.

International Law Reports (Justis) - complete series since 1919

European Court of Human Rights - search for judgments, decisions and opinions since 1956. 

International Court of Justice website provides all judgments and opinions since 1946.

International Criminal Court

Westlaw UK - Select Westlaw International and International/Multinational materials for ICJ ECHR and the International Court of Justice.

National jurisdictions The Library holds law reports for selected non - UK jurisdictions, e.g. South African Law Reports, US Supreme Court Reports.

European jurisdictions

Lexis Library Select Sources to locate sources by country.

United States state & federal case law & Commonwealth jurisdictions

Lexis Library and Westlaw UK

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies provides extensive worldwide law reports in print and online. Available to all LSE staff and postgraduate students. 


UK legislation


Consider what you need - the original Act or an updated and amended version? Most print materials will not reflect amendments except for Halsbury's Statutes.

Legislation as originally enacted

Justis UK Statutes contains the full text of all Acts of Parliament in England, Wales and Scotland as enacted, from 1235 to the present day so it will include repealed legislation. Links to amended and amending legislation allow you to trace the development of the law.

Acts of the UK Parliament and Explanatory Notes or BAILII The full text of UK Public General Acts from 1988 as originally enacted is available from the National Archives with selected earlier acts back to 1837. Do check the information pages on this website when using it to look for amendments to legislation.

Public General Acts , KD125 U51, first floor

The official series of statutes are published by the Stationery Office, in annual volumes in number order (each Act is assigned a 'chapter' number). These are the Acts in their original form, and not amended. This series is largely of historical interest, however this is regarded as the official and definitive text of an act. The Library holds an extensive collection back to the early 19th century.

Current Law Statutes Annotated KD135.C8 C97, first floor

This series reproduces the original Act without amendments, repeals, etc. It is useful to trace the background to and parliamentary history of an Act, as references to white papers, Standing Committee reports, Hansard debates, etc are included in footnotes. This publication is arranged chronologically.

Current status of legislation

Halsbury's Statutes KD135.H3 G78, first floor

This series is arranged by subject and contains acts currently in force and as amended. Acts no longer in force are omitted. There is a subject index, an index of titles of Acts, an annual updating supplement and monthly updates. Acts (or their equivalent) applying only to Scotland or Northern Ireland are not included.

Statutory instruments

Statutory instruments (SIs) are largely made by government ministers and agencies under powers granted to them by Parliament under specific Acts. They deal with administrative matters. Each SI is assigned a running number with the numbering starting afresh each year. For example: 1996/1245 refers to SI 1245 of 1996.

Justis UK Statutory Instruments from 1949 and legislation published in Statutory Rules & Orders and Statutory Instruments Revised to December 31, 1948, which includes regulations dating back as far as 1671. The archive contains repealed legislation.

UK Statutory instruments and explanatory notes from 1987 onwards provided by the National Archives (as with Acts these are not revised).  

Halsbury's Statutory Instruments KD173.H3 G78, first floor

Arranged by subject and has an annual supplement and monthly updating service. It covers SIs currently, or shortly to be, in force. It is selective and does not reproduce the full text of all SIs. However, for these you can turn to the annual volumes at KD166 U51 or online.

Statutory Instruments KD166 U51, first floor

The Library holds all Statutory Instruments published since 1907 and covers each of the jurisdictions. The bound volumes are received at the end of each year. 

Textbooks and reference works in the Main Collection (1st floor) and Course Collection (1st floor) contain collections of legislation relating to specific legal topics.

Other jurisdictions

Commonwealth jurisdictions -  use Lexis Library for substantial coverage of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and selected coverage for Asian and African countries. Westlaw UK has coverage of Australia and Canada.

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

European jurisdictions - selected country coverage in Lexis Library - select Sources.

France - the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies has Lexis Nexis Juris Classeur online, a comprehensive collection of databases pertaining to the law of France.

Germany - the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies holds Beck Online, the comprehensive database for German law.

United States - use Westlaw UK or Lexis Library for access to federal and state legislation.  

FLAG Foreign Law guide - Locate UK research Library holdings of foreign law materials.

Foreign law research -  provides research guides for foreign jurisdictions

Official publications

Official publications contain a range of information. Since its foundation, the Library has collected material published by governments on a global basis. This information comes in a variety of forms such as reports of working parties, departmental publications and parliamentary papers.

Government documents

The Library is strongest in publications published by the British government and the United States Federal government.The key online resources for these materials are:

Intergovernmental organisations

The Library holds specialist status as a European Documentation Centre and as a United Nations depository.

For documents relating to the above collections you will need to use specialist resources such as Europa and AccessUN

There is a large collection of materials published by IGOs held in the Library.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) also holds extensive worldwide primary materials in print. LSE staff and postgraduates have full access to the IALS.


Finding books

  • Use Library Search to search across our collections of books, journals and online resources.
  • Use our specialist resources for legal research such as Westlaw UK and Lexis Library to find case law and legislation.


Access ebooks with your LSE username and password.

Major Law collections include:

Print collections

  • Course Collection (1st floor)   - copies of essential course texts and current editions of legal textbooks.
  • 1st floor - law books and law reports (shelved by jurisdiction followed by subject) and law journals shelved alphabetically.
  • English Law   (classmarks beginning KD) - statutes, statutory instruments, general law reports and digests are at the start of the KD sequence in that order.

Companies, Bankruptcy, Regulation, Monopolies

KD2040 to KD2220
Comparative law K540 to K5570
Conflict of laws K7051 to K7690
Courts, procedure, evidence (UK) KD6850 to KD7640
Criminal law/procedure (UK) KD7850 to KD8464
European comparative law KJC
European human rights KJC
EC law KJE
International law & International Relations JX/JZ/KZ
Jurisprudence K237 to K487
Labour law (UK) KD3001 to KD3177
Law Reports (UK, general) KD190 to KD300
Law of the United Kingdom KD125 to KD8464
Law of war JX4505 to JX5397
Revenue/Taxation (UK) KD5320 to KD5694
Treaties JX120 to JX1195
UK legislation KD125 to KD180
United Nations JX 1976-7
United States KF


Finding journal articles

Most of the time you should be able to find and access the articles you need through Library Search. However, we also provide access to powerful databases that can help you discover articles that are not available through Library Search, or even search engines like Google.

When we don't provide access to the full text of the articles you need you can request them through Interlending services

To research articles on legal topics

  • Search Library Search with your subject key words for journal article content.
  • Search Westlaw UKLexis Library or Hein Online separately for more in depth legal journal content.

There is extensive full text coverage of current law journals via Westlaw UK (select Services then Westlaw International for non-UK materials) and Lexis Library (select Sources for separate jurisdictions).

  • Hein Online (US law journal archives and more), and JSTOR major social science journals archive) include large backsets of many titles.

Law journal indexes

Use these services to research across a wide range of legal publishers and journal content.

Legal Journals Index (1986- ) via Westlaw UK: Content and coverage:  Abstracts and references to legal journal articles published in UK publications since 1986. Links to full text articles where available.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals via Hein Online: Content: Abstracts and references to non-US and non-UK articles published in legal journals with extensive coverage of foreign language material since 1981.

Criminal Justice Abstracts: Content and coverage: Criminology & related areas - abstracts and references to journal articles, book reviews and book chapters since 1987. Links to full text articles where available. 

Key social science journal indexes

For broad coverage on the whole range of social science topics use:

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS)

  • Content: Broad range of social science topics, particularly strong on Anthropology, Economics, Politics & Sociology. Abstracts and references to journal articles, book reviews and chapters from edited books.
  • Date range: 1951-
  • Updates: Weekly

ISI Citation Indexes via the Web Of Science

  • Coverage: Abstracts and references to journal articles and book reviews
  • Date range: 1956-
  • Updates: Weekly
  • Features:
  • Enables citation searching in addition to searching by keyword
  • Set up citation alerts to inform you of new entries citing your key papers


  • Content: Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database containing both peer-reviewed research literature and quality web sources. With over 20,500 titles from more than 5,000 publishers in the scientific, technical, medical and social sciences fields as well as in the arts and humanities, it is useful for legal research topics.
  • Date range: 1823-
  • Updates: Daily  

Please note that the majority our online legal resources are available to current LSE staff and students only. If you are not a member of LSE, please check before you visit that you can access the resources that you require. 

Specialist resources

Lexis Library and  Westlaw UK

In short, both contain UK case law and legislation, United States case law and legislation, state and federal, EU case law and legislation, and extensive full text United States law reviews. Journal content will differ between the two.

  • To use the international content of Westlaw, select Services then Westlaw International.
  • To use the international content of Lexis Library, use the Sources tab to locate relevant files to search.

United Kingdom

  • Justis  summaries of UK case law and details of case histories
  • Lexis Library - UK case law from 1865 onwards
  • Westlaw UK - UK case law from 1235 onwards 

European Union

  • EUR-Lex - the official EU portal to all legal materials
  • European Sources Online (ESO) - a useful research tool for tracing EU policy information
  • Lexis Library - EU legislation and case law
  • Westlaw UK  - EU legislation and case law
  • Celex - archive of all EU law since 1952. This is also covered by EUR-Lex.
  • European Documentation Centre at LSE. Use Library Search to find EU official publications. 

Other jurisdictions

  • Lexis Library - select Sources tab and country from the drop down list
  • Westlaw UK - select Services, Westlaw International for US content
  • Hein Online - full text US law journals, legal classics, English Reports, international journals and yearbooks

International Law resources



Please note that the majority of our online legal resources are available to current LSE staff and students only. All external visitors and LSE alumni should check before their visit that access to the resources required is possible.