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Maria Bell|

Telephone: 0207 955 7242

Email: m.bell@lse.ac.uk|


Primary sources - legislation

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Legislation as originally enacted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of all Acts of Parliament in England, Wales and Scotland as enacted, from 1235 to the present day so it will include repealed legislation.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Acts of the UK Parliament and Explanatory Notes| or BAILII| The full text of UK Public General Acts from 1988 as originally enacted is available from the National Archives with selected earlier acts back to 1837.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 Acts no longer in force are omitted.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 (first floor) and Course Collection (ground 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. 

More information on our government collections.  |

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.