Home > Library > Collections > Subject Guides > Law > Primary sources - case law
Your Academic Support Librarian 

Maria Bell|

Telephone: 0207 955 7242

Email: m.bell@lse.ac.uk|


Primary sources - 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.

JustCite |(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. Both 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 oficial transcript) from the High Courts of the UK from 1997 onwards.

British Tax Library| online - the British Tax Cases  from 1875.

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 TrialsHeinOnline| 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.