Navigating legal resources and research can be challenging. This page offers guidance on Case Law and Legislation resources.
Legal citations and abbreviations
Law reports are referred to using standardised citations (such as: Pepper v Hart  A.C. 593) which provide 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.
These resources can help:
In English law (England and Wales), there has been one official series of law reports since 1865, known as The Law Reports. This series comprises separate sequences for each court division - Appeal Cases (AC), Chancery (Ch.), Queen's Bench (QB) and Family (Fam.).
To find the Law Reports:
Case law reports resources
- Westlaw UK - full text UK cases are included from 1865 onwards, as well as summaries judicial history of cases - select Case Analysis feature.
- Lexis Library - full text of UK reported cases from 1865 and High Court unreported cases since 1980. CaseSearch feature provides background to cases. Use the Practice Areas tab for specific legal areas.
- Justis - 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.
- British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) - publishes 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.
- 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.
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 eg (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 Court of Justice judgments 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
We have law reports for selected non-UK jurisdictions, eg South African Law Reports, US Supreme Court Reports. Use Library Search to locate both print and online law reports.
United States state & federal case law & Commonwealth jurisdictions
The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies provides extensive worldwide law reports in print and online. Available to all LSE staff and postgraduate students.
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 and includes 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.
- Public General Acts, KD125 U51, 1st floor Main Collection
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. We have an extensive collection back to the early 19th century.
- Current Law Statutes Annotated KD135.C8 C97, 1st floor Main Collection. 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
- Use Lexis Library or Westlaw UK for the latest amendments to legislation.
- Halsbury's Statutes KD135.H3 G78, 1st floor Main Collection. This series is arranged by subject and contains acts currently in force and as amended. Acts no longer in force are omitted. Acts (or their equivalent) applying only to Scotland or Northern Ireland are not included.
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.
- Use Westlaw UK or Lexis Library for SIs still in force.
- 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, 1st floor Main Collection. It covers SIs currently, or shortly to be, in force. When full-text is not available, go to the annual volumes at KD166 U51, 1st floor Main Collection.
- Statutory Instruments KD166 U51, 1st floor Main Collection. We have all Statutory Instruments published since 1907 and covers each of the jurisdictions.
- Commonwealth - 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 - 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.
Since our foundation, we have collected material published by governments on a global basis.
Our collection is strongest in publications published by the British government and the United States Federal government.The key online resources for these materials are:
We have 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.