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Law: Finding Cases

HOW IS CASE LAW REPORTED?

Watch brief films from the ICLR on how law reports are written and how important they are to the legal profession:

WHERE DO I FIND UK & EU CASE LAW?

Case law reports from the UK courts can be found in the 'Cases' sections of the legal databases:

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB

LEXISLIBRARY APPS

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On the Case 

Halsbury's Legal Terms

FINDING RECENT DECISIONS

WHERE DO I FIND THE MEANING OF LEGAL ABBREVIATIONS?

Go to the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations website.

You can search here in two ways:

  • by abbreviation to find the full law report title
  • by full title to find the preferred form of abbreviation


Treforest Library at CAT.2 REF 340.03 RAI.

Raistrick's Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations

WHERE DO I FIND LAW REPORTS IN PRINT?

In the Treforest Library printed law reports are available in CAT.5. 
Case law reports are arranged alphabetically by title.

HOW DO I FIND A CASE LAW REPORT IN THE LIBRARY?

If you have a full case citation e.g. R v Morrison [2003] 1 WLR 1859

  • Identify what WLR stands for
  • If you don't know use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations or Raistrick's to find out
  • Check the library catalogue to see if we subscribe in print, or
  • Go directly to CAT.5 where the law reports are arranged alphabetically by title
  • Look along the shelves until you see the series of reports you are looking for
  • Look for the year on the spine, then volume number, then the page number
  • Read the headnote, then read the whole case to understand the legal arguments

If you only have the party names e.g. DPP v Majewski

  • Use the Current Law Case Citator to identify the full citation
  • Go to the volume covering the year, if you have an idea about the year the case was reported, if not
  • Start with the earliest volume and go through each one systematically
  • Look up the party names in the Table of Cases to identify the full citation details
  • Proceed then as from bullet point 3 above

OTHER USEFUL PUBLICATIONS FOR FINDING CASE LAW

Halsbury's Laws of England

Available in print in the Treforest library and online in LexisLibrary in the 'Commentary' section.  Select it from the homescreen.

This is the only complete narrative statement of the law of England and Wales providing encyclopedic definitions of each point of law with footnotes to the most significant primary sources. It is an excellent source for detailed definitions to cite in coursework assignments and is designed to enable practitioners  to answer the full range of questions likely to arise in the course of practice.

The Digest: annotated British, Commonwealth & European Cases

Available in print in the Treforest library.

This provides in a summary form, the whole case law of England & Wales, together with a considerable body of cases from the courts of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. It also includes other countries of the Commonwealth plus cases dealing with EU Law.

It gives a concise statement of the effect of each case and enables the user to know where to look and what to expect to find when the report itself is examined in full. An essential case companion to Halsbury's Laws of England, following the same classification and arrangement, but providing the reader with further detail. It may also be described as a super-index to The Law Reports and is the only index to The Law Reports 1865-1950.