Note: The treatment covers materials post-1900.
Case finders include The Digest which is arranged by subject. It focuses on reported case law of England, but also covers a considerable body of cases from other countries in the Commonwealth and the EC. Use the index volumes to find the publisher’s topic. The topics in the main volumes are brought current in the annual Cumulative Supplement and the Quarterly Survey. If you have a case name, there is a consolidated Table of Cases issued every two years.
This is updated by the annual Cumulative Supplement. These will refer you to the volume of The Digest in which the summary of the case appears. At the end of the summary, a citation is given. Halsbury’s Laws of England is the encyclopedia and also includes reference to statutes.
Law Reports (1865-to-date) is the compilation of cases most often used and is considered semi-official. It is published in four parts reflecting the structure of the court system:
- Great Britain. Court of Criminal Appeal. Criminal appeal reports. London, Sweet and Maxwell, ltd. v. 1-49; May 15, 1908-1965.
- Great Britain. Court of Appeal. The criminal appeal reports. [London] Sweet & Maxwell.
- The Law reports. House of Lords and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and peerage cases. London, Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.
- The Law Reports. Queen’s Bench Division, and on appeal therefrom in the Court of Appeal, and decisions in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and Employment Appeal Tribunal. London, Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.
- The Law reports. Chancery Division, and on appeal therefrom in the Court of Appeal, and decisions in the Court of Protection. London, Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.
Law Reports includes summaries of counsel’s arguments. The advance sheet is called Weekly Law Reports.
The weekly law reports London : Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, 1953-
All England Law Reports is a commercial case reporter. Cases are often published faster in this set and some cases are never reported elsewhere.
The All England law reports… of cases decided in the House of Lords, the Privy Council, all divisions of the Supreme court, and courts of special jurisdiction. London, Butterworth. Feb. 1, 1936-
There are specialized subject reporters which have decisions which may not be published elsewhere.
- The Law reports. Chancery Division, Family Division. London : Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.
- The Law reports, Weekly law reports and Industrial cases reports. Consolidated index. London : Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales, c1980- 1971/1980-
- The Law reports, Weekly law reports, and Restrictive practices reports. Consolidated index. London : Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales, [1961?]-c1971. 1951/1960-1961/1970.
To check on the subsequent history of a case use the Current Law Case Citator kept up to date by the Table of Cases in its Monthly Digest.
Statutes are permanently identified by their original title and date of enactment. Statute finders include Halsbury’s Laws of England which is the subject-oriented encyclopedia. The compilation commonly used is Halsbury’s Statutes of England and Wales, an unofficial version which includes treatises and secondary legislation of the EC. This set is in subject arrangement and is annotated. It is updated by annual bound cumulative supplements, Current Statutes Service, and Noter-up Service.
The cumulative supplement shows the effect of new legislation and case law on statutes printed in the main volumes while the Current Statutes Service contains annotated versions of recently enacted statutes which have not yet been incorporated into the bound volumes. The Noter-up Service is issued three times per year and provides references to developments since the most recent annual supplement.
Halsbury’s Statutes includes an index/table of statutes volume which provides another avenue to locate where a particular statute may be found within the main set.
- Halsbury’s laws of England. 4th ed. [Editor in chief] Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone. London, Butterworths, 1973-
- Great Britain. [Laws, etc. (Halsbury’s statutes of England and Wales)] Halsbury’s statutes of England and Wales. 4th ed. London, : Butterworths, 1985-
Two other compilations are Public General Acts & Measures of [year] and The Law Reports Statutes. Public General Acts is an official set published annually with an alphabetical list, chronological list, and subject index. The Law Reports Statutes is an unofficial set not related to Public General Acts, although the Los Angeles County Law Library treats the former as an advance sheet to the latter.
Generally, Halsbury’s Statutes is more current than these other two but there’s always that annoying exception. Statutes can be updated by looking in Current Law Legislation Citator and its Monthly Digest which lists affected acts chronologically by year and chapter number giving citations to later statutes, regulations, and cases or by using Halsbury’s Statutes Annual Cumulative Supplement and its supplement, Halsbury’s Statutes Noter-up Service.
More cases interpreting a particular statute can be found in the All England Law Reports and Law Reports by using the statutes table found in the indexes.
- Great Britain. [Laws, etc. (Public general statutes)] Public general statutes, with a list of the local and private acts passed in the … London : G. E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode, [for] the Council of Law Reporting, 1866-
- Great Britain. [Laws, etc. (Public general statutes)] [Law Report Statutes] Public general statutes, with a list of the local and private acts passed in the … London, H. M. Stationery Office. Began in 1831.
- Is It in Force? is published annually.