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Law - UK law reports and cases: Citations and abbreviations

This guide aims to provide a brief introduction to the sources which can be used for tracing UK law reports and finding cases by name, subject etc.

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Online tutorials for Law databases

Online tutorials are available for both LexisLibrary and Westlaw, and there are videos available for HeinOnline.  Just click on the links below.

Case and law report citations and abbreviations

Citations to law reports and cases are almost always given in abbreviated form.  In order to understand what the abbreviations mean, you may need to consult one of the following:

Online:   Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations - see link on left

Print:     Raistrick, Donald.  Index to legal citations and abbreviations.  2nd ed.  Bowker Saur, 1993.
             Shelved on BJL 2nd floor at K 20 R1  (second copy kept at BJL Service Desk on the Ground Floor)

Case and law report citations

Most law report citations follow the same pattern, as in the example below:

Example:  Judd v Brown  [1998] 2 FLR 360

Judd v Brown [1998] 2 FLR 360
^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Parties involved Date of case Volume number Report series Page number


Neutral case citations - 2001 onwards

In 2001 (updated in 2002) a new method of case citation was introduced for most of the higher courts in England and Wales.

Example:  Avis v Turner  [2007] EWCA Civ 748

Avis v Turner [2007] EWCA Civ 327
^ ^ ^ ^
Case name Year of judgement Court abbreviation Case number

Often, the neutral citation will be followed by a reference to one or more law reports series.

Example: GW v RW  [2003] EWHC 611  [2003] 2 FCR 289