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Subject LibGuides

Please note: This Subject LibGuide has been replaced by the new databases: A-Z / by subject pages, the new Library Search, and the search for things: A-Z page. Please update your bookmarks and hyperlinks as all Subject LibGuides will be removed in September 2020.

Law - UK law reports and cases: Finding specific cases (online)

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.

On this page

  • If you have the citation (reference)
  • If you have the names of the parties
  • Further information about the case
  • Very old (pre-1865), or very recent, cases

Quick Links

If you have the citation (reference)

1.  If necessary, use the Cardiff Index (link on the left) to find the full name of the court or the law reports series. 

Example: [2007] EWHC 3395 (QB); [2009] R.T.R. 1

The Cardiff Index clarifies that this case was heard in the England & Wales High Court, Queen's Bench Division, and was reported in Road traffic reports.

2.  If you have the title of the law reports series, search in the Library catalogue, or on LexisLibrary or Westlaw.

Example: Criminal appeal reports

Library catalogue - use a Title or Journal search - we have 1908 onwards in the BJL (but only in printed form);

LexisLibrary - choose Cases > Browse to get an A-Z list - in this case, LexisLibrary has the title Criminal appeal cases, which has very selective reports from 1987-2001 only;

Westlaw - choose Cases > Law Reports and Transcripts to get an A-Z list and click on the title - Westlaw has 1975 onwards

3.  If you have only the name of the court, search on LexisLibrary or Westlaw using the abbreviated citation.

Example: [2004] EWHC 1486 (Ch)

LexisLibrary - choose Cases and enter citation in the Citation box (no need to enter any punctuation) - the search will retrieve the official transcript and also any references to law reports series (in this case, Family court reports);

Westlaw - choose Cases and enter the citation in the Citation box - the search will retrieve the official transcript and also any references to law reports series (in this case, Family court reports and Family law reports).


If you have the names of the parties

1.  Access LexisLibrary (link on the left) and enter the parties in the Case Name boxes in the Quick Find section of the Home page.


2.  Access Westlaw (link on the left), click on Cases and enter the parties in the Party Names box.

Example: Cox v Jones (a 2004 case) - either of the above will find the official transcript as well as references to other law reports series.

OR - if you can't find the case in either LexisLibrary or Westlaw -

3.  Try one of the printed sources - see the next page in this Guide.

Further information about the case

1.  For details of the case history, cases referring to the case, and cases considered by the case:

  • In Lexis, choose the CaseSearch document from the results list.
  • In Westlaw, choose the Case Analysis link.

2.  For details of any journal articles which mention the case, you need to find the case on Westlaw and choose the Case Analysis link to display the analysis.  Look for the Journal Articles link (if there isn't one, then Westlaw has not indexed any articles which refer to the case).


Very old (pre-1865), or very recent, cases

1.  Many series of older law reports covering cases from the Middle Ages to around 1865 have been reprinted in the English reports.  This series is available via Westlaw, and also via the English Reports Library on HeinOnline.

2.  If a very recent case is not yet listed on Lexis or Westlaw, you could try one of the following sources:

  • BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute).  Use the Case Law Search, or follow the recent/new links on the left of the home page.
  • Casetrack *.  Use the Search for a Judgment option, or follow the Cases listed this week link.  Please note: you need to know in which court the case was heard.

* Username and password required - follow link for details of how to obtain