Cases are the decisions of the law courts and known as judge-made law. More than 200,000 cases are heard at law courts in England and Wales every year and law reports are the published decisions of less than 2% of these cases. Other cases may be transcribed but remain unreported and the rest are not recorded at all. Publishers offer competing series such as the All England Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports and many specialist series. Reports are published in hardback, some with paper supplements during the year and many are available electronically in legal databases such as LexisLibrary and Westlaw.
If you are searching for a specific law reports series, start with the Library catalogue. This will tell you if it is available in printed format in the Library, or online via LexisLibrary. Unfortunately, we aren't able to put direct links to Westlaw in the Library catalogue, so you will need to access Westlaw itself to find out if it has the particular series you are interested in.
The main (printed) law collection is located on the second floor of the Brynmor Jones Library. Some items, however, are kept in the 24 hour Loan Collection. The Library catalogue will tell you the actual location.
This Guide aims to provide a brief introduction to sources which can be used to trace cases by name, subject, etc. It does not pretend to be comprehensive.
Here is a summary of the purpose of each page:
Citations and abbreviations - if you have a reference to a specific case and you don't know what the abbreviations mean.
Finding specific cases (online) - details of online resources to help find a report of a specific case, plus other information such as case history, citations to the case and journal articles about the case.
Finding specific cases (printed sources) - details of printed resources to help find a report of a specific case, as well as case history, citations to the case and journal articles about the case.
Finding cases by subject - resources to use to find cases on a specific topic or which cite a specific piece of legislation.