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by David Wills, Squire Law Librarian

The English Law collection is located on Floor One of the Squire Law Library. The collection is extensive and the majority is available on open access. The material has been assembled over many years based around the interests of the Law Faculty and it's students and, in recent years, the collection has benefited greatly from the receipt of books and periodicals through the legal deposit system via the main University Library. With some notable exceptions, the library follows a policy of not acquiring practitioner material but instead concentrates on providing the necessary tools for academic teaching and research.

The layout of the material is in the order of Official Publications, Statutory material, Law Reports, Journals and Books. The collection as a whole is classified under the class-mark heading J, although some material, the Law Reports and Periodicals, have, for convenience, been extracted from the classification scheme and arranged in an alphabetical sequence. The electronic availability of many English law sources strengthens and compliments the printed resources found at the shelves and therefore the hybrid of the two formats should be viewed as a combined collection. The electronic resources for English Law are accessible by clicking here.

Official Publications

The English Law section begins in stacks 5 and 6 with a range of Government publications including a selection of Command Papers, Government departmental reports, all current Bills before Parliament and Law Commission Consultation Papers and Reports. A more complete set of all UK Government Official Publications, including House of Commons and House of Lords Papers, can be accessed from the University Library in the Official Publications Room. Hansard debates from 1988/89 are also available electronically. The Stationery Office also has an official document website.

Statutory Material

Statutory material can be found in book stacks 6 and 7 beginning with the legal encyclopaedia, Halsbury's Laws of England at J.c.4/4 (also available electronically at Lexis Library.

Collections of legislation, such as A J Robertson, The Laws of the Kings of England from Edmund to Henry I. Cambridge University Press, 1925 (J.dc.4.005) provide reference to the earliest laws of England. However the earliest authoritative source of legislation are the Statutes of the Realm, 1235-1713 (located separately at J.dd.4/1 in the Maitland Legal History Room) and the Statutes at Large containing statutes from Magna Carta (1215) onwards (J.c.42/2-3).

The more modern statutory material include the Law Reports: Statutes (J.c.42/2) printed by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, and the Public General Acts and Measures (J.c.42/3), published by the Stationery Office, together with the Local and Personal Acts for the years 1968 to date (J.c.42/5). These publications provide the text of an Act as it was at the time of their original publication, whereas the annotated series, Halsbury's Statutes of England (J.c.47/2), refers to corrected and amended legislation that is "in force" for England and Wales. Recent Public General Acts and Local and Personal Acts can also be found electronically in full text at HMSO.

Lexis Library enables legislation for England and Wales to be accessed in the full, amended and annotated versions.

Secondary legislation can be found in the form of Statutory Instruments published by the Stationary Office at J.c.45/1 together with the Halsbury's Statutory Instruments (J.c.48/1) which provide a classification of all instruments that are in force, as well as giving the text of a selection of rules, orders and regulations.


Following the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly of Wales is able to debate and approve secondary legislation concerning Wales. These statutory instruments can be located electronically from HMSO.

Law Reports

The main sequence of law reports are located in stacks 8 to 14. The Squire holds an extensive range of case law series that are both historical and current in nature.

The Year Books, representing the very early law reports from the reign of Edward I onwards (1272-1535), are located at J.dd.4/2 in the Maitland Legal History Room (MLHR), with a copy of the Selden Society reprinted versions on the open shelves at J.dd.5/2. The library also holds the Nominate Reports published from 1571 by various individual reporters. These are kept in the MLHR between J.c.52/A and J.c.53/W.

The main Law Reports section in the English Collection begins in stack 8 with the Revised Reports (abbreviated to R.R) at J.c54/1 and the English Reports (E.R) at J.c.54/2. This sequence leads into multiple sets of the official Law Reports published from 1865 by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting and issued in four series: Appeal Cases (AC), Chancery Division (Ch), Queen's Bench Division (QB) and Family Division (Fam). The remaining law reports are organised alphabetically commencing with the All England Law Reports (AllER) and ending with the Weekly Law Reports (WLR). Some notable and historical inclusions in the sequence, that help to illustrate the depth of the Squire's collection, are:
Central Criminal Court Session Papers Cox's Reports of Criminal Law Howell's State Trials Law Journal Reports Law Times Reports Reports of Commercial Cases (often abbreviated to Com.Cas)

A number of electronic services are available which provide references to, and the full text versions of, many court judgements.

In addition the printed citators are also useful for tracing references to cases and these publications include Current Law Monthly Digest, together with the annual Current Law Year Book (J.c.21/1), and the Digest (J.c.57/7), both located in the Reference Area.

Law Journals

The Squire maintains a strong collection of law journals and reviews. These are arranged in alphabetical order and located in Book stacks 14 to 18. The list of serials includes such key titles as the New Law Journal, Justice of the Peace, Modern Law Review, Law Quarterly Review, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and the Cambridge Law Journal. A near complete range of specialised journals are kept including Criminal Law Review, Family Law and Lloyds Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly, to name but a few.

A number of reference tools, which help with finding journal articles, are available both online and in print such as the Legal Journals Index (1986-1999) (CR.24/H), Current Law (J.c.24/1; Reference Area) and the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (CR.24.H/1; Stack 1).

Books and Loose-leaf Publications

General reference works including English dictionaries and English legal dictionaries, such Words and Phrases Legally Defined and Stroud's Judical Dictionary are located in the Reference Area of the library on floor One. The textbook, monograph and loose-leaf materials concerning all aspects of English Law are located in classification order between J.c.22 and J.u.9 in book stacks 18 to 22. The collection also contains important encyclopaedias such as Court Forms (J.c.93.A) and The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (J.c.93.E), key legal volumes like Civil Procedure, known as the "White Book" (J.f.49.S) as well as a full range of treatises and textbooks on all aspects of the law. Within the collection there are a number of loose-leaf series, examples of which are Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law, Hill & Redman's Law of Landlord and Tenent and Palmer's Company Law.

Classification for English Law

J.c  English law - general works
J.e  English legal system
J.f   Administration of Justice
J.g  Public law; Constitutional law
J.h  Administrative Law
J.k  Taxation
J.m  Criminal Law Criminal procedure
J.nt  Evidence
J.p  Industrial/Employment law
J.q  Private law
J.qg  Family law
J.qh  Equity; Trusts
J.qj  Property
J.qk Real property; land law
J.ql  Landlord and Tenant
J.qp Succession
J.qq Law of Obligations
J.qs Contract
J.qt  Restitution
J.qu Tort
J.s  Commercial law Company law  Sale of goods  Insurance  Carriage Shipping law
J.sp  Banking law  Intellectual property
J.u   Conflict of laws