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United Kingdom

UK law, British law, Great Britain, English law

Finding Aids

A legal encyclopedia of British law is Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th edition (KD310.H34 1973). There is a subject index to the set and the topics are listed on the spines of each volume.  The articles give reference to cases, statutes, and statutory instruments that are relevant to the subject. To update the main volumes, first consult the "Annual Cumulative Supplement," which provides changes since the date of the main volume and the date of the supplement.  The next step is to go to the "Current Service," check first with the section called the Key, and locate the article you are updating.  This will tell you whether there have been any further updates in either the Noter-up or the Monthly Reviews, both of which are in the "Current Service."  When using either of these update tools, you will be using the volume number and paragraph number from the main volume.  Finally, the "Annual Abridgment" (KD310.H35) will give you other cases since 1973. Each volume for each year must be examined.

The Digest (KD296 .E5 1999 ), formerly known as The English and Empire Digest, is a digest of British case law.  The main volumes in this set were originally published from 1919 to 1932.  Those volumes have been replaced with the 2nd release, "Blue-band" volumes, noted by the blue band on the spine of the book.  The blue-band volumes have now replaced the "Green-band" volumes.

The entries are arranged alphabetically by topic like any other legal digest.  At the beginning of each subject is a reference to relevant statutory material and articles in Halsbury's Laws of England, followed by case digests.  Each case is given a number, the cases are numbered consecutively for that subject, and any citing cases are also listed with an indication of how the citing case treated the cited case.  In the back of each green-band volumes is an adaptor table which tells the number given a case in the green-band volume when the number you have is for a blue-band volume.

A two volume "Consolidated Table of Cases," which was prepared for the blue-band volumes, is also available.  These tables do not give cites to the cases but give you the subject and case number in the main digest volumes where the case may be found.  If the main volume with that subject has been issued in the green-band issue then you will have to find the volume that now contains that subject (which may be the same or may be different from the blue-band volume) and then use the adaptor table to determine the new number of your case.

There is also a "Consolidated Index" which was also issued with the blue-band set. To update The Digest you must use "Continuation Volumes," each of which covers approximately two or three years.

Words and Phrases Legally Defined (KD313.W67x 1988) is similar to our Words and Phrases.  The definition is given and the cite to the case or statute.  This volume is updated with annual supplements.

Sweet & Maxwell also publishes the monthly Current Law (KD296.C82), which is cumulated annually in Current Law Year Book.  The monthly issue includes digests of unreported cases, dates of commencement of statutes passed during that time, damage awards in personal injury or death cases for the year, a case citator, a statute citator, cases digested by topic, words and phrases, and law books published during the month.  When the monthly issues are cumulated annually, the case and statute citators are removed and put with previous editions of the citator in Current Law Statute Citator (KD296.C844) and Current Law Case Citator (KD296.C843).

Law Review articles can be located through Index to Legal Periodicals & Books and Legal Trac, available electronically at the Law Library), and the annual volumes of Current Law Year Book (KD296.C82).  Westlaw (available to Law School subscribers) also has the Legal Journals Index, containing abstracts of legal periodicals from the UK and other EU countries.

More UK legal information from the government is available at GOV.UK. is the Government Information Service Web site.  This site provides legal information aimed at the general public.

The Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations offers a free online decoding service for UK (and other) legal abbreviations.

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