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Foreign Law (Laws of Other Countries)

This guide will help users navigate the domestic laws of a foreign country. For help with treaties or international case law, please use the International Law guide

UK Law Databases

Guide to Finding UK Cases

This guide focuses on locating English Cases using resources in the Legal Research Center. For this guide we will use example citations from The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed.) (2005) Table 2: Foreign Jurisdictions: United Kingdom.

Some Notes to Remember about the English Courts System:

The English courts system is a precedent-based common law system not much different from the U.S. system. In England, civil actions are tried by the County Courts and appealed to the High Court (Includes Queen's Bench, Chancery, and Family Divisions). Criminal cases are handled by the Crown Court. The House of Lords is the supreme court of appeal for civil cases in the UK and criminal cases outside of Scotland.

An English Case citation in Bluebook form may look like any of these:

Rule Citation Format Example Citation
Table 2 For cases prior to 1865 Millar v. Taylor (1769) 98 Eng Rep 201, 242 (K.B.)
Table 2

For cases after 1865 contained in Law Reports

Cases after 1865 should be cited from the official Law Reports, which consist of the Appeal Courts (A.C.), Queen's Bench (Q.B.), Chancery (Ch.), Family (Fam.) and Probate (P.) Reports. Other reporters should only be used if a case has not been reported in the Law Reports.




British Columbia Elec. Ry. v. Loach, [1916] 1 A.C. 719 (P.C. 1915)(appeal taken from B.C.)


Donoghue v. Stevenson, [1932] A.C. 562 (H.L.) (appeal taken from Scot.) (UK)

Table 2 Judgments after 2001

All judgments after 2001 have a medium neutral citation. Cases that are also reported in the official Law Reports should first list the medium neutral citation and then the citation of the official reporter




Archbold v. Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [2004] UKPC 1 (appeal taken from Eng.).


R. v. Pyrah [2002] UKHL 47, [2003] 1 A.C. 903 (appeal taken from Eng.)(U.K.).

Where can I find English Cases in print?

The English Reports: Full Reprint (1220-1865)

Until 1865 there was no sanctioned reporter for English cases. Several commercial reporters published their own series which varied greatly. Available electronically through HeinOnline.

The Law Reports. House of Lords, and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and peerage cases (1865-date) [LRC Reading Room KD275.4 .L3]

The Law Reports, which started in 1865, contains decisions of the English superior courts in four series: Appeal Cases, Chancery Division, Queen's or Kings Bench Division, and Family Division. Law Reportsare available electronically on Lexis and Westlaw.

All England Law Reports (1936-date) [LRC Reading Room KD288 .A6]

Unofficial reporter series other than the Law Reports were still published after 1865, including Law Journal Reports (1822-1949), Times Law Reports (1884-1952 LRC Lower Level Microforms KD288 .A5), and Law Times Reports (1843-1859). Currently, only one set, All England Law Reports, is still published. This set incorporates the Law Journal Reports and the Law Times Reports.

Where can I find English Cases online?

HeinOnline, English Reports (1220-1867)

House of Lords Cases (1996-2009)

Supreme Court (pending and decided cases)

British and Irish Legal Information Institute

English and Welsh case law. Most of the databases contain predominantly recent material, but the coverage varies and both old and new content is being added on an ongoing basis.

Westlaw (HTML only)

  • Case Law Locator (UK-CASELOC). Reported and unreported U.K. and E.U. cases; in addition, it checks direct and indirect history. Coverage begins with 1865.
  • All Reports (UK-RPTS-ALL): U.K. court decisions from the Law Reports series published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales. Coverage begins with 1865.

LexisNexis (HTML only)

  • England and Wales Reported and Unreported Cases: This file contains the full text of over 200,000 reported and unreported cases from England and Wales. Coverage includes decisions from over 30 series of law reports including the principal series: All England Law Reports Reprints from 1558, the ICLR Law Reports from 1865, All England Law Reports from 1936 and Lloyd's Law Reports Reports from 1919. Coverage includes: Reported cases from 1558; Tax cases from 1875; Unreported cases from 1980.

Guide to Finding UK Statutes

This guide focuses on locating English Statutes using resources in the Legal Research Center. For this guide we will use example citations from The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed.) (2005)
Table 2: Foreign Jurisdictions: United Kingdom.

Some Notes to Remember about English Statutes:

In England (UK) there is no counterpart to the United States Code in which statutes in force are assigned title and section. Instead, statutes are identified by their original title and date of enactment. Also note that there is no "official" codification of English Statutes. There are, however, unofficial publications that organize by subject the statutes currently in force. The most popular of these is Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales (Butterworths).

An English Statute citation in Bluebook form may look like any of these:

Table 2 For statutes prior to 1963 Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1925, 15 & 16 Geo. 5, c. 49, § 226, sched. 6 (Eng.).
Table 2 For statutes enacted since 1963 Airports Authority Act, 1965, c. 16 (Eng.).
Table 2 If the name does not include the date or year, give the year parenthetically at the end of the citation. Hypnotism Act, 15 & 16 Geo.6 & 1 Eliz. 2, c.44, § 117 (1952) (Eng.).

Where can I find English Statutes in print?

Halsbury's laws of England [LRC Reading Room KD310 . H195]

Today, the most frequently used source of the English statutes is Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales (Butterworths), an unofficial compilation of the statutes in force, including treaties and secondary legislation of the EU. The statutes are arranged in 143 alphabetical titles representing broad subject categories, with annotations following each section.

Statutes in Force [San Diego County Law Library KD132 .S84]

Three editions of the Statutes Revised were published between 1870 and 1950, reprinting all Public Acts in force at the date of publication. They have been replaced by Statutes in Force: Official Revised Edition which began in 1972. Statutes in Force contains all statutes in force from 1235, in subject order along with their amendments. Statutes in Force has not been updated since 1992, and while it should not be used to look for current statutes, it is still useful for historical research.

Where can I find English Statutes online?

The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)

  • All UK Parliament Public General Acts from 1988 onwards in HTML and PDF
  • Some UK Parliament Public General Acts from 1837 in PDF where available

The Statute Law Database (SLD) (HTML only)

  • Contains the official revised versions of the primary legislation of the UK that was in force on February 1, 1991, and all Acts passed since then.

Westlaw (HTML only)

  • Public General Acts Currently in Force (UK-ST). Contains Sweet & Maxwell's Statutes in Force. Includes statutes currently in effect in the UK as well as rules of the Supreme Court and county court rules. Coverage begins with 1267.
  • United Kingdom Legislation Locator (UK-LEGISLOC). A comprehensive guide to current, historical, and future versions of U.K. statutes and statutory instruments, along with corresponding references to citing case law and secondary sources. Locator coverage for the statutes begins in 1267 and for the statutory instruments begins in 1948.

LexisNexis (HTML only)

  • Statutes of England & Wales (ENGGEN; STAT). Contains Butterworths Statutes of England and Wales. This file contains the full, amended text of all public general Acts that are currently in force. Coverage begins with 1267.

UK Law Research Guides

British Law in the Library

Materials will be located in B2 North (map), with call numbers beginning as follows:

KD : England and Wales

KDC : Scotland

KDE : Northern Ireland