Guide to Finding English Cases (UK)
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,  1 A.C. 719 (P.C. 1915)(appeal taken from B.C.)
Donoghue v. Stevenson,  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  UKPC 1 (appeal taken from Eng.).
R. v. Pyrah  UKHL 47,  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.