Skip to Main Content

Law: Finding UK Cases

How to find law reports, journal articles and other sources of legal information

Finding UK Cases

Most UK law reports are available online from either Westlaw UK or the Lexis Library. Westlaw UK provides the best starting point for England and Wales cases.

Further reading

Law Reports and Judgments

Law reports publish judgments made in cases which raise significant legal issues. The full text of a judgment is published along with a summary of the legal issues and a list of cases referred to in the main text.

Law reports are available both online and in print. A single case can be reported in a number of different reports. The Law Reports, the All England Law Reports and the Weekly Law Reports are the most widely quoted law reports.

If a case is relatively recent, the full text of the judgment is also likely to be online from free internet sources (use the BAILII Case Law Search to find these).

To find a law report or judgment, it helps to understand how they are cited. 

Law Report and Judgment Citations

Law Report Citation

Attorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd [1994] 2 AC 238 (HL).

Citation consists of the names of the parties, followed by:

  • Year of print publication - [1994]
  • Bound Volume number - volume 1 for 1994
  • Abbreviation for the law report - AC for Law Reports. Appeals Cases
  • Page number - 153 (first page of the report)
  • Abbreviation for the court (HL)

An abbreviation for the court is not added using OSCOLA citation where a full judgment citation is also given (as below).

Standard Judgment Citation ('neutral citation')

R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 26.

Citation consists of the parties followed by:

  • Year judgment made - [2007]
  • UK Court - UKHL for House of Lords
  • Case number for the year - 26

Where a case has also been reported in one of the published law report series, recommended practice is to give both a judgment citation (where available) and a law report citation, e.g.

R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 26, [2008] 1 AC 153.