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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 reports and neutral citations

Law report citations are linked to a published series of law reports. When several law reports exist for a case, exist the most authoritative: the Law Report series (published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting)


A law report citation consists of the following:

  • the year (in round) or [square brackets]
  • abbreviation of the law report series
  • volume number
  • first page number

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

If you have noted the name of the case in your text, you do not need to repeat the name in the citation. e.g. [1994] 2 AC 238


Cases since 2001 have a neutral citation which is not linked to a law report series and consists of:

  • the year of judgment [in square brackets]
  • judgment number
  • abbreviation of the court
  • division (if applicable)

e.g. R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 26. OR  [2007] UKHL 26 if the name of the case has been mentioned in your text.


It is good practice to cite both neutral citation and law report citation if available.

  • Pre-2001 law report citation exampleAttorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd [1994] 2 AC 238 (HL).
  • Neutral citation example: R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 26.
  • Combined neutral and law report citation exampleR (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 26, [2008] 1 AC 153.


"When citing cases, give the name of the case, the neutral citation (if appropriate), and volume and first page of the relevant law report, and where necessary the court. If the name of the case is given in the text, it is not necessary to repeat it in the footnote" OSCOLA, 4th edition, page 3