More detailed resources on legal history can be found in these research guides created by Harvard Law School Librarians:
These guides from other law schools may be helpful when identifying resources. Links may be restricted, but we may have Harvard access to the databases. Check Harvard E-Resources for access.
Early treatises can be an important source for discovering the law and early cases.
These comprehensive collections of online texts include treatises, pamphlets and primary legal materials.
Several historical databases include early case reporters and collections of laws:
Case citations from early works can be hard to decipher. Early collections of case decisions were cited by the name of the clerk who reported the cases, and citation formats were not standard.
Here are some tips for finding and interpreting early nominative and non-standard citations:
Digests are a useful tool for finding case citations organized by subject.
Accounts and documents for notable trials were sometimes published in books, newspapers or pamphlets. Others have been gathered into historical databases. Other trial documents can be found in libraries and archives.
Our Historical and Special Collections department has also digitized some significant and historically interesting trial records and accounts. Additional digital collections from HSC can be found on their web page.
British statutes are cited by regnal year and chapter. Regnal year refers to the year of a monarch's reign.
For example, 2 Hen. 5, c. 7 refers to the 7th act passed in the 2nd year of the reign of King Henry V which, according to the regnal year chart, was 1414.
Several historical databases include statutes and codes:
In addition to the databases listed under Statutes and Codes, the following sources can be useful for state and federal constitutional history.