The print collection of UK law is in the Reading Room on the north end.
|Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland
|Law of England and Wales
|Local Laws of England
|Local Laws of Wales
|Law of Wales
|Law of Scotland
|Law of Northern Ireland
Unlike United States jurisdictions, the United Kingdom does not codify their statutes into subject-arranged publications. Statutes are individually amended and retain their original title and date. Statute sources below have tools to trace historical versions and to determine if subsequent amendments exist.
The relationship between European Union legislation and UK legislation may be changing. See this useful explanation of EU Legislation and UK legislation, before and after Brexit.
English statutes enacted before 1963 are cited by regnal year and chronological order of passage.
2 Hen 5, c. 7
regnal year, monarch, regnal number, chapter
The regnal year is the year within a given monarch's reign. Regnal years begin on the date of ascension to the throne; they do not correspond to calendar years. 2 Hen 5, c. 7 refers to the 7th Act passed in the 2nd year of the reign of Henry V . The 2nd year of Henry V's reign ran from March 21, 1414 to March 20, 1414
If your citation provides a calendar year, be aware that there can be differences between the legal year and the calendar year during historical periods. Before the 14th century, the legal year began on December 25 (Christmas). Between the 14th century and 1751, the legal year began on March 25. More information about British dates can be found on the Wikipedia page on the Calendar Act of 1750
Most statutes from the 1800s are included in current online sources. HLS Library also holds print-format serials of UK Statutes that cover through 1870.
Confusingly, the title Statutes at Large can refer to any of several compilations of statutes from 1235-early 1800s published during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some Statutes at Large compilations cover a longer range of years and include statutes that do not appear in Statutes of the Realm. The most cited versions are digitized and available in Harvard-subscribed databases. Note that HLS Library holds several of these in print format. For help locating a particular version, please see a reference librarian.
For a catalog of the published versions of the English Session Laws between 1640-1702, see Matthew Seccombe, English Session Laws, 1640-1702: A Short-Title Catalogue of Serially Published English Statutes from the Sixteenth Year of Charles I thorugh the Fourteenth Year of William III, Including the Interregnum.
Command papers are government documents presented to Parliament. Individual papers address policy initiatives, reports of official inquiries or Royal Commissions, and treaties and international agreements.
They are issued in series, noted by letter prefixes.
In HOLLIS, many Command Papers are individually cataloged by title, but each series is entered as a journal. See this HOLLIS search for the various series with details below.
Years of Publication
1 - 4220
1833 - 1869
C 1 - C 9550
1870 - 1899
Cd 1 - Cd 9239
1900 - 1918
Cmd 1 - Cmd 9889
1919 - 1956
Cmnd 1 - Cmnd 9927
1956 - Nov. 1986
Cm 1 - Cm
Nov. 1986 - present
The ICLR provides the Official Law Reports. Lexis+ (the US Lexis) provides the All England Law Reports. And Westlaw has the Weekly Law Reports. Confusingly, the All England Law Reports are listed as available within Westlaw UK but due to licensing restrictions this content is not available to subscribers outside of the UK.
The Bluebook Table 2 Foreign Jurisdictions has helpful information for UK Cases.
Chat with us! Chat with a librarian (HLS only)
Contact Historical & Special Collections at email@example.com
Meet with Us Schedule an online consult with a Librarian
Hours Library Hours