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SMU Libraries

United Kingdom Law: 3. UK Cases

Guide to UK legal research resources on case law, legislation, secondary materials, websites and more.

Which Law Report do i cite?

In England there are many Law Reports and the same case can be cited in a number of Law reports. 

For example:

Farley v Skinner is cited in: [2001] 3 WLR 899, [2001] 3 EGLR 57, [2002] HLR 5, 79 Con LR 1, [2002] BLR 1, [2001] UKHL 49, [2001] 4 All ER 801.

Which is the best report?

There is a standing hierarchy as to the court's preferred citation.  "In England and Wales, there are no official law reports of any kind but the Law Reports series published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting are regarded as the most authoritative reports."  OSCOLA 4th ed.  at 17

1. Authoritative - The Law Reports

  • Appeals Cases (AC)
  • Chancery Division (Ch)
  • Family (Fam)
  • Queen's Bench (QB)

2. Weekly Law Reports (WLR) or All England Law Reports. (ALL ER)

3. Specialist series of Law Reports (For example: Lloyd's Law Reports, Industrial Cases Reports) are published commercially and used only if a case cannot be located in the above series.


See more here.


How do I find a UK case?


Given a case citation, example:

Farley v Skinner [2001] 4 All ER 801


Check Cardiff Index for the jurisdiction. 




The citation [2001] 4 All ER 801 tells you that it was published in the year 2001 in volume 4 of the journal All England Law Reports and the case starts on page 801.


As this is a UK case, use JustCite to determine the pertinent database. JustCite can be found in Lawnet.



JustCite can tell us which is the Database that we can use to find the case. It also tells us the legislative history, subsequent treatments and other useful information when researching.


Clicking on the All England Law Reports link shows the appropriate database to use.



Note: You cannot access these databases through the links and you will still have to visit the databases through the library website or Law Research Navigator.









Locating and English Case with JustCite

Understanding Case Law

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy