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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

The Law Reports (LR)

In 1865, the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting began to produce a semiofficial series of reports called The Law Reports, and the nominate reports came to an end. There was a series in the LR for each court in the English System which existed in 1865. The Judicature Act of 1873 reduced the number of courts to six with a corresponding drop in the number of LR series. A further reduction in 1881 brought the number to four.

The components of the Law Reports series have varied since 1865 as a result of the court changes (see the list appended below). Currently, the LRs consist of: Appeal Cases, Queen's Bench, Chancery, and Family Division (these last two series are published in the same paper parts but are later bound separately).

Extra services have also been added over the years. There is a series of Digests which contain summaries of all cases reported in the Law Reports from 1865 to 1950. Each case is cited with parallel citations. There are indexes of the cases by name and tables of statutes and cases that were considered in any of the decisions reported between 1865 and 1950 in the Law Reports.

Since 1951 the Digest has been replaced by the Law Reports Index. This index is published every ten years. A separate cumulative index is issued every year which covers from the cut-off point of the last ten year Index up to the end of last year. Each index contains a list of cases reported in the Law Reports with parallel citations included. There is an index of cases by subject matter, and there are tables of statutes and cases judicially considered. To keep the series current there are cumulative indexes published as paper parts every four months.

The Law Reports are also available in the ICLR Online and individual law students' Lexis Advance Quicklaw accounts.

List of the Law Reports series:

 In the following list of the various Law Reports components, the citations appear in parenthesis after the name of the series. Note that up to 1875 the letters LR appear in the citation but after 1875 only the abbreviation for the series is used. At first the volumes of each series were numbered, but from 1891 the volumes are cited by year. If there is more than one volume in a year in a series, the year is followed by a volume number. In the list, dots (...) indicate the place where the volume number would be in the citation. The year would appear in the square brackets and the page number would follow the abbreviated name of the series in the citation (i.e. [1967] 2 QB means the second volume of the Queens Bench reports for 1967). The page number would follow the letters QB.

  • Chancery Appeal Cases  (LR...Ch or Ch App), 1865-75 v.1-10
  • Equity Cases  (LR...Eq), 1865-75 v.1-20
  • Chancery Division  (...ChD), 1875-90 v.1-45
  • Chancery Division  ([ ] Ch), 1891-date by year
  • Common Pleas Cases  (LR...CP), 1865-75 v.1-10
  • Common Pleas Division  (...CPD), 1875-80 v.1-5
  • Exchequer Cases  (LR...Ex), 1865-75 v.1-10
  • Exchequer Division  (...Ex D), 1875-80 v.1-5
  • Queen's Bench Cases  (LR...QB), 1865-75 v.1-10
  • Queen's Bench Division  (...QBD), 1875-90 v.1-25
  • Queen's Bench Division  ([ ] QB), 1891-1900 by year
  • King's Bench Division  ([ ] KB), 1901-1952 by year
  • Queen's Bench Division  ([ ] QB), 1952-date by year
  • Probate & Divorce Cases  (LR...P & D), 1865-75 v.1-3
  • Admiralty & Ecclesiastical Cases  (LR...A & E), 1865-75 v.1-4
  • Probate Division  (...PD), 1875-90 v.1-15
  • Probate Division  ([ ] P), 1891-1971 by year
  • Family Division  ([ ] Fam), 1972-date by year
  • Crown Cases Reserved  (LR...CC Or CCR), 1865-76 v.1,2
  • English & Irish Appeals  (LR...HL), 1866-75 v.1-7
  • Scotch & Divorce Appeals  (LR...HLSc Or LR...HLSc and Div), 1865-75 v.1-2
  • Privy Council Appeals  (LR...PC), 1865-75 v.1-6
  • Appeal Cases  (...App Cas), 1875-90 v.1-15
  • Appeal Cases  ([ ] AC), 1891-date by year