Western Libraries

United Kingdom Legal Research

John & Dotsa Bitove Family Law Library

Legal Citation

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

This database allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law.

Background Research Materials

The following sources are great places to start when you need to understand an area of law and would like the proper references to primary law.

Halsbury’s Laws of England

5th edition

Halsbury's Laws of England is an encyclopedia providing a comprehensive narrative statement of the law in England and Wales.  Over 100 years Halsbury’s Laws has established itself as the authority on English law. The first edition ran from 1907 under the editorship of Lord Halsbury, and took ten years to complete. Since then, new editions have been launched every 20 to 30 years. Traditionally, the role of Editor-in-Chief of Halsbury's Laws is held by a former Lord Chancellor. Subjects of law are arranged alphabetically by broad topic into more than 100 main volumes. Annual and monthly updating services keep the statements and explanations of the law current.

Although almost complete, the 5th edition remains shelved with its 4th edition counterpart while volumes continue to be rewritten. New titles for the 5th edition include, Sports Law, Information Technology Law, Financial Services and Institutions, Judicial Review and Environmental Quality and Public Health.

The Law Library has retained the earlier edition sets of Halsbury’s for historical research purposes.
1st edition: 1907-1917     KD310 .H344
2nd edition: 1931-1942    KD310 .H345
3rd edition: 1952-1964    KD310 .H346
4th edition: 1973-            KD310 .H347
5th edition: 2007-            KD310 .H348

The Digest: Annotated British, Commonwealth and European Cases

The Digest summarizes case law from the United Kingdom, the European Union, and other Commonwealth countries. Annotations to each case not only outline and classify the subject area but also include subsequent judicial treatment of the case in the English courts. This is a good source to use in order to identify cases and to find proper citations to reporters.

As with Halsbury’s the Law Library has retained older editions of, what used to be called, the English and Empire Digest.

1st edition:     1919-1932    KD296 .D557
Blue Band:     1950-1970    KD296 .D557
Green Band:     1970-         KD296 .D557    

Stroud's Judicial Dictionary of Words and Phrases

KF156 .S8 2016
Now in its 9th edition, Stroud’s dictionary provides judicial definitions of terms or words that have been established in caselaw, statutes, or other legal documents. The three-volume set is regularly updated with supplements. Contents include historic and modern terms as well as the evolution of a term’s meaning. Stroud’s is useful for understanding legislation and for drafting contract language.

Words and Phrases Legally Defined

KD313 .S388
Another useful “words & phrases” title, this set takes its definitions from Acts of Parliament, Halsbury’s Laws of England, and leading texts from the Commonwealth. The two-volume set is updated with supplements.