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University of Ulster Law resources



Case Law Databases

Databases can help you:

 - Find a particular case where you have the full case reference.
 - F
ind a case when you have incomplete details
 - Find case law on a legal topic
 - Find journal articles on particular cases


Quick links:
 
A - Z list of law resources
Law resources home page
 

Using case law databases

The library subscribes to a range of databases which you can use to find the full text of most law cases.  Those databases are listed below.  You can select a database by clicking on the title.  
Recommended databases are those which the law librarians feel are the most comprehensive and therefore the best place to start your search. 

You will need Athens authentication to access most library databases.  Use the Passwords Guide to find out more about library and other passwords.

Remember that if you run into problems finding a case or accessing library resources,  then just ask your subject librarians for help.

Database Coverage details


Westlaw UK

 

Recommended


Westlaw UK provides comprehensive access to the case law of England and Wales and case law from other jurisdictions including the full text of the following:

The Law Reports (A.C., Q.B., Ch., Fam.) 1865-
Sweet & Maxwell's specialised law reporting series
European Community case law
European Court of Human Rights case law
International Court of Justice case law 

US and International cases (via Westlaw International option)

The database features a current awareness service including new case digests issued within 24 hours of judgment, together with transcripts made available online within hours of approval from the courts.
 
Case Analysis is provided for each case within Westlaw, giving a useful summary, with relevant legislation and other cases cited and )if appropriate) the history relating to the case, indicating where a case has been followed, distinguished, applied, considered etc, with a red icon warning where a case has been overruled or reversed.

You should note that Westlaw does not provide the full text of Northern Ireland case law (use LexisNexis Butterworth to find Northern Ireland cases).
 


LexisLibrary
 

Recommended


LexisLibrary is an extremely comprehensive database of case law.  It is particularly useful for the range of jurisdictions covered including case law from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. You can find the following case law on LexisLibrary:

The Law Reports (A.C., Q.B., Ch., Fam.)
All England Law Reports (including All England Law Reports Reprint 1558-1935 and Reprint Extension 1861-1935)
Northern Ireland Law Reports (1945-)
Irish Reports (1950-)
Unreported judgements from England and Wales (1980-), Northern Ireland  (1984-) and the Republic of Ireland (1985-) 
US (State and Federal) case law
Commonwealth case law
European Community cases
European Court of Human Rights case law
 


All England Law Reports

Recommended


All England Law Reports
are available via the LexisLibrary service which provides access to:
All England Law Reports (1936-) 
All England Reprint (1558-1935) and All England Reprint Extension (1861-1935) useful for older cases not available elsewhere
All England European Cases (1995-)
All England Law Reporter
(same and next day digests of very recent cases including links to selected full text judgments), 
Official Transcripts
All England Annual Review (an overview of major case law developments)

Once you have logged into LexisLibrary you can restrict your search to All England case resources by clicking on the Sources tab.
 


Justis 


Comprising:

Weekly Law Reports - Full-text of cases from 1953- 

Daily Cases - Case reports summaries from the Daily Law Notes website (produced by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting). These summaries of cases which develop or clarify a point of law have been added daily from June 1999.

Celex  - the official database of the European Union available on the Justis website.  Use it to access the full-text of the European Court Reports.

English Reports - the electronic version of the English Reports, a collection of published reports of older cases that constitute binding precedents in English law from 1220 to 1873.  These very old reports are also known as the nominate reports because they are called by the names of the people who compiled them.
 


Casetrack 


Casetrack provides access to the transcripts of judgments from Smith Bernal, the official court reporters.  Coverage includes judgments for England and Wales from the Court of Appeal (Criminal and Civil Divisions), Administrative Court, High Court , Employment Appeal Tribunal and VAT Tribunal.  You can also access judgments from  Northern Irish and Irish Courts, as well as selected judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice.
 


Current Legal Information


Current Legal Information (CLI) 
enables you to identify cases by subject term or party names.  Results displayed will show the case citation and a line or two about the case. You can then use Westlaw or LexisNexis Butterworth to obtain the full text. Alternatively CLI is also available to search directly on Westlaw with the added advantage that a hyperlink to the full text of a case will be provided where it is available in the Westlaw database.  The Case Citator in CLI will also outline the judicial history of a case - that is, it will indicate whether a case has been applied, considered, approved, distinguished, overruled etc since the case was decided. 
 



Bulletin of Northern Ireland Law

 



The Bulletin of Northern Ireland Law is a comprehensive digest of Northern Ireland Law from 1996 with some links to full text material.  It includes Northern Ireland case law and UK case law relevant to Northern Ireland.  The Bulletin is also provides useful digests of selected Northern Ireland tribunal decisions including  Employment Appeals Tribunal,  Lands Tribunal and Planning Appeals Commission decisions.

 


Halsbury's Online

 


Halsbury's Laws of England is a major legal encyclopaedia available via the LexisLibrary service. Use it to find cases and legislation on a particular subject area.

Once you have logged into LexisLibrary you can restrict your search to Halsbury's Laws by selecting the Sources tab, then browsing to Halsbury's Laws on the A-Z sources list.
 


Planning Online
 


Planning Online is a website containing searchable databases with records of all planning applications in Northern Ireland since 1993.  Details of all planning appeals are included from 1997 with most records including the full text of Decision Letters and Commissioner's Reports.
 


Building Law Reports
 


The Building Law Reports database covers building case law from 1976 onwards.  It is an authoritative and comprehensive collection of building case decisions for professionals working in construction law. It includes decisions from The House of Lords, The Court of Appeal, The Technology and Construction Court, The European Court of Justice and other relevant jurisdictions worldwide including Hong Kong and Australia.
 


More law databases


The databases listed above are those which are particularly useful for case law.   You can view a full list of law databases by clicking on the link on the left.
 


Social science databases


You can use this list of databases on those occasions when you need to consult material in more general social science subject areas such as economics, government etc. 
You can also browse through the complete list of databases provided by the library for UU students.
 

Still having problems?

If you have tried the databases listed above and cannot find the case you are looking for then check the following:

  • Is the case name spelt properly?  If the parties name(s) are not spelt correctly you will may not find the case.
  • Is the case very recent or very old?  Go to the Finding very old cases and Finding very recent cases pages for more detailed information.
  • Is the case from a jurisdiction other than England and Wales?  Go to the Northern Ireland case law and European and International case law pages for more information.
  • Are you having trouble finding cases on a particular topic?  Sometimes, especially when you are beginning your research into a particular law topic, it is best to start with legal textbooks to gain an overview of the subject.  Go to the Finding Law Books page for more information on using law textbooks to find cases.

Don't forget:
Only a small percentage of cases are ever made available or reported. The first hearing of a case, e.g. in Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts may not be covered by law reporting series or online sources. Please ask your law librarian for help.

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Last updated: 07/07/10
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