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English Law Research Guide

A guide to researching English law in the Tarlton Law Library.

Using Halsbury's Statutes

The most frequently used source of current English statutes is Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales, which is an unofficial compilation of the statutes in force, including treaties and secondary legislation of the European Union. Halsbury's Statutes are arranged in 143 alphabetical titles which represent broad subject categories, with annotations following each section. This set is updated regularly by an annual Cumulative Supplement and a comprehensive updating service which includes the texts of statutes published since the reissue of the main volumes, called "Current Statutes Service." Three times a year the Noter-Up Service provides references to developments since the most recent annual supplements. 

A table of statutes is published as a separate booklet. An annual volume called Is it in Force? provides the commencement dates of all statutes passed in the most recent 25 years.                 


Below is a link to a guide that can help you learn how to navigate Halsbury's Statutes:

Statutory Interpretation

The book listed below is a good guide to understanding English statutory interpretation.

Updating Statutes

To determine the treatment of statutes in cases (since 1947), use the Current Law Statute Citator, which also lists amendments to statutes.  To find related acts or cases that cite a statute using Westlaw, click on the "Links" tab in the left frame and then choose "Analysis". 

Lexis does not have a comparable feature to Westlaw.  You must search in the case law or statutory databases using the name of the statute to find the treatment of statutes in cases and other statutes.

English Statutes in Force

Current Statutes in Force

Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales (4th ed.)

Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales is currently in its 4th edition, and contains the text of virtually all English statutes in force.  This set is annotated with case decisions and statutory instruments, and also includes references to Halsbury's Laws of England (see Secondary Research Sources tab for more information).  Halsbury's Statute Citator, located at the end of the set, lists repeals and amendments to the statutes.  The set is also kept up-to-date by replacement volumes and cumulative supplements.

 


Historical Statutes in Force

An Exact Abridgement of All the Statutes in Force and Use From the Beginning of Magna Charta
Available as a digital copy from Early English Books Online (on-campus only, or EID required for remote login).  This set is good for historical research only; it covers the statutes in force from 1215 to 1689.

The Complete Statutes of England
This set is the predecessor to Halsbury's Statutes of England.  It covers the statutes in force from 1929-1948.  The index to vols. 1-21 is in volume 22, and volumes 1-22 were kept up to date by continuation vols. 23-40 and bound supplementation through 1948; the set includes indexes.  The library retains only the latest cumulative supplement. 

Halsbury's Statutes of England (2d ed.)
Covers the statutes in force from 1948-1968.  Includes indexes; the index to vols. 1-40 is in volume 27.  Volumes 1-27 were kept up to date through 1968 with continuation volumes 28-48.  Library lacks volumes 1-6 and 8-10.

Halsbury's Statutes of England (3d ed.)
Covers the statutes in force from 1968-1985, and includes indexes.  The set was kept up to date through 1985 using cumulative supplements. 

 


English Statutes Online

Legislation.gov.uk
This is the official website of UK legislation.  Legislation.gov.uk provides access to Acts of the UK Parliament, Local Acts of the UK Parliament, and Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England. 

  • Acts of the UK Parliament (Public General Acts) -- provides links to the full text of all UK Parliament Public General Acts from 1988-present in both HTML and PDF formats; legislation made prior to 1988 is linked in PDF format where available.
  • Local Acts of the UK Parliament -- provides links to the full text of all UK Local Acts from 1991-present as they were originally enacted.  Local acts made prior to 1991 are linked in PDF format where available.
  • Church Measures -- provides links to the full text of all Church of England Measures from 1988-present.  If a year between 1988 and 2010 is not linked, that is an indication that no Measures were enacted in that year.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)
This database contains British and Irish law and legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material.  Legislation can be browsed alphabetically or chronologically for the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.  To search for legislation in the database, use the Legislation Search form.

LexisNexis -- Statutes of England and Wales (LexisNexis subscription required)
Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales; contains all statutes currently in force.  It takes about six weeks between the passage of a law and the notation of its effect on current statutes.  Check the database's scope note for more information.

Westlaw -- United Kingdom Statutes [Database identifier: UK-ST] (Westlaw subscription required)
Laws in Force, consolidated by Sweet & Maxwell.  Covers 1267-present.

Westlaw -- United Kingdom Statutes Historical [Database identifier: UK-ST-HIST] (Westlaw subscription required)
Historic superseded Laws in Force, consolidated by Sweet & Maxwell.  Coverage from 1992-present.