Instead of referring to a case or journal article by its full details, lawyers use abbreviations and legal citations:
All reported cases will have a case citation (or law report citation) which you need to use for referencing purposes.
Cases since 2001 also have a neutral citation which does not refer to a particular law report but instead to the year and court in which the case was heard. This is an electronic reference for the case.
Journal names are referred to by an abbreviation rather than listed the full title (e.g. Crim LR for the Criminal Law Review).
Check the tabs above to see examples of how case citations and neutral citations are broken down, and for some common legal abbreviations for law reports and journals.
You should generally include the neutral citation along with a law report citation in your work. See Referencing on the side menu for more help.
When you look at a case online in one of our law eResources such as Westlaw or LexisLibrary, you will be given the citations you need.
Always use the neutral citation and the first law report citation listed - the law reports are cited by most authoritative first!
Watch this video from the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, the authorised publisher of the official series of The Law Reports:
You can check legal abbreivations in the Law Library using Raistrick's Index to Legal Citations or online via:
Cases are heard in different courts and the transcript of what the judge(s) said are published in law reports (judgments).
Law reports can be accessed electronically through Westlaw and LexisLibrary.
In Westlaw and LexisLibrary you will generally find the full judgment as well as extra information such as a summary and links to related materials.
See the talking law report for guidance on each section.
Some free transcripts are also available online from BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) and the following websites:
Only 2,500 out of 250,000 cases heard each year or 1.25% ever get reported so many cases will not be available!
This includes all cases heard in the lower courts and even some of the most sensationalist cases that are very popular in the media. Only cases of legal interest in the upper courts make it into law reports.
For high profile cases where a law report is not available, try using our newspaper database:
Judgments from legal cases are reported in Law Reports.
There are many different law reports produced by different publishers.
In the Law Library, these are shelved in alphabetical order by series title.
Some law reports are very general (All England, The Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports) whilst others are specialist (e.g. Medical Law Reports).
Many more law reports are available online via Westlaw, LexisLibrary and i-law.
Search the Library Catalogue to see which law report series (but not individual cases) are available.
Please ensure you log into SOL in order to view this video: https://learn.solent.ac.uk/
A full case citation will give you all the information you need to locate a copy:
1) Work out which series of law reports your case is in by looking up the abbreviation (see above)
2) Locate the correct Law Report series
3) Find the volume with the right date and number printed on the side.
4) Turn to the start page or case number.
You can also use LexisLibrary or Westlaw to find a case by searching for the party names or entering the citation.
Use i-law to access the online version of the Lloyds Law Reports.
Legislation includes Acts (Statutes) and Statutory Instruments (Rules, Regulations and Orders), abbreviated to SIs.
Before a new Act can be created, the Government will normally produce a White Paper or a consultation document on the topic, to outline their ideas.
This will be put before Parliament as a draft act, known as a Bill, and will be discussed and amended.
Once Parliament have agreed on the clauses, the Queen will give her approval (Royal Assent), and the Bill will become an Act.
Legislation is changing constantly so always make sure you have the latest information available. Fully updated Acts and SIs can be accessed electronically through Westlaw and LexisLibrary.
You may also want to watch this lecture capture about finding Bills and Acts (please note this is from October 2016 and you must be logged into SOL to view: http://learn.solent.ac.uk)
Producing a Bill is the first stage of the process to create a new Act.
Once a Bill has been through all the parliamentary stages, the Queen will give her approval (Royal Assent) and the Bill becomes an Act.
Bills Before Parliament provides detailed information on current bills and their progress.
Remember: legislation is changing constantly so always make sure you have the latest information available.
Fully updated Acts and SIs can be accessed via Westlaw and LexisLibrary. These eResources also include additional useful material such as annotations and forthcoming amendments.
Please ensure you log into SOL in order to view this video https://learn.solent.ac.uk/
Printed copies of Acts can be found in the Law Library but these are not updated so should only be used for historical information.
There are three series of printed legislation:
The Government also provides Legislation.gov.uk which has all official UK legislation in original (enacted) and updated formats along with accompanying documents:
The Law Commission reviews the law and makes recommendations for reform - access current and previous consultations and final reports, including draft Bills.
Legal journals provide opinion and commentary on legal issues and cases and are very useful sources of information for specific legal topics. They are written by legal experts and professionals.
Listed below are some example legal journals which are relevant to your course.
Many more can be found on Westlaw and LexisLibrary.
Most journals are subscription-only so you must access them through the links below and login using the instructions provided.
If you search for a journal title in the Library Catalogue, use the Journals option under Resource Type. Click on the View Online tab for access details. We often have multiple providers for journal titles and you will need to check the available date to select the one which best suits your needs.
Printed journals can be found on Floor 0B but most journals are now electronic only.
Ensure you check which dates are available and read the off campus instructions:
Keeping up-to-date is essential in law.
You can do this in a number of ways:
These are two key legal resources that you must use to access primary legal materials (cases/legislation) as well as secondary sources (legal journals, encyclopedias, practitioner texts).
Further help and advice is located in the eResources section but quick access and getting started are below:
Parliament plays a vital role in ensuring that the Government remains accountable by:
Use the resources below to locate important documents generated from these processes.
Includes all parliamentary publications including Bills and related documents, Commons and Lords Hansard (debates), Weekly Information Bulletin, Committee and Research publications.
Includes all Government Command Papers and other key documents from 2005 onwards.
Filter documents using the options on the left.
For older publications, try the University of Southampton's archives:
Contains some HRMC manuals along with government circulars and papers, codes of practice, commands papers, guidance notes and consultative documents from 1995 onwards.
Login using your University email address and password - ignore the first Westlaw pop-up screen asking you to create an account.
This contains the full proceedings of both Houses and Commons Committee debates from the 1800s to the present day.