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Using Law paper resources

Get the skills, knowledge and confidence to carry out legal research using paper sources.

Why use paper resources?

This section will help you acquire the skills, knowledge and confidence to carry out legal research using paper sources. It will also help you prepare for the assessed practical legal research (PLR) element of the Legal Practice Course (LPC). The videos below are step-by-step guides to successfully using paper resources.

Video: Using Halsbury's Laws of England

  • This podcast covers how to use the printed version of Halsbury’s Laws of England for legal research.
  • Halsbury's Laws is an authoritative encyclopedia of the laws of England and Wales. It is arranged by subject with several indexes and updating services. It is a good starting point for research on any legal subject. It is particularly useful if you are researching a new area of law and need to find the most important cases, legislation and commentary for that area.
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England is divided into a number of different parts. These are: The consolidated index,  the individual volumes, the cumulative supplement and…
  • …The current service noter-up.
  • So, where do you start? This fictional scenario is the kind of legal issue you may be asked to research as part of your course. To start your research, you first need to decide which subject keyword you are going to look up. In this scenario, the legal issue is disease caused by asbestos.
  • You now need to look up the word asbestos in the Consolidated Index. Note that there are 3 volumes of the index arranged in alphabetical order by subject; A-E, F-O and P-Z.
  • In the first volume of the consolidated index, we find Asbestos on page 137.
  • Once you’ve identified the volume number and paragraph number from the consolidated index, the next step is to find volume 53 5th edition on the shelves and turn to paragraph 636.
  • Para 636 gives further details.
  • The relevant information in the main volume is only correct up to the date the volume was published. Your next step therefore is to check the Cumulative Supplement.
  • The CS is an updating service which contains new information such as recent changes to the law since the publication of the main volume. It is important that you check the CS for relevant new information affecting the area of law you are researching as it is an essential part of the legal research process when using the printed version of Halsbury’s Laws. It is arranged in the same way as the entries in the main vol. i.e. by volume number, then paragraph number. First, identify the appropriate bound volume that might hold information on the subject you are researching, then find the vol number  (vol...) followed by the paragraph number. Note any new information under the relevant paragraph. Don’t worry if the vol. number or paragraph number you want is not listed. It simply means that there has been no updates since the main volume was published.
  • Note that the information in the CS is only current up to the date the CS was published which is in Oct of the previous year. To make sure that you have the most recent information you are researching, your next and final step is to check the Noter Up to see if there has been any updates since the CS was published.
  • The NU is a monthly publication which provides updates on the law in England and Wales. It is arranged in the same way as the entries in the main vol. And CS i.e. by volume number, then paragraph number. First, find the vol number, then the paragraph number. Note any new information under the relevant paragraph. Don’t worry if the vol. number or paragraph number you want is not listed. It simply means that there has been no updates since the main volume and CS was published. It is important that you check the NU for relevant new information affecting the area of law you are researching as it is an essential part of the legal research process when using the printed version of Halsbury’s Laws.
  • In summary, to do legal research using the printed version of Halsbury’s Laws, the 1st step is to look up your subject/keyword in the Consolidated Index. This will refer you to a volume, edition and paragraph number (not page number) in one of the main volumes. Note that Halsbury's Laws is currently updating the 4th edition so you may be referred to a 4th or 5th edition volume (4th editions are brown, 5th editions are black). You should subsequently check the cumulative supplement and the Noter Up to update your research. Good luck with your research!
  • For further help, please contact the Law Librarian Team.

 

Video: Halsbury's Statutes

  • This podcast covers how to use the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutes for legal research.
  • Halsbury's Statutes comprises the statute law of England and Wales from the earliest times to the present day. They provide an up-to-date version of the amended text of Public General Acts and Church of England Measures currently in force as well as a number of private and local Acts. Halsbury's Statutes is easy to use.  The statutes are arranged in alphabetical order covering the main areas of law. Each Act is fully annotated to provide information relating to Parliamentary debates, amendments and repeals as well as the commencement date. It also includes cross-references to other provisions of the Act, cases and subordinate legislation. Volumes are revised and reissued when necessary to take account of changes in the law.
  • Halsbury’s statutes comprise a number of parts including a consolidated index, a cumulative supplement and a noter up. The cumulative supplement and the noter up binder are updating tools which contain information on recent changes to the law which occurred after the publication of the main volumes.
  • There are also six binders entitled the Current Statutes Service Binders.  These are loose leafs containing new acts that have yet to be incorporated into the main volumes. The binders are labelled A to F.  The corresponding volume numbers and the subjects covered in each of the vols is printed on the spine of the binder.
  • This fictional scenario is the kind of legal issue you may be asked to research  as part of your course.  So, where do you start? First, decide which subject keyword you are going to look up. In this scenario, the issue you are researching is UK immigration and nationality law.
  • The first step is to check the alphabetical list of statutes at the beginning of the Consolidated Index. The index will point you to the number of the main volume which has detailed information about the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. In this example, you will see that the full text of this act is in vol.31 starting at page 507. The vol number is in bold followed by the page number. You may also use the Consolidated Index to look up an act by subject. However finding an act by subject can sometimes be difficult and you may find it easier to find references to an act using Halsbury's Laws, textbooks or journal articles and then updating it using Halsbury's Statutes. Paragraphs are shown in square brackets e.g. [192]. Pages are shown without brackets. If you see an "S" following the volume number, it means that the act is recent and has yet to be incorporated into one of the main volumes. Check the Current Statutes Service Binders for the act.
  • The next step is to find the main vol no. 31 on the shelves and turn to page 507 which is the page number on which the full text of this act begins.
  • Find section 10 of the act which covers the right of abode in the UK. The annotations at the end of each section of the act include definitions, useful case references, details of amendments and commencement dates. The commencement date is the date the section came into force. If there is no commencement date in the annotations then the section was not in force when the volume was published. It is important that you read the annotations carefully as it provides information that might be crucial to the research you are conducting.
  • If the act you want is not listed in the Consolidated Index, consult the alphabetical list of statutes at the front of Binder A of the Current Statutes Service which lists recent acts. This will give you the volume number and page number of the act. Check the appropriate binder for further information about the act.
  • Alternatively, the act you want may have been repealed. If that's the case, check the Statute Citator. The citator will tell you which act has replaced the original act.
  • The information in the main volume is only correct up to the date the volume was published. Your next step therefore is to check the Cumulative Supplement to update your research. The CS is arranged in the same way as the entries in the main vol. Look for the volume, page number and section of the act you want in that order. The Supplement will tell you if any changes have occurred since the main volume was published.  Don’t worry if there is no entry for your section. It just means that there have been no changes since the main volume was published. If your act was in a Current Statutes Service Binder you still need to update it using the Cumulative Supplement and Noter Up. Check for updates after the updates for the main volumes, for example updates for 1(S) Agency will be after the updates for volume 1 Agency. It is important that you check the CS for relevant new information affecting the area of law you are researching as it is an essential part of the legal research process when using the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutes.
  • Note that the information in the CS is only current up to the date the CS was published which is in Oct of the previous year. To complete your research you need to check the Noter Up. Again look for the volume and page number. If your section isn’t listed it means that there have been no changes since the Cumulative Supplement was published. If you have an act from the Current Statutes Service Binders remember that the updates are after those for the main volume. It is important that you check the NU for relevant new information affecting the area of law you are researching as it is an essential part of the legal research process when using the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutes.
  • To conduct effective legal research using the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutes, start by looking up the title of the act in the A-Z list of statutes in Halsbury’s Statutes Consolidated Index. This will refer you to the volume number and page number of the main volume which contains the full text of the act.Find the main volume on the shelf and locate the full text of the act. Remember to check the annotations at the end of the relevant section of the act. If the act you want is not listed in the Consolidated Index, check the alphabetical list of statutes at the front of Binder A of the Current Statutes Service which lists recent acts. Finally, to bring your research up to date check the Cumulative Supplement followed by the Noter Up.  This concludes your research, and this Podcast.
  • For more help and information please ask a member of staff in the Library or visit the Library website.

 

Video: Halsbury's Statutory Instruments

  • This podcast covers how to use the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments for legal research.
  • Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments provides information, arranged by subject on Statutory Instruments (SIs) of general application in England and Wales. You can use them to find the current status of an SI. It will tell you if an SI has been amended, revoked or has lapsed. Statutory Instruments are also known as secondary or delegated legislation. They have names such as orders, rules or regulations.
  • Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments consists of a number of parts. These include a consolidated Index…
  • And a Service Binder. The Service Binder is a grey binder which includes a Monthly Update section which provides information on changes to the SIs.
  • If you know the name of the Statutory Instrument use the alphabetical list of instruments at the back of the Consolidated Index paperback volume. This gives you the reference number and the subject under which the Statutory Instrument is listed as shown here.
  • Check the spines of the main volumes (numbered 1-22) for the one which contains your subject. Alternatively, check the front of any of the volumes to see a subject listing. Some volumes cover more than one subject. Each subject has its own contents page with the SIs listed chronologically. If an SI is listed without a page number, it means it is not included in the service.
  • The SI will either be in summary or in full text. If it's only a summary and you need the full text use an online resource like LexisLibrary or Westlaw to find it.
  • To update the SI use the Monthly Update section in the Service Binder. First find the volume number and then the subject of your SI. Remember to look for your SI in the List of Changes, which is located after the Chronological List of New Instruments. It will tell you if there is any new information about your SI.
  • There are two ways to research an SI using the printed version of Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments…If you know the name of the SI use the alphabetical list at the back of the Consolidated Index paperback volume. This gives you the reference number and the subject under which the SI is listed. Alternatively, if you know the SI number e.g. SI 1998/213 then use the Chronological list at the front of the service binder. This will give you the full title of the SI and the subject under which it is listed. Then Check the spines of the main volumes (numbered 1-22) for the one which contains your subject.
  • If you would like further help and information please ask a member of staff in the Library or visit the Library website.

 

 

Video: Current Law Case Citators

  • This podcast will show you how to use Current Law Citators for legal research.
  • The Current Law Case Citator is an alphabetical list of case names that have been reported or quoted in court since 1947.  Summaries of cases are arranged by subject and are published annually in the Current Law Yearbooks.  There is also a Monthly Digest of recent case law. Case Citators and Yearbooks will help you find a list of law report citations for a case, see a case’s progress through the courts, read a summary of the case and check whether a case is still good law.
  • So where do you start…? If you know the date of the case you are looking for, find the citator which covers this date. Otherwise start with the earliest citator and work forward until you find the case. Cases are arranged alphabetically by the first party name.
  • The entry for the case gives the law report citations. If a case has been heard in more than one court the entry will provide law report citations for each version of the case. The entry will also give an indication of the decision of the appeal courts. To find the status of the case check the annotations on the right hand side of the page. You are looking for terms such as applied, followed, considered or overruled. If you see the term "Digested"…
  • This means that there is a summary of the case available in the Current Law Yearbooks.
  • For example, "Digested 02/2225" means there is a summary available in the 2002 Yearbook at paragraph 2225. The name of the case is at the end of the paragraph in capital letters. If your case is still good law and has annotations such as applied, followed etc., you can find the name of these cases by the same method as above. For example, if a case has "applied 02/2225" next to it you will find the applying case in the 2002 Yearbook at paragraph 2225. On the other hand, for example, if a case has "overruled 87/945" next to it, this means that the case is no longer good law. You will find the overruling case in the 1987 Yearbook at paragraph 945. The name of the case is in capital letters at the end of the paragraph.
  • If your case is still good law in the first citator you need to make sure that it is still good law in the present day. Check your case in subsequent citators and keep going until you either reach the most recent citator or your see that the case has been overruled.  If your case is not mentioned in a citator don't worry - it means that your case wasn't used as an authority in the period of time the citator covers.
  • You will notice that the latest citator only brings you up to date to the end of the previous year. To update to the current month find the latest Monthly Digest and look in the Cumulative List of Cases at the back. If your case, for example Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd. has been used as an authority you will see a reference such as "Mar 54". Check the March Monthly Digest and find paragraph 54 to find out what has happened to your case.
  • If there is no citator for the previous year check  the December Monthly Update. The Cumulative List of Cases in December serves as the citator for the year until the main citator is published.
  • If you know the date of the case, locate the citator which covers this date. Otherwise start with the earliest citator and work forward until you find the case. If you see the term "Digested". This means that there is a summary of the case available in the Current Law Yearbooks. To update to the current month, find the latest Monthly Digest and look in the Cumulative List of Cases at the back
  • You have now reached the end of this podcast. If you would like further help and information please ask a member of staff in the Library or visit the Library website.