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Westlaw UK

Before starting

Westlaw UK is one of the leading legal databases used by practicing solicitors and barristers:

CASES -  Coverage of the Official Law Reports (A.C., Q.B., Ch., Fam.) published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting,  the Weekly Law Reports (W.L.R) and the full text transcripts covering the House of Lords, Courts of Appeal, plus selected High Court and tribunal judgments back to 1999. All cases are also downloadable in PDF version.

 

LEGISLATION - Coverage of Acts and Statutory Instruments in force including full text of current version and access to Bills.

 

JOURNALS - Full text articles for approximately 130 journal titles. Additionally, you can access abstracts of over half a million articles from English language legal journals published in the United Kingdom and Europe. You can cross check  on the LexisLibrary database the availability of the full text for any of these titles.

 

CURRENT AWARENESS - This service contains daily updates and notices of cases, legislation, and legal developments derived from official publications, press releases and legal news relating to the United Kingdom. Current Awareness is updated throughout the day.

The sources of legal research are generally divided in two categories:

1 - Primary sources are laws, statutory instruments, cases or regulations issued by a governmental entity or official, such as a court, the Parliament, or executive agency.

2 - Secondary sources like scholarly articles or official reports offer analysis, commentary, or a restatement of primary sources like cases or statutes and are used to help locate and explain primary sources of law.  Secondary sources may influence a legal decision but do not have the controlling or binding authority of primary sources.

Westlaw UK offers to users access to both type of sources, with particular attention to provide them with authoritative and reliable secondary sources.

 Westlaw UK uses the same structure for all interfaces to simply your search

Westlaw UK uses status icons for cases and legislation to alert the users of their current validity.

Status icons for law cases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Status icons for legislation

 

Westlaw UK uses neutral citations  for cases.

This system was introduced by Practice Note [2001] 1 W.L.R.194 on January 2001 and extended in 2002 to the rulings of the High Court by Practice Direction [2002] 1 W.L.R. 346.

Neutral citations follow the structure below:

Year | Court Name* | Division (optional) | Case Number   

Example: [2015] UKSC 5

The citation in the example refers to the "R. (on the application of Miller) v Secretary of State" case, the fifth numbered judgment of the Supreme Court for 2015.

*Initials for the courts are available in the following table, (excerpt from Slapper & Kelly's English Legal System textbook):

Courts (United Kingdom) Abbreviation
Supreme Court UKSC
House of Lords UKHL
Privy Council UKPC
Court of Appeal (England and Wales)  
Court of Appeal ( Civil Division) EWCA Civ case no
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) EWCA Crim case no
High Court (England and Wales)  
Queen's Bench Division EWHC case no (QB)
Chancery Division EWHC case no (Ch)
Family Division EWHC case no (Fam)
Other Courts  
Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chambers) UKUT case no (AAC)
First-tier Tribunal UKFTT case no
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Westlaw UK - Introductory video