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Law: Finding Case Law

Case Law

The decisions of judges in court cases are a primary source of law.  Printed series of law reports record some of these decisions;  law reports are also available on Westlaw and LexisLibrary.  The most authoritative series is The Law Reports;  another series with wide coverage is the All England Reports.

Case Law in action

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) began publishing The Law Reports in 1865. The Law Reports are the most authoritative series of law reports and should always be cited in Court in preference to any other law report series.

This short film produced by the ICLR highlights why it is important to use the most authoritative law report.

Watch this short film from the ICLR to find out how legal professionals find case law.

This short film follows one of the legal reporters for the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting as he attends court and prepares the report of a case for publication in print and on the Internet.

UK Courts

UK Case Law - Information Portals

Finding cases in the Law Reference Collection

Fisher v Bell [1960] 3 WLR 919


To find this particular case in the Law Reference Collection, you need to:

  • Find out what the abbreviation of the law report title stands for.  You can use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations. In this instance, the abbreviation of the law report title is W.L.R which stands for the Weekly Law Reports.
  • To find the Weekly Law Reports on the Library shelves you will need to go to the 3rd floor of the Library and locate the Law Reference Collection.  Law reports are kept in alphabetical order by title in the section of the Law Reference Collection so this title will be shelved under ’340 WEE’.
  • Find the year 1960, and volume 3 for that year. Look at page number 919. You should see the case Fisher v Bell.