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Legal history: England & common law tradition: Ireland

Subjects: History - British, Law

Irish legal history

Some examples of the sources & commentary available in the Law Bod.

Searches of SOLO may well reveal that the Bodleian History Faculty Library has useful works too.

Related guides

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Assembly was established as part of the Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement) in 1998. Devolution to Northern Ireland was suspended in October 2002 and restored on 8 May 2007.

Sources (early legislation and case law)can be found on Floor 2
with shelfmarks beginning Cw UK NI

Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly Cw UK NI 300 N20
( HeinOnline has v.1(1936) to v.62(2011)

Commentary and textbooks on the history of Northern Irish law have been reclassified according the Moys scheme: look out for N8 for Northern Ireland in the shelf mark.

Irish legal history

Law Bod's working collection of Irish law is on Floor 2

English law - though for a time only in the English Pale - came in as a result of the Norman invasion of  the 1170s. However, the Law Bod does also have sources for the study of the earliest known Irish laws.

Sources (early legislation and case law) have shelf marks beginning Ireland

Primary Sources

Multi-volume collections of "legislation" in the Law Bod include
Corpus Iuris Hibernici
Ancient laws of Ireland aka Brehon laws (editions of Mss written by Christians recording the earlier Irish tradition)
Statute Rolls of Ireland (temp King John to Henry VIII)
The Irish Statutes - legislation of the pre-Union Irish parliament 1310 (3 Edw II) to the Union (1800)
Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801 to 1922
Free state & Republic legislation to date

Indexes to Irish legislation at Ireland 30

Major legal journals:

 IJ or I Jur. Irish Jurist OS vv.1-31 (1935-1965) Ireland 300 I50 (sec coll) 

IJ or I Jur. Irish Jurist NS v.1 onwards  Ireland 300 I50 

NILQ Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly Cw UK NI 300 N20 ( HeinOnline has v.1(1936) to v.62(2011)

eg Hand, G. J. “English Law in Ireland, 1172–1351.” Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 23 (1972): 393.


KL403 is where works just on the history of Irish law (all periods) can be found. Depending on what aspect of Irish legal history you are studying, don't just limit yourself to this collection. Remember the subject classification scheme for monographs. Works, for example, on Irish land law will be shelved under the topic KN62 with the geographic indicator I5 in the shelf mark.