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Case law: online resources for common law countries: Case law

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers studying the law of the countries of the common law or Anglo-American legal tradition at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from any field may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out where to find the decisions, judgments, rulings or case law of common law jurisdictions online from databases and from reliable site on the free web such as those of the Legal Information Institutes.

Using this guide

Navigate through this guide by clicking on the pertinent tab you can see above this box (below the main title of this guide).

Note If you are interested in more than just the case law of these jurisdictions, please consult the LawBod guides below

Finding case law from common law & "mixed" jurisdictions online

This guide is primarily designed to help Oxford University law faculty and students (holders of a current Oxford Single Sign On username and password) find which subscription databases hold useful collections of law report series from countries in the Anglo-American or common law legal tradition.

For many of these jurisdictions, there is a specific freely available website allowing everyone access to transcripts of judgments  or historic report series. (These are thanks to the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM))This guide also acts as a portal to these sources.

Click the name of the jurisdiction (country) in which the case(s) you need was(were) decided, either via the tabs (dark blue) above or the hyperlinks in the box to the left. 

Knowing in which country the case was heard is not always as easy/obvious as it sounds!  Fortunately, jurisdiction is included on the results screen of searches in the  Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations  - so if you don't know/aren't sure, you could type in the abbreviation from your citation to see possible jurisdictions.

Not every case that is heard in a law court is published in a law report series.

A court case may well achieve great coverage in the media - newspapers, TV & radio, Twitter and other social media - and yet NOT be published in a law report series. To be published in a law report series, the case must be of legal importance, that is develop the law in some way.

As a result of digital publishing, transcripts of  judgements (including both those later published in a report series and those left unreported) are becoming increasingly available, either via subscription databases or  in the common law world, the network of Legal Information Institute websites.

But newspapers and other media may still be the best published sources for understanding/rebuilding some cases