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Case law: online resources for common law countries: Home

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers studying the case 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.

Finding published law report series from common law & "mixed" jurisdictions online

Published law report series are usually available only via subscription databases (which require an Oxford SSO for online access).

Knowing in which country the case was heard is not always as easy/obvious as you might assume with English as a common language!  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.

When you know the country/jurisdiction, use the tabs (and the drop down menus of some of them) to find relevant databases for that country.

Alternatively, if you know the name of the law report series you need to consult, the first link below can be quicker to use than searching SOLO.

Case transcripts

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case may well achieve great coverage in the media - newspapers, TV & radio, Twitter and other social media - and yet NOT be published in a law report series.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. (These are thanks to the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM))This guide also acts as a portal to these sources.

For tracking down the general media's reaction to causes célèbres, national and local newspapers can be a rich resource