This section provides you with a description of UK case law, focusing on the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The description concentrates on case law from databases that are freely available to the public.
Case-law available in England and Wales
Much of the case law from courts in the England and Wales jurisdiction of the UK is accessible to the public.
All Supreme Court cases and all substantive Civil Court of Appeal judgments are reported. All Administrative Court judgments, and a selection of High Court judgments that are of particular legal or public interest, are published. Judgments of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal are published if they are of legal or public interest. Decisions from family and some criminal cases may be anonymised. Decisions of the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal are published when they are of legal or public interest.
Once a judgment is given, it is usually published between 24 hours and 2 weeks afterwards. If the judgment is given in writing, it is usually published on the same day.
House of Lords judgements: archive. The House of Lords was the UK's highest Court of Appeal until 30 July 2009. All judgments of the Law Lords from 14 November 1996 to 30 July 2009 are available on the Parliament website.
Parliamentary Archives. Access to House of Lords judgments prior to 1996 can be arranged through the Parliamentary Archives. The Archives holds appeal cases and other records of the House of Lords acting in its judicial capacity, dating from 1621
Supreme Court website. From 1 October 2009, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom assumed jurisdiction on points of law for all civil law cases in the UK and all criminal cases in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. All judgments are available from the Supreme Court website.
The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) is a legal charity that was set up in 1865. They publish law reports of the judicial decisions of the Superior and Appellate Courts in England and Wales. Most of their products are only provided by subscription but they do also produce a free Case Search facility.
BAILII, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute provides free online access to a very comprehensive set of British and Irish primary legal materials including case law. The search facility allows users to search s for cases in specific courts or across multiple jurisdictions.
Through the Open Law Project, BAILII is also identifying leading cases from the past and making these freely and openly available on the internet to support legal education.
BAILII has recently collaborated with ICLR and now provides links to the ICLR summaries of judgments (where one exits) with an option to purchase the authorised case report from ICLR in PDF format.
The following collections are available through the BAILLI website:
- England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
- England and Wales Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Admiralty Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Commercial Court) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Court of Protection) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Senior Court Costs Office) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Exchequer Court) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (King's Bench Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Mercantile Court) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Patents Court) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions
- England and Wales High Court (Technology and Construction Court) Decisions
- England and Wales Patents County Court Decisions,
- Intellectual Property Enterprise Court decisions (from 2013)
- England and Wales Magistrates' Court (Family)
- England and Wales County Court (Family)
The English Reports (1220 to 1873) are available on CommonLII
BAILLII also contains details of decisions from various United Kingdom tribunals:
- Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber)
- Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber)
- Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
- Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)
- First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber)
- First-tier Tribunal (Health Education and Social Care Chamber)
- First-tier Tribunal (Tax)
- United Kingdom Competition Appeals Tribunal
- Nominet UK Dispute Resolution Service
- Special Immigrations Appeals Commission
- United Kingdom Employment Appeal Tribunal
- United Kingdom Financial Services and Markets Tribunals Decisions
- United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
- United Kingdom Information Tribunal including the National Security Appeals Panel
- United Kingdom Special Commissioners of Income Tax Decisions
- UK Social Security and Child Support Commissioners' Decisions
- United Kingdom VAT & Duties Tribunals Decisions
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Last update: 15/08/2016