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Subject guides: Law

Law section

The printed collections in UCL Library Services are described below. There is also information about

Printed collections

The law collection is housed in the Donaldson Reading Room in the Main Library, Wilkins Building. It is arranged in three main sequences, according to the type of material.

Primary sources

Legislation and law reports are grouped by jurisdiction. Within each section, legislation is shelved first, followed by series of law reports arranged alphabetically by title. The sequence starts in the first bay on the left with England and Wales, and is followed by material from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and the United States.

National materials are followed by material from the European Union, human rights materials, and international legal materials, including the United Nations Treaty Series, United Kingdom Treaty Series and reports of international law cases.


Law journals are listed on the catalogue as LAW Pers and are arranged alphabetically by title in a single sequence on the free-standing bookcases at the centre of each bay.

Law journals and primary materials can not be borrowed, but may be photocopied in the Library. See the Library's web pages for information about photocopying.


Textbooks and monographs are classified by subject and arranged on the shelves in classified order. UCL has its own classification scheme, Garside, which consists of the name of the subject (indicating the collection and section of the library) followed by letters and numbers denoting its subject and position on the shelves.

The main sections of the law book collection are:

LAW A - Law generally, legal profession, statutory interpretation

LAW B - Jurisprudence
LAW B 50 - Law and medical ethics

LAW BS - Sociology of Law

LAW C - General Legal History

LAW D - English Legal History

LAW E - Public Law
LAW E 5-E 10 - Constitutional law and politics
LAW E 20 - Administrative law
LAW E 27 - Civil rights
LAW E 32 - Tax law
LAW E 60 - English legal system
LAW E 65 - Police
LAW E 80 - Environmental law
LAW E 90 - Media law
LAW E 100 - Medical law

LAW F-G - Commonwealth and Foreign Public law

LAW H - Criminal Law

LAW J - Private Law
LAW J 10 - Civil procedure and evidence
LAW J 20 - Contract
LAW J 40 - Tort
LAW J 50 & J 60 - Commercial law, insurance, credit
LAW J 84 - Company law
LAW J 95 - Labour law
LAW J 102 - Land law
LAW J 150 - Equity, trusts, charities
LAW J 168 - Family law

LAW K - Commonwealth Private Law

LAW L - Conflict of Laws

LAW M - Foreign & Comparative Law
LAW M 24 - France
LAW M 25 - Spain
LAW M 27 - Italy
LAW M 32 - Germany
LAW M 76 - Australia
LAW M 77 - New Zealand
LAW M 82 - Canada
LAW M 81 - USA

LAW R - Roman Law

LAW W - International Law
LAW W 46 - International trade
LAW W 49 - International environmental law
LAW W 85 - United Nations
LAW W 100 - European Community law

Reference works are grouped together in a separate section which is shelved in the first bay on the right as you enter the Donaldson. This section includes dictionaries of legal terminology and abbreviations, indexes to law reports, digests of case law and legal developments including The Digest and Current Law, case and legislation citators and general legal encyclopedias including Halsbury's Laws of England.

Other sections of the Library which contain material of relevant to Law are:

HUMAN RIGHTS (Main Library - South, Room 212, 2nd Floor) for national, international and comparative human rights and civil liberties

PUBLIC POLICY (Main Library - South, Room 212, 2nd Floor) for material on constitutional and administrative law, including Hansard

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (Main Library - South, Room 212, 2nd Floor) for material on international law

PHILOSOPHY (Main Library - South) for material relevant to jurisprudence

HISTORY (Main Library - South, 2nd Floor) for material on legal history

Environmental Studies Library (Bartlett School - Wates House, 5th floor) for planning and construction law

CLINICAL SCIENCES, LIFE SCIENCES and medical library sites (Cruciform Library, Science Library and medical library sites) for medical ethics and bioethics

GEOGRAPHY (Science Library - 1st floor), ANTHROPOLOGY (Science Library - 2nd floor) and ECONOMICS (Main Library - South) collections also all contain relevant material.

Remember to use Explore, the Library's online catalogue, to find out exactly where a specific item is held

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Electronic collections

UCL staff and students have access to several databases of legal materials as detailed below. You will usually need your user id/password for Information Systems in order to gain access to them.

Full-text databases

Westlaw UK contains the full text of cases and legislation from the UK, US and many other countries, as well as large range of journals from the US and some from the UK. For a full list of contents see the 'Directory' section of the database after logging in.

Westlaw includes information from the Current Law monthly digest and case and legislation citators and as such can be used as an index and citator for cases and legislation.

Lexis Library contains a similar range of full-text cases and legislation as well as journals from the UK, US and other countries. In addition it contains transcripts of selected unreported cases from the higher UK courts from 1980 onwards and the contents of British and foreign newspapers.

Indexes and citators

Legal Journals Index indexes the contents of UK legal journals from 1986 onwards. It is available as part of the Westlaw UK service.

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books indexes US legal journals plus the leading titles from the UK and other Commonwealth countries from 1978 onwards.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews that appear in hundreds of legal journals published worldwide.

JustCite is a legal citator and search engine. It also provides links to the full-text of case reports and legislation in other databases, including Lexis Library and Westlaw. A number of the law reports we have access to online at UCL aren’t listed in MetaLib, so it’s particularly useful for finding out which database to look in for a specific law report series.

In addition to indexes specifically for law, there are a number of other databases which include legal journals as part of more general coverage. These sources can be particularly useful for identifying relevant material in non-law publications. The most useful are:

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), indexes journal articles and book chapters in social science subjects including anthropology, geography, economics and political sciences from 1951.

Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), indexes 1,175 social science journals from 1981 via a service called Web of Knowledge.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) covers 1,144 journals in the arts and humanities from 1975 onwards.

Electronic journals

A large range of law journals is now available via the web. For a complete list of all the electronic journals available to UCL members see the e-journals page on the Library's web site.

To look for a specific title, go to the alphabetical list on the Library's web pages. You will also find details of the access arrangements for each title.

Westlaw UK and Lexis both contain an extensive range of law journals (particularly from the US). While most of these are listed on the UCL alphabetical list of e-journals, it is advisable to check the detailed contents list for each database if looking for a particular title, as the holdings are regularly updated.

Exam papers

Copies of UCL examination papers for undergraduate courses (from 1997 onwards) are available on the web at: http://exam-papers.ucl.ac.uk/Laws

Printed copies of the Law papers are available on the open shelves in the South Corridor immediately outside the Reference Room.

Other internet resources

Other websites useful for Law include:

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law.

Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authotrities (OSCOLA) is designed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. It is widely used in law schools and by journal and book publishers in the UK and beyond.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) provides access to the most comprehensive set of British and Irish primary legal materials that are available for free and in one place on the internet.

UK Parliament

Official Documents is the official reference facility for Command and departmentally sponsored House of Commons Papers. All Command Papers and House of Commons Papers published from May 2005 onwards, as well as key Departmental papers are available for free on the site in PDF format.

Legislation.gov.uk is the official home of UK legislation, revised and as enacted 1267-present.

EUR-Lex provides free access to European Union law and other documents considered to be public.

WIPO Lex features over 10,000 documents covering the primary and subsidiary IP legislation of nearly 200 jurisdictions, including over 500 treaties, in some 60 languages. Updating each jurisdiction’s IP legal information is being done on a regular basis.


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Other libraries

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in Russell Square is the legal research institute for the University of London and has one of the best collections of foreign, international and comparative legal materials in Britain. Access is restricted to postgraduate students and staff. UCL undergraduate students may be given access to IALS to consult material not available elsewhere in the University of London if they have a letter of recommendation from their tutor or the UCL Law Librarian.

The Senate House Library (ULL) has an extensive collection of British official publications and runs of some the main legal journals. Access is available to all UCL staff and students.

The library of the London School of Economics (LSE) is a depository for the European Union, United Nations and the United States Government and has extensive holdings of official publications from the UK and overseas. Reference access is available to all UCL students. Borrowing may be possible for staff.

The Union List of Serials lists the journal holdings for all parts of the University of London and is very useful for locating journal titles not held by UCL.

COPAC is a combined catalogue of the holdings of the major research universities in the UK and as such can be used to locate material not held by UCL.

More information about using other libraries and links to other library catalogues is available at; http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/otherlib.shtml.

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Contact details

For Information about our Library Training Programme covering use of the library, ejournals or specific databases - please see the following page at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/infoskill.shtml or arrange individual tuition with the Subject Librarian (contact details below).

If you have any problems in using the Library, come to the Enquiry Desk, or ask for the subject librarian for Law:

Suzanne Traue
Main Library, South Corridor, Room 105

E-mail: s.traue@ucl.ac.uk
Telephone: internal: 32588; external: 020 7679 2588

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Last modified 10 September 2012

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