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Legal history: England & common law tradition: Home

Purpose of this guide

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

Use this guide to find out about sources and commentary for Anglo-American or common law legal history, including ebooks, ejournals, and databases.

History of the common law legal tradition: quick start

Some of the key online resources available to holders of an Oxford SSO are:

Online resources available to anyone with access to the internet

The Law Bod is Oxford University's principal repository of printed sources for the history of the laws of England. Manuscripts  - regardless of subject content -  are in the care of the Bodleian Special Collections in the Weston Library.

The Law Bod also has the principal collection for legal history research for those countries which are part of the common law or Anglo-American legal tradition.

On Level 2, the floor on which you enter the Law Library, there is a section of books with shelf marks beginning Legal Hist. This section has the biggest concentration of works on the original and development of the common law tradition in England - including both primary sources (year-books, Selden Society annual volumes) as well as textbooks and commentary, from modern editions of Glanvill & Bracton onwards.
But depending on your research interests, SOLO may well direct you to material in other sections of level 2 - or indeed other floors in the library.

The Books page in this guide should give you more help in finding things.

Other Bodleian Libraries

The nature of legal history studies may mean that searches in SOLO show that one or more of the Bodleian Reading Rooms also have useful titles.
The Bodleian History & History Faculty Library are about 15 minutes stroll from the LawBod, back towards the city centre in the Radcliffe Camera, the Gladstone Link and the Upper Reading Room of the central/old Bod.
The Vere Harmsworth Library (USA Collection) is a 15 minute walk to the north.
The English Faculty & Social Science Libraries are our immediate neighbours.

You may find these guides written by the subject specialists of the above named collections useful

The Library, All Souls College
Looks favourably on applications to use its collections for advanced legal historical research

Opportunities to learn, meet, and network!

Key libraries

Related Bodleian guides