Skip to Main Content

United States: legal resources: Home

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers studying the law and legal system of the United States of America 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 US law (federal and state), including ebooks, ejournals, and databases.

United States law: quick start

Holders of a current Oxford Single Sign On username and password will probably start their USA research moving between Westlaw US and HeinOnline (the latter particularly when it comes to US law journals). However, Lexis + UK also has both primary and secondary US materials

Sample of useful sites available to all with access to the internet

Level 2, the floor on which you enter the Law Lilbrary, has  the current collection of USA law dictionaries, textbooks, monographs etc . These are included in the sequence with shelf marks beginning K. For more detailed information, please look at the books page in this guide.

Level 3, one floor up from the entrance level, has printed primary sources of US law, ALI's Restatement of the Law, and post-2000 issues of some USA law journals. 

Ground Floor  This has earlier editions of specific works are located in a secondary collection ("sec coll" in shelf mark) and some other (generally older & rarely consulted) items, such as some of the oldest US law report series and pre-2000 law journal volumes not available electronically.

Closed Stack
SOLO searches may reveal that old printed volumes of legislation, some of the lesser used early law report series, and the oldest issues of USA law journals have been moved offsite. Holders of an Oxford Single Sign On username and password will be able to access their contents electronically, through subscription databases such as Westlaw US, HeinOnline, and LexisLibrary.
Visitors are welcome to recall the physical items to the Law Bod's Reading Room using the Hold & Request Option



Depending on the nature of your research, and especially if they have an interdisciplinary dimension with for example politics, economics or history, SOLO searches may reveal useful material held in other parts of the Bodleian. 

Holders of an Oxford SSO should see if the Westlaw US section Trial Court Documents (Motions, Pleadings, Jury Instruction Filings, 
Exhibits, Interrogatories) and Dockets. However readers who have had previous experience of a Westlaw US subscription while either at a US university or in a law firm may not find the collection as comprehensive as was available in their previous life.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator. PACER is provided by the Federal Judiciary

Please note that the Bodleian Law Library does not have any subscription to this source. Details about the fees for self-registration is available on the website, just follow the links.

Need to understand more about what PACER offers?
Use second link to find free online Training which will show you what type of documents and data you would be able to extract from PACER should you decide to go ahead.

Free alternatives to PACER

The two final links may be worth trying - especially for cases from 2004 onwards.

Related Bodleian guides

Key libraries

Original Author

The original work behind this Libguide was done by Ron Richenburg Reference & Interlibrary Loans - Senior Library Assistant