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Law: Home

The hub for the Bodleian Law Library's online subject guides
Subjects: Jurisprudence, Law

Purpose of this guide

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

Use this guide to find out about books and online resources for law and jurisprudence (legal philosophy), including ebooks, ejournals and databases.

Finding legislation and case law : key databases

Legislation and case law (specifically the ratio decidendi - legal principle - of the judgment) are primary sources of law in the jurisdictions of the UK.

Holders of an Oxford SSO.
For Oxford's home jurisdictions - England & Wales, UK - holders of an Oxford SSO have two major legal databases which give them access to domestic legislation  (acts of parliament - also called statutes - and statutory instruments), and  combined, most (but not all) of the published English law report series. Both also are rich sources of the transcripts of the decisions of the English, Scottish & UK law courts. 

Reliable sites available to all with access to the internet are

For guidance on finding statutes and case law from other Anglo-American or common law jurisdictions, and the text of treaties and international conventions please use the guides available from the Sources of Law page in this guide which can be reached by the tab above or link below.

If your interest is in the legislation and court decisions of other jurisdictions or legal systems, we may have a separate guide which can help:

Finding books for law

Oxford has a wide range of ebooks and print books for those studying or researching law and legal philosophy. The majority of the print books are held  in the Bodleian Law Library. The print collection in the Law Library is shelved over four floors, with seating for readers on each floor. All floors are connected by both stairs and a lift. There is an Enquiry Desk just inside the entrance with staff always present to answer any questions you may have about using the Law Bod.
Note: the entire print collection in the Bodleian Law Library is reference only: they can only be read in the Law Library.

Law Reserve Collection
This is a collection of high demand Reading List titles. Please ask for any book in the Reserve Collection at the Law Enquiry Desk, bringing your University or Bodleian Reader's Card with you.

Our Topic and Jurisdiction guides have more tips on how and where to find the treaties, legislation, case law, commentary (books, ebooks) and journal articles relevant for their study.

The Bodleian Law Library's book collection is discoverable by searching Oxford University's online catalogue called SOLO

If you need help with SOLO, take a look at the guide below for tips on searching, managing results and using your SOLO account.

Open Access Law Books - available to anyone with access to the internet

Key journals for English law

A lot of journals, as well as being available in print, are available electronically and can be discovered by searching  SOLO.

Holders of an Oxford SSO will find that between the Journals sections of both Westlaw Edge UK and Lexis + UK they have online access to the majority of the major law journals published in England/UK - at least for the issues 1986 onwards. For earlier issues, it may be that there is another online provider available -  the third link below is an example of an important English law journal (Modern Law Review MLR) for which choice of database will depend on age of issue. 
Our Topic and Jurisdiction guides have more tips on the specialist law journals which are important for their study.

Law journals can be difficult to find using SOLO, so the Law Library has devised our own online tool to help

Finding peer-reviewed Open Access journals

Key legal databases

Oxford subscribes to many databases for law.  Two key ones will be already familiar from above, but below are a couple more of the most frequently used.  Our Topic and Jurisdiction guides will indicate which databases are available/best for their study. The quickest way to see all the legal databases that are available is to visit the Law Library's webpage Legal Databases at Oxford

Interdisciplinary interests? If you would like to search for and browse all databases the University subscribes to, you can do so through our dedicated Databases A-Z platform or SOLO.

Key library

Related Bodleian Guides

UK legal theses : current and completed