This is the "Finding legislation" page of the "Legislation" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Legislation  

A guide to finding legislation both in print and online, in the IALS Library and further afield
Last Updated: Aug 18, 2016 URL: http://libguides.ials.sas.ac.uk/legislation Print Guide RSS Updates

Finding legislation Print Page
  Search: 
 
 

Update information

Last updated:

Lisa Davies, June 2013

 

About the author

This guide was updated by Lisa Davies, Access Librarian at the IALS Library.

Click here for Lisa's full profile and contact details.

Need assistance?

Reference Desk hours:

Monday-Friday 9:30-17:00
Tel (0)20 7862 5790
Email ials@sas.ac.uk

      
     

    Your comments

    We'd love to hear your comments about this Research Guide. Leave a comment here or drop us an email.

     

    The classification of legislation at IALS

    Legislation is arranged in the library according to jurisdiction and is identified by the letter E in the middle of the classmark, for example;

    GA2.E.1   Great Britain: Statutes in force

    If you are unsure of the location of that classmark in the library, check the floor directory or the guide to Classmarks and the Location of Resources in the Library.

     

    Finding legislation for a particular jurisdiction

    Finding printed legislation for a particular jurisdiction

    There are a number of different ways to find out which series of legislation the library has for a particular jurisdiction.

    Method 1

    Look up the jurisdiction and the sub-heading Legislation on the List of Serials. This gives you the general classmark and the location in the library. For example;

    DENMARK. Legislation GO9.E
    GHANA. Legislation GH3.E
    GREAT BRITAIN. Legislation GA2.E

    Once you know the general classmark you can then run a Classmark search on the Library Catalogue to find out the names of the series of legislation held in the library. Note down the full classmark.

    Method 2

    Search by Subject on the Library Catalogue for law and the jurisdiction you are interested in, for example;

    law denmark

    This will let you view all of the legislation we hold on that jurisdiction and give you the classmark.

    Method 3

    Check the relevant Jurisdiction Research Guide, or International Law Research Guide if available, as they will introduce you to the key series of legislation. Alternatively, check the Foreign Law Guide database which gives details of the printed (and electronic) sources of legislation for almost every country. When you have the title of the series, run a Title search on the Library Catalogue to see if it is held in the library and to find the classmark.

    Notes on finding codified legislation in the library

    The codes of civil law countries are treated as books at IALS and therefore are not denoted by the letter E. There are a couple of ways to find codified legislation at IALS:

    Method 1

    Look up the jurisdiction and the title of the code on the Library Catalogue using the Author / Title option, for example;

    france / code civil

    Hint: If you are unsure of the title of the code, check the Jurisdiction Research Guide, if available. Alternatively check the Foreign Law Guide database which gives details of the printed (and electronic) sources of legislation for almost every country.

    Method 2

    Look up the subject of the code and the jurisdiction on the Library Catalogue using the Subject search option, for example;

    civil law france

    Finding electronic legislation for a particular jurisdiction

    The library has a wide range of electronic sources of legislation available via its Electronic Law Library. For instance, Lexis Library contains legislation for many jurisdictions, including the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand; Westlaw provides legislation for the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong; Beck-Online provides German legislation; and LexisNexis JurisClasseur has French legislation. 

    If you aren't sure which database covers your jurisdiction:

    Once you have logged in to your chosen database:

    1. Select the relevant section of the database as necessary e.g. UK legislation and use the search options provided. Refer to the Quick Guides to Key Databases and the help pages for individual databases as necessary.

    2. You will have the option to print, download or email the statute or regulation.

    3. If your search is unsuccessful check any alternative databases which may include legislation for that jurisdiction, try using print resources, or refer to Finding legislation not held in the library below.

    Back to TOP

     

    Finding a specific piece of legislation

    Finding printed legislation

    It is not possible to search for individual statutes or statutory instruments on the Library Catalogue as they are not catalogued individually. If you would like to check if a specific piece of legislation is available in print in the library try the following steps:

    1. Check the indexes / tables of the relevant legislation series. Please refer to the above section on Finding printed series of legislation in the library if you are unsure which series are available.

    2. Check the digests for the relevant jurisdiction.

    Finding electronic legislation

    The library has a wide range of electronic sources of legislation available via its Electronic Law Library. For instance, Lexis Library contains legislation for many jurisdictions, including the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand; Westlaw provides legislation for the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong; Beck-Online provides German legislation; and LexisNexis JurisClasseur has French legislation. 

    If you aren't sure which database covers your jurisdiction:

    Once you have logged in to your chosen database:

    1. Select the relevant section of the database as necessary e.g. UK legislation and use the search options provided. You will normally have the option to search by legislation title. Refer to the Quick Guides to Key Databases and the help pages for individual databases as necessary.

    2. You will have the option to print, download or email the statute or regulation.

    3. If your search is unsuccessful check any alternative databases which may include legislation for that jurisdiction, try using print resources, or refer to Finding legislation not held in the library below.

    Back to TOP

     

    Finding legislation on a subject

    If you are looking for legislation on a specific subject you may like to try the following options.

    Finding printed legislation on a particular subject

    1. Check the indexes / tables of the relevant legislation series, as they are often arranged by subject, e.g. Halsbury's statutes of England and Wales (GA2.E.40)

    2. Check digests and encyclopaedias for the relevant jurisdiction. These generally summarise legislation for specific jurisdictions by subject, e.g. Australian current law (GD1.H.6)

    3. Textbooks will provide a good introduction to the key pieces of legislation in a particular area of law.

    Finding electronic legislation on a particular subject

    The library has a wide range of electronic sources of legislation available via its Electronic Law Library. For instance, Lexis Library contains legislation for many jurisdictions, including the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand; Westlaw provides legislation for the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong; Beck-Online provides German legislation; and LexisNexis JurisClasseur has French legislation. 

    If you aren't sure which database covers your jurisdiction:

    Once you have logged in to your chosen database:

    1. Select the relevant section of the database as necessary e.g. UK legislation and use the search options provided. You will normally have the options of searching by subject, keyword, or in the full-text of the legislation. Refer to the Quick Guides to Key Databases and the help pages for individual databases as necessary.

    2. You will have the option to print, download or email the statute or regulation.

    3. If your search is unsuccessful check any alternative databases which may include legislation for that jurisdiction, try using print resources, or refer to the section on Finding legislation not held in the library below, which gives tips on finding legislation that is freely available online.

    Back to TOP

     

    Finding legislation not held in the library

    If you need to locate legislation which is not available in the Library in either printed or electronic form here are some suggestions for tracking it down in another library or on the internet:

    • Search the FLAG Foreign Law Guide database. This is an inventory database of the holdings of primary legal materials for foreign jurisdictions of academic and national libraries around the UK. You can search by country and type of legal material to discover which libraries in the UK hold legislation for the relevant jurisdiction.
    • Check the Eagle-i internet portal to see whether there is any freely available legislation for that jurisdiction on the web;
    • Check WorldLII for links to freely available online legislation.
    • Check the Foreign Law Guide database which gives details of electronic and printed sources of legislation for almost every country.

    If you require further assistance please ask the staff at the Issue & Enquiry Desk on the 4th floor or contact the reference desk

    Back to TOP

     

    Checking if legislation is in force

    There are a number of publications to help you find an answer to this question, depending on jurisdiction.

    For England and Wales, the Halsbury’s Statutes series includes two volumes:

    Is it in Force? A guide to the commencement of the statutes of England and Wales and of Scotland passed since 1 January 1960. This gives dates of royal assent for statutes, and dates of commencement for different section, and an indication of what is not in force.

    Halsbury’s Statutes Citator A guide to the current status of statutes. The laws are listed alphabetically by year, with details of any amendments, repeals, etc.

    Both Lexis Library and Westlaw can be used to find out if a law is in force.

    Please note that for UK legislation, the default on Lexis Library and Westlaw is to show legislation with amendments.

    For other jurisdictions, look for a citator, index or updated table of legislation in either the legislation sequence on the shelves or in the digest sequence, e.g. for Canada look in GC1.E (the legislation sequence) or GC1.H (the digest sequence).

    Online sources are available for certain jurisdictions and are often quicker to publish the amended and updated versions of the law. See our Databases guide if you are unsure which database to use and refer to the help pages on your chosen database.

    Back to TOP

    Description

    Loading  Loading...

    Tip