Guide last update by Katherine Read, August 2022
This guide was created by Katherine Read, Principal Library Assistant at the IALS Library.
This guide aims to give a brief introduction to the Library's holdings on Legal Research. Please consult the Library Catalogue for complete information on current titles and locations. If you require further assistance please contact us.
Tel (0)20 7862 5790
This Subject Guide only lists a selection of Library resources to assist with Legal Research. To find additional resources you will need to search the Library Catalogue, which covers the complete holdings of the Library. It is possible to search for books, journals and series of law reports by author, title or keyword. Please note it is not possible to search for individual chapters, journal articles or legislation (e.g. individual Acts or SIs).
IALS Library is mainly open access and readers are able to browse the shelves in the main collection. There are two main exceptions to this:
Please request these at the Library Enquiry Desk.
For more information on understanding the catalogue record and further guidance on the location of materials please refer to our guide Classmarks and the Location of Resources in the Library.
The Library classifies textbooks either by jurisdiction (GO13, GA2 etc.) or according to subject area, examples of which include Comparative Law (SB), Public International Law (SG) and Private International Law/ Conflict of Laws (SH). Textbooks on Common Law topics for Common Law jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA) are shelved in a special section (SJ). All classmark sections have a FOL section for oversize volumes, which is located on the same floor of the Library.
When you are searching the Library Catalogue for books, please note that only the current edition is held on the open shelves or in the Short Loan collection. IALS has a rich collection of previous editions held in the closed basement and these will display a Depository number on the catalogue. Please request previous editions from the Library Enquiry Desk.
Guides to research skills are mainly shelved at RF60
The following list represents a selection of textbooks on research skills. Please check the catalogue records for further information and location:
Armstrong, J. Where the law is: an introduction to advanced legal research 2018
Allbon, E. Legal Research: a practitioner's handbook 3rd ed. 2019
Bell, J. Doing your research project 6th ed. 2014 reprint.
Barkan, S. et al. Fundamentals of legal research 10th ed. 2015
Blaxter, L. et al. How to research. 3rd ed. OUP 2010 (e-book)
The Bluebook: a uniform system of citation 20th ed. 2015
Bradney, A. How to study law 9th ed. 2021
Cryer, R. et al. Research methodologies in EU and international law 2011
Finch, E. & Fafinski, S. Legal skills 6th ed. 2017
Grant, F. Legal research skills for Scots lawyers 4th ed. 2021
Hanson, S. Learning legal skills and reasoning 2016
Higgins, E & Tatham, L. Successful legal writing 2015
Hoffman, M. International and foreign legal research: a coursebook 2nd ed. 2013
Holborn, G. Butterworths legal research guide. 2nd ed. 2001
Holland, J.A. Learning legal rules : a students’ guide to legal method and reasoning 9th ed. 2016
Howard, K. et al. Management of a student research project 3rd ed. 2002
Hutchinson, T. Researching and writing in law. 2006
Kenny, P.H. Studying law. 5th ed. 2002
Knowles, J. Effective legal research 4th ed. 2016
Lomio, J. Paul et al. Legal research methods in a modern world 3rd ed. 2011
May, T. Social research. Issues, methods and process. 5th ed. OUP 2022
Morris, C. & Murphy, C. Getting a PhD in law 2011
Olson, Kent C. Principles of legal research. 2nd ed. 2015
Reynolds, T. & Flores, A. Foreign law: current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions of the world 2000- Brill (e-book)
Riley, A. & Sours, P. Common Law legal English and grammar: a contextual approach 2014
Salter, A. & Mason, J. Writing law dissertations: an introduction and guide to the conduct of legal research 2007
Watkins, D. & Burton, M. Research methods in law 2nd ed. 2018
Webley, L. Legal writing 4th ed. 2016
Williams, G. & Smith, A. (ed.) Glanville Williams: learning the law 17th ed. 2020
Winterton, J. & Moys, E. Information sources in law 2nd ed. 1997
Zillman, D. & Roth, E.J. Strategic legal writing 2008
Eagle-i is an internet portal maintained and updated by IALS library staff. It allows you to search for quality web resources on banking and financial law.
A valuable free source is BAILII, the British and Irish Legal information Institute which is based and maintained at IALS. It provides free access to full text UK judgments and legislation on a wide range of subjects including banking and financial law and also links to other free World Law databases. Jurisdictions covered in these resources include Commonwealth countries eg. AustLII (Australia) and CanLII (Canada), France, Germany, Italy, the USA and South Africa.
The following represent a sample of the available quality individual web resources which may help with your legal research:
FLAG Foreign Law Guide
A guide to finding printed sources of legislation and law reports for foreign jurisdictions in UK libraries
FLARE Treaty database
A searchable database of basic information on mainly multilateral treaties. Further information available
Globalex provides an introduction to legal information sources with hyperlinks for a wide range of jurisdictions and areas of international law.
Bodleian Law Library Research Guides A wide selection of subject and jurisdiction guides with hyperlinks to further sources.