There are several texts known as abridgments to the Year Books. They incorporate cases from the Year Books but also cases that do not appear in the Year Books but which come from that period. Generally, the cases are arranged by subject matter.
For a summary of the evolution of law reporting, see Origins in England from the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for the State of Queensland (ICLRQ). For more detailed information, see the books below.
This document shows the date ranges of various year books and locations of online and hard copy versions.
The first reported law cases appeared in the Year Books from the medieval period. The earliest examples date from about 1268, and the last in the printed series are for the year 1535. Year books are "anonymous compliations arranged chronologically by regnal year and law term. Their function orginally appears not to have been to record precedents as such, but to act as educational tools through which developments in the law were discussed." (Butterworths Legal Research Guide/Guy Holburn (2006) p.169)
Accessing Year Books
The Year Books are accessible through a range of resources. Some of the titles are given below, for a full list of year book titles and where they are available, see the document below.
See this list of hard copy year book resources held by the University of Melbourne.
Indexes and other resources
This contemporary index enables more comprehensive access to the content of the year books. Also includes Article and Book Bibliography listing articles and books that discuss the Year books (and the Abridgements) or employ them as principal sources.
This is a collaborative database on the published sources of English medieval legal documents, and provides links to the growing number of online sources currently being developed. It lists the reign of each monarch in the period and the year books that pertain to that year.
This book examines the history of the Year Book and its role in English law. An appendix includes facsimilies of yearbook entries along with a transliteration and translation of each.
This series of lectures examines the history, purpose and language of the Year Books.
From around 1535, court cases began to be published in a more systematic fashion. "The pattern was for reports to be issued by commercial publishers under the name of the particular law reporter, who usually covered a particular court. Because these reports are know by the reporter's name, they are referred to as nominate reports." (Butterworths Legal Research Guide/Guy Holburn (2006) p.168)
See this list of nominate reports held by the Law Library.
Many of the cases from nominate reports were reprinted in The English Reports. This series contains reprinted decisions of all English courts from 1220 to the commencement of the official Law Reports in 1866. The English Reports are in hard copy in the Law Library and available online through HeinOnline (UniMelb access), Justis (UniMelb access) and CommonLII (free). Nominate report cases were also reprinted in the Revised Reports. These are available in hard copy in the Law Library or online via HeinOnline (UniMelb access).
For a list of nominate reports, their abbreviations and locations in the English Reports, see the following sources:
When citing nominate reports, you should also include a parallel citation of the English Reports (or the Revised Reports) where available (Rule 23.1.3, Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd edition, p.238).
The Law Reports
The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting was established in 1865 as the authorised publisher of the official series of The Law Reports for the Superior and Appellate Courts of England and Wales. The Law Reports are still recognised as the authorised reports today.
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913, a fully searchable website of criminal cases held at London's central criminal court.
See also this guide for accessing Trials in the Old Bailey and the Central Criminal Court produced by The National Archives.
Reports and transcripts of historical trials are available through a number of sources.