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United Kingdom Legal Research: Introduction

This guide will help with your United Kingdom Legal Research.

UK legal research books


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name for four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have been united under a single Parliament through a series of Acts of Union. The United Kingdom has recently undergone a period of devolution with the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales (see separate tabs for information on these specific jurisdictions). 

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy (a government that is established under a constitution but retains a monarch as the head of state). The duties, functions and powers of the monarch are conscribed by convention. The constitution does not exist in a single written document but consists of statute law, case law and parliamentary conventions.

The parliament is bicameral, with the first chamber, the House of Commons, directly elected. The second chamber, the House of Lords, consists of elected hereditary peers, life peers, Law Lords and bishops, most of whom are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The House of Lords is in the process of being reformed (for more information on this reform, see University College London Constitution Unit).

Sources: Globalex Guide to UK Legal Research, Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Law Library of Congress

UK legal research online guides

UK country information

For general and statistical information about the UK, see:

Union Jack

The Union Jack Flag MOD 45153521

Source: National Archives (via Wikimedia)

A great place to start

Halsbury's Laws of England on LexisNexis AU is a good starting point for your research into any aspect of UK law. This encyclopedia is arranged alpabetically by topic and provides up to date commentary and links to relevant caselaw and legislation.

Latest UK Legal News from the Inner Temple Library

Daily legal news feed from the Inner Temple Library


Halsbury's Law Exchange - topical law blog