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Legal History of Australia and the United Kingdom

Abridgments of the Year Books

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.

The Old Bailey Court Room (Source - Wikipedia)



History of Law Reporting

Other useful databases

List of Year Books (dates and locations)

This document shows the date ranges of various year books and locations of online and hard copy versions.

Year books

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 below.


Indexes and other resources

Law reports

Nominate Reports

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)


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.


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


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.

Old Bailey cases


Reports and transcripts of historical trials are available through a number of sources.

Australian court records