Case law

Cases are the beating heart of law. They are made by lawyers. Teams of lawyers come to court, armed full with legal precedents, ready to set those cases on the shifting sands of fact. The judge, himself a former participant, brings his own legal knowledge to hear the facts and arguments, and reach a conclusion; in turn producing a judgment which becomes part of the case law available in future cases.

All lawyers know that case law is essential. They learn this as students. However, the rigours of real world law practice militate against case law research. Case law research takes time and can be fruitless. Clients do not always wish to pay for it. As a student, you have a sensible prospect that a question posed will have a an answer and that that answer will be to hand in the available library. In real life, questions have no guarantee of answers. Answers are created, and sometimes this is not possible. The case law resources available to a lawyer outside very large practices are limited to one or two series of case reports. The chances that such resources will include any particular case are small, and many attempts at case law research end in frustration.
Practitioners come to specialise in smaller and smaller areas of law, and feel that case law is less relevant. This is a mistake. Readers of case law will see regularly that a judge’s decision in one area of law is informed, at the very least, by case law from another area of law.
Effective law practice is a creative process. A client calls in with a problem. A lawyer takes the situation, examines it from a slightly different aspect, and is able to construct an answer. That creativity is fed by the availability of a wider resource base than is encouraged by promoters of specialisation.

Our case law database makes such research much more effective, allowing case law research to become a practical possibility within daily practice.

The main advantages of this site over others are:

  • Range of coverage.
  • We have cases from 1222 until yesterday (and often today). More importantly, we have many cases from the ‘missing years’ from 1866 to 1996.
  • Flexibility. We are keen to respond to users to find a missing case, or to improve the notation for an existing case. Please just contact us at
  • Research facilities. We link to full text decisions as they come on line.

We list, at the moment (Aug 2020) some 267,000 cases of relevance to the practice of UK law. The lists from which they are derived number approximately 480,000. We are adding, just now, some 100 cases a day. As our systems improve, that number will rise.