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UWE Law Librarian’s Guide to using

Halsbury’s Laws
Halsbury’s Laws is an authoritative legal encyclopaedia and an excellent first step in researching a legal topic you are unfamiliar with. It is not a primary source, nor does it include the full text of any legislation or case law. However, it will provide a brief outline of what UK law stipulates on any given legal topic, and direct you to all of the relevant legislation (and some case law) which you need to be aware of. Information in Halsbury’s Laws is divided into paragraph numbers. Each paragraph number will outline what the current law says on specific topic. Each paragraph is accompanied by numbered footnotes which indicate relevant primary sources. This quick guide will outline how to use the different parts of Halsbury’s Laws in order to make sure you are referring to the correct and up-to-date legal authorities. Using Halsbury’s Laws of England


Consolidated Index
Lists legal topics, alphabetically. Directs you to where in main volumes the relevant entry can be found, e.g. 12(3) 607 (volume 12(3), paragraph number 607)


Main volumes
Descriptive paragraph and footnotes indicating relevant primary sources. Text in volume is up-to-date as at point in which volume was published.


Lists any amendments or updates since Cumulative Supplement. Issued monthly to bring you up-to-date to current month.


Cumulative Supplement
Lists amendments and updates to main text since main volume was published up to 31st December of preceding year.

Supplementary materials :

Monthly Review and Annual Abridgment
Summaries of relevant case law and legal developments arranged by subject area for that month / year. Includes references to relevant main volume of Halsbury’s Laws where appropriate.

Words and Phrases
Found at the end of the third volume of the indexes. Identifies where statutory definitions of legal terms can be found in the main volumes.

Consolidated Tables
Can be used to quickly identify where within Halsbury’s a specific case, Statute or section of a Statute or EC directive is discussed or mentioned.

Coping with the Fifth edition Halsbury’s Laws is currently being republished from its fourth edition (brown volumes) to its fifth edition (black volumes). This process is due to continue until at least 2014. During this time, follow the usual step-by-step process of using Halsbury’s, with the following additions to bear in mind:1) I have looked up my keyword in the index, and it has referred me to a paragraph in a 4th edition volume which is not on the shelves. - First, check that no one else is using it and it is not just sitting on someone’s desk. You could also check the online version to see if it still lists that 4th edition volume. If not, it could be that this volume has been superseded by a 5th edition volume. Check for a 5th edition volume which covers the topic areas you are looking at. Each individual volume has its own index, so then use that volume’s index to look up where in that volume the information you need now appears. 2) If I find the information I need in the 5th edition volumes, do I still need to follow this up with the Cumulative Supplement and the Noter-up? - Yes. always follow the process completely. The noter-up is split in two sections; updates for the fifth edition volumes follow on immediately after all of the updates for the 4th edition volumes. Even if the 5th edition volume you are interested in was published last month, there may still have been an update since then.