Finding Journals and Law Reports

A row of leather bound books fills the frame from left to right. The title 'Session Cases' and the year are embossed on the spines. The leather is blonde and each spine has a red and black square.

Session Cases, image courtesy of the Supreme Court Library team, SCTS

Law reports and journal articles become increasingly important as students progress through their studies and research, and finding them can be tricky at times.

The library has access to a plethora of reports and journals but not everything is available online. Although we continually look for online access wherever it is available there is material that we can only receive in print.

The main places to get online access to law reports and journals is through our legal databases – mainly Westlaw, LexisLibrary and HeinOnline.

The Law Subject guide includes a section on Law Reports and access to eBooks. There is also information on the hierarchy of law reports to help students decide which reference to use when citing cases.

What to do if we do not have full online access?

Students often contact us asking why they can only get an abstract to the item they want in the online databases. This is because we do not get full text (full online) access to everything within all the databases. Sometimes we only have access to the bibliographic details such as the reference and abstract. So how can you get a copy of the full item?

Staff and students can use the interlibrary loan service to request items. This service involves us requesting material from partner libraries. There is a limit on how much can be requested and full details are on the interlibrary loan pages:

In Edinburgh staff and students also can get access to the National Library of Scotland who have a great range of resources available from their own collection and also through their relationship with the Faculty of Advocates’ Library.

If you’ve tried all the above avenues and are still struggling to get access to what you need, drop us an email on law.librarian@ed.ac.uk for some help.

 

Session Cases: Celebrating 200 years of Scotland’s prestigious law report series

A row of leather bound books fills the frame from left to right. The title 'Session Cases' and the year are embossed on the spines. The leather is blonde and each spine has a red and black square.

Session Cases volumes 1971-1982, image courtesy of the Supreme Court Library team, SCTS.

This year the Scottish Council of Law Reporting celebrates 200 years of publishing Session Cases, Scotland’s most authoritative law report series. From the SCLR website:

The Session Cases law report series contains all the key appellate decisions, civil and criminal, from the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary in Scotland together with selected cases decided at first instance.

Also included in Session Cases are all decisions, as issued, on Scottish appeals to the House of Lords and to the Privy Council. All judgments are reported in full.

The judges who gave opinions (judgments) in each case have the opportunity to review the report before it is published – this gives Session Cases its unsurpassed authority in Scottish courts.

The first case ever published in Session Cases was Rev. Wm. Strang v Wm. McIntosh (1821) 1 S.5, dated 12 May 1821. You can access a copy of this case via our subscription databases Westlaw or Lexis Library UK, via the Law Databases page. If you’re not familiar with using these databases we have a recording of a session on Using Legal Databases available here (22 mins) There’s more information about SC and other law reports available via our subscription services on the Law Subject Guide ‘Law Reports’ page.

To mark this anniversary the Scottish Council of Law Reporting is running a poll to determine readers’ top three cases featured in Session Cases. They don’t have to be the most important cases, legally, but may be just a quirky case or one that has caught your interest. You can vote for your cases here: SurveyLegend Survey.

Another way SCLR marked this milestone was by creating a postgraduate research scholarship available to students in Scottish institutions studying Scots Law. The inaugural recipient of this award was Shona Warwick, a PhD candidate at Edinburgh. The scholarship will contribute to her tuition and living costs as she completes her PhD thesis on Leases and Licences in Scotland. From the SCLR headlines page describing Shona’s research:

For commercial landlords and tenants in Scotland, the common law, rather than legislation, is the source of most rules. Yet, despite its widespread practical importance, a lack of research has left the common law regarding leases and licences to occupy riddled with uncertainty. Through a historical study, this research sheds light for the first time on some of the most fundamental unanswered questions: it evaluates which occupancy agreements can be validly created, and how their formation requirements differ.

The announcement of Shona’s success featured in the Scottish Legal News bulletin in September last year. Shona is also the winner of one of the two Scottish Universities Law Institute (SULI) Scholarships. Congratulations Shona!