Key resources for law

Key Resources for Law

There are many different resources available to help you with your wider reading and research. You’ll find some essential resources to explore for Law in the sections below.

If you want to find the best academic resources for research and evidence to inform your practice, this page is a great place to start. Use these resources alongside your recommended reading from your tutors to extend your research into new areas.

Books & eBooks

Books and eBooks in the Library collection not only reflect the titles on your Library Reading Lists but also offer titles for background and wider reading. The majority of the books you’ll need for Law can be found at St. Peter’s Library

All books and eBooks available at Sunderland are listed on Library Search.  Find Law print textbooks in the library using the shelfmark. 

What new books and eBooks has the library bought recently?

The library have purchased a number of books for law over the last year which you can view on our New Books List.

Find books in St. Peter’s Library

Accessing eBooks

Academic Journals

The Library subscribes to 1000’s of journals, that you can access online.

The most effective way of searching is to use Library Search so that you can search across all available sources.

Start your search at the library web page. Enter your title or keywords into the search box. You will be taken to the Library Search results page, where you can review and filter your results.

To access any of our online journals you need to be logged on with your University of Sunderland login details. This ensures that you are accessing the journal through our subscription.

Alternatively if you know the title of the Journal you would like to search for select the ‘Journal Titles’ option from the library web page. It is easier to start at our website and follow a link from there to the journal or specific article but sometimes you will need to log in once you are on the publisher’s website.

Help Searching for journals and articles on Library Search

    • The “Getting started with Library Search” video explains how to access our ejournal collections. By using ‘Library Search’ you will discover a huge number of journal articles and other resources relevant to your studies and research in these key journals and beyond.

Types of sourcesYou will need to use a variety of primary and secondary information sources when studying Law:

Law reports
Published volumes of the decisions of the courts. Law reports are available through online subscription databases such as Lexis+ UK and Westlaw UK, which can be accessed through Database Search

Statutes (Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments)
Theses are also available through online databases such as Lexis+ UK and Westlaw UK as well as sites such as

Academic journals and periodicals
You can search for journal articles on Library Search, or search for the journal title using Journal Titles. You will be able to access the full-text of many journal articles available through Library Search.

Textbooks (teaching texts) and monographs (specialist works) are available in the Library. Some are available as e-books which you can read both on and off campus. Check Library Search for availability.

Bibliographic works and encyclopaedia
These are reference works which are useful for definitions. They include Halsbury’s Laws of England which is available both online through Lexis+ UK and in print (historic collection – no longer updated) in the library.

You can access the key databases for Law from the Library website Database Search

Remember to log in to databases with your University user ID and password.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations 

This database allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law.


HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library is comprehensive, beginning with the first issue ever published of more than 1,800 law and law-related periodicals. Includes more than 26 million pages of articles, comments, notes, book reviews, cases, decisions, and legislation.

Use HeinOnline English Reports to access more than 100,000 of the most important early English cases that laid the foundation for the laws of nations under the British Empire and influenced the development of laws across many lands.

Law Trove

Law Trove provides full text access to 200 Oxford University Press (OUP) Law eBooks with simple navigation that allows you to search across the whole collection.

Lexis+ UK

Lexis+ UK includes annotated legislation, cases, forms, precedents and commentary. It includes Halsbury’s Laws, ICLR Law Reports, UK Acts, Statutory Instruments, the Encyclopaedia of Forms & Precedents, definitions of legal terms, over 80 leading journals.

Lexis+ UK have produced a number of training documents and videos and you can get to these by clicking on ‘Help’ in the top right of the Lexis+ UK homepage.

Lexis has also put some more introductory videos here : Lexis+ UK Video Hub

Lexis+ UK can be found from Database Search on the Library website.

Westlaw UK

Databases of case law, legislation, journals, commentary, specialist textbooks (eBooks), Current Awareness alerts and EU legal materials.

Westlaw: User guides (log-in with your University details to access)

In addition to subscription legal databases such as LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK there are other useful resources which are freely available on the web:


On BAILII you can find British and Irish case law and legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations 

This database allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law.


CommonLII provides free access to Commonwealth and Common Law, including 1430 databases from 60 Commonwealth and common law jurisdictions.


EUR-Lex provides free access, in the 24 official EU languages, to European Union law.  This database covers many types of texts produced mostly by the institutions of the European Union, but also by Member States, EFTA, etc.

European Court of Human Rights

Find out more about the ECHR, and access records of its decisions.

FLAG (Foreign Law Guide)

The FLAG database gives legal researchers details about holdings of foreign, international and comparative law in the UK’s academic, national and specialist law libraries – find out where to find foreign law in UK libraries.


Use this website for links to government services and information.

Hansard (the Official Report)

An edited, verbatim report of proceedings of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

HM Courts & Tribunal Service

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales. This website includes daily court lists and  information about Court and Tribunal fees.

The Intellectual Property Office

The IPO is the official government body responsible for granting Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom.  Find information on all types of IP, including patents, trade marks, designs, and copyright.


The Justice website contains resources for legal professionals, including: civil, family and criminal procedure rules, daily court lists, prison finder, prison and probation instructions, youth justice toolkits and practice materials.

The Law Commission

The Law Commission is the statutory independent body created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law under review and to recommend reform where it is needed. The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the law is fair, modern, simple, and effective.

The Law Society

The Law Society represents solicitors in England and Wales.  The Law Society helps, protects and promotes solicitors by negotiating with and lobbying the profession’s regulators, government and others; and offering training and advice.

This website is managed by The National Archives on behalf of HM Government and carries most types of UK Legislation. It includes UK Acts from 1267-present, Statutory Instruments, local acts, church measures.

UK Parliament

The UK Parliament website includes links to Hansard, progress of current and draft bills before Parliament, parliamentary publications and archives.

UK Public General Acts

All Public General Acts in full-text from 1988 onwards, and PDF where available for 1837-1987.  Explanatory notes are published alongside Acts since 1999.

UK Statutory Instruments

Full-text of all Statutory Instruments since 1987.


The World Legal Information Institute provides free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law, including 1,815 databases from 123 jurisdictions.


Newspapers can be useful as both primary and secondary sources of information. As well as providing commentary on events, such as high profile legal cases,  newspaper articles can provide insight on how an event or incident was reported in the media.

Global Newsstream – Gives access to many contemporary news sources from around the world – find out more about on our blog.

Referencing using OSCOLA

Being able to accurately cite the source you have used in your work is an important academic skill.

Citing correctly:

          • Provides the relevant legal authority to support your work
          • Enables the reader to find the sources you have used
          • Helps you to avoid plagiarism as you are acknowledging where you have used other people’s work or ideas
          • Demonstrates the range of research and variety of sources you used while preparing your work
          • Strengthens and supports your arguments by providing evidence from reliable and trustworthy sources.

There are various styles of citation but although these vary in style the same principle applies: you are giving the reader all the information they need in order to trace your source item.

OSCOLA referencing

Sunderland Law School uses the OSCOLA [Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities] system, a specialist referencing system for Law.

You can find both the full 4th ed. OSCOLA guide, and the Quick Start Guide on the OSCOLA website.

Once you are familiar with the concepts and examples in the full guide, you will find the Quick Start guide a useful quick-reference document.

On the same website, you can also find useful FAQs about OSCOLA

Information Services staff at Cardiff University have produced a helpful online tutorial on Citing the Law: Referencing Using OSCOLA

Cite Them Right is a guide to help you get started with the principles of citing and referencing and contains an excellent overview of OSCOLA and referencing legal materials.

For further help and support in developing your referencing skills, see our Library & Study Skills guides or book a 1-2-1 with a Study Skills Advisor or for quick referencing queries, chat to us on Library Talk 24/7.

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an on-demand TV & Radio streaming service for education and research. It contains over 2 million broadcasts from over 65 free-to-air channels including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and more.  You can find a complete list of channels here.

As well as giving stable, legal access to broadcast content, BoB offers some exciting features for teaching and learning.

          • Links to broadcasts or clips can be embedded into presentations, or embedded into Canvas.
          • Advanced search: It’s possible to search BoB by subject or program as well as by date e.g. it’s possible to see everything broadcast from a date in time.
          • Clips and notes: You can use slider bars on a broadcast to create clips and write annotations on those clips. It’s possible to put these clips into a compilation. No extra software is needed.
          • Playlists: Tutors can create playlists, with annotations, and make these available publicly, to a cohort, or keep them private in a workspace. There are over 80,000 publicly available playlists, and it’s possible to search these by curator, keyword, or institution. Playlists can include programmes, individual broadcasts, clips or clip compilations
          • Transcripts: BoB also offers transcripts, which would be helpful for accessibility, language comprehension, and quoting for essays. Transcripts are fully searchable by keyword

You need to log in with your university ID and password, and then enter your email address and name (one time only) to create an account within BoB. It should work in all internet browsers, but Chrome seems to be working the best at the moment. Due to licensing restrictions, BoB can only be used in the United Kingdom.

Conferences and Conference Proceedings

Find conferences to attend

Conference Alerts indexes many academic conferences. Browse by topic or by country.

Find Conference Proceedings

Zetoc is a British Library service which indexes over 100,000 conference proceedings.

Some conference proceedings may be available on Google Scholar.

What new books and eBooks have the library recently bought? 


PhD theses can be useful sources of unpublished information. University of Sunderland theses are added to the Sunderland Repository. You may find theses from other universities via EThOS or PQDT Open.

SURE (Sunderland Repository)
Search research written by University of Sunderland staff.

EThOS (e-theses online service) –  from the British Library
EThOS is the UK’s national thesis service with approximately 400,000 records relating to theses awarded by over 120 institutions. Around 160,000 of these also provide access to the full text.

PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge where the author has opted to publish as open access. This includes international Universities