8.4.1 Modern English reports

(a) Official reports

The official reports for England and Wales are called the Law Reports and are published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales. Cite to the Law Reports where possible.

The current main series in the Law Reports are the Appeal Cases (AC), Chancery Division (Ch), Family Division (Fam), and Queen’s Bench (QB).

A fuller list of the main series in the Law Reports is included in Appendix 4.

(b) WLR

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales also publishes the Weekly Law Reports (WLR). Unlike the Law Reports, the WLR do not include the argument of counsel. Because they are published by the Council, where available use the WLR in preference to unofficial report series.

Eg Universal Thermosensors Ltd v Hibben [1992] 1 WLR 840 (Ch).

NOT Universal Thermosensors Ltd v Hibben [1992] 3 All ER 257 (Ch).

Volume 1 of the WLR contains cases that the Council does not intend to publish in the Law Reports. Volumes 2 (January to June) and 3 (July to December) contain cases that will later be published in the Law Reports. Accordingly, only cite to volumes 2 and 3 if the case has not yet been published in the Law Reports; there may be changes in the Law Reports version.

Eg Foskett v McKeown [2001] 1 AC 102 (HL).

NOT Foskett v McKeown [2000] 2 WLR 1299 (HL).

8.4.2 Nominate reports

(a) Background

The English nominate reports are a group of unofficial report series that were produced privately between 1220 and 1867. These reports are often named after the person or persons who were their publishers or reporters. Each series has its own volume numbers and pagination. Well-known cases are commonly reported in a number of different nominate reports and it is quite common for these reports to be substantially different.

Nearly all of the nominate reports have been collected together and reprinted. The first reprint series was published as the Revised Reports. Another series is the English Reports.

(b) Method of citation

Cite the nominate reports by giving the nominate report citation followed by the citation to either the English Reports or the Revised Reports. Cite to the English Reports in preference to the Revised Reports. Separate the two citations by a comma and give the year of the case only once after the case name.

Eg Re Beloved Wilkes’s Charity (1851) 3 Mac & G 440, 42 ER 330 (Ch).

A list of abbreviations to the various nominate reports can be found in the “Index Chart” that accompanies the English Reports. For abbreviations for nominate reports not included in the English Reports, a complete list of abbreviations may be found in the first volume of the Consolidated Table of Cases in Halsbury’s Laws of England.

(c) Court identifier

Where the court can be identified, indicate this in the usual way. A list of court identifiers is given in rule 8.4.3. If there is no standard abbreviation for the relevant court, the name may be written out in full.

Eg Vernon v Wright (1858) 7 HLC 34, 11 ER 15 (HL).

Although the name of the court may not appear at the start of the report, it can usually be identified by turning to the first page of the particular volume of the reprinted nominate report.

(d) Pinpoint reference

When giving a pinpoint reference to a nominate report, make reference to both the page number in the nominate report and the page in the reprint being cited.
Eg Saunders v Vautier (1841) 4 Beav 115 at 116, 49 ER 282 (Ch) at 282.

When making a subsequent reference to a nominate report in a footnote, cite the page number of the nominate report. A subsequent reference to Saunders v Vautier, using the “, above n x,” format, would take this form:
Eg Saunders v Vautier, above n 3, at 117.

8.4.3 Court identifiers

(a) Early law reports

Pre-1875, it is not always easy or possible to determine which court decided a particular reported case. Accordingly, in this period it may not be possible to include court identifiers. Where it is possible to identify the court, use the following court identifiers:


Court of Chancery

Court of Common Pleas

Court for Crown Cases Reserved

Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes

Court of Exchequer

Court of Exchequer Chamber

Court of King’s Bench

Court of Probate

Court of Queen’s Bench

High Court of Admiralty



Comm Pleas

Cr C R

Div & Mat


Exch Ch





Eg Moses v Macferland (1706) 2 Burr 1005, 97 ER 676 (KB).
Eg Jeffrey v Coles (1747) Willes 634, 125 ER 1359 (Comm Pleas).
Eg Collen v Wright (1857) 8 EL & BL 645, 120 ER 241 (Exch Ch).

If it is possible to identify the court but there is no standard abbreviation, write the name of the court out in full.

(b) Modern reports

For post-1875 cases, include a court identifier for every case where there is no neutral citation. Use the following court identifiers:

Supreme Court

House of Lords

Privy Council

Court of Appeal

Court of Criminal Appeal

Chancery Division

Family Division

King’s Bench

Queen’s Bench





Crim App





Note that when citing an English case in one of the official reports it is always necessary to give a court identifier (where there is no neutral citation) as all of the official reports include reports of decisions from more than one court.

8.4.4 Neutral citations

When available, use an official neutral citation before the report specific citation.

The House of Lords, Privy Council and Court of Appeal adopted neutral citation in 2001. All Supreme Court judgments have a neutral citation. The courts and divisions of the High Court adopted neutral citation in 2002 (except for the Administrative Court, which adopted neutral citation in 2001).
Eg Nationwide Building Society v Dunlop Haywards (DHL) Ltd [2009] EWHC 254 (Comm), [2010] 1 WLR 258.

Appendix 4 sets out the full list of court identifiers used in neutral citations.

Note that some earlier decisions have been given what look like neutral citations by the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII). These are not official and should not be used.

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