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Judges and the law
Judges and the law

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4.2.4 The Law Reports

These are the case reports produced by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales. They have the distinct advantage of containing summaries of counsels’ arguments and, perhaps even more importantly, they are subject to revision by the judges in the case before they are published. Not surprisingly, the Law Reports are seen as the most authoritative of reports and it is usual for them to be cited in court cases in preference to any other report.

The current series of Law Reports, from 1891, is issued annually in four parts:

Appeal Cases(AC)
Chancery Division(Ch.)
Family Division(Fam.)
King's/Queen's Bench(KB/QB)

Delays in reporting can obviously mean that cases decided in one year are not reported until the following year. Since the start of the current series, individual volumes of reports carry the year of publication in square brackets together with a volume number if there is a need for more than one. Cases are cited, therefore, by the year and volume in which they are published, rather than the year they were decided.