It is the written report of a case heard in the courts.
In common law countries the law is developed and expounded by the judges in the Courts. It can only be changed by legislation passed by Parliament, but even this must be interpreted and applied by the Courts. The higher tine Court, the more authority its decisions have, up to the House of Lords whose decisions bind all lower courts.
As a general rule each Court must follow the decisions of every court above it - this is the doctrine of judicial precedence. For this reason, lawyers and judges look to the case law to decide which decision to follow. This is often not easy to establish, and many cases may be referred to before a decision is reached.
The following three sets contain reports of cases regardless of their subject content.
|The Law Reports
Call Number: PR KF55
Published by the Incorporated Council for Law Reporting since 1865, is the semi-official law reports series, and is the largest and most authoritative set. Its arrangement has always reflected the court structure of the day, originally with 11 separate series containing reports from different courts. Today it is divided into four series one for each of the four major divisions of the higher courts as below. Issues appear monthly.
Law Reports. Queen's Bench Division - [QBD.]
Call Number: PR KF55 C86
Also published by the Incorporated Council, contains many cases which later appear in The Law Reports. Issues appear weekly, which makes it a useful source of more recent cases.
These other sets will select cases relevant to a specialised area of law. Examples of this type are: