Library Collections

Introduction

Middle Temple Library holds approximately 30,000 legal titles in 250,000 volumes, including legislation, case law, textbooks, student manuals, loose-leaf publications, journals and law reports. The Library collects legal texts in certain specialist subject areas such as banking, commercial law and arbitration, competition, employment, insurance, professional negligence and shipping, amongst others. We are also the specialist library for ecclesiastical law; more information on this collection is available below. The other three Inn libraries cover the remaining specialist subjects. The full list of these subject areas can be viewed in the Library Catalogue.

In addition, we offer access to a full range of legal resources for EU and American Law: see below for more information on these collections.

The Library's collection development policy is available to download via the right-hand side bar 

Capital Punishment Collection

The Capital Punishment Collection was founded in 2005 and is a growing collection of historical materials, textbooks, reports and personal accounts from countries around the world that still retain the death penalty. The largest portion covers the United States. Much of the material has been donated by Amicus, Amnesty International and interested individuals. It is housed on the third floor, alongside the American Collection, and can be searched in our online catalogue.

Digital Collections

We have a small but growing collection of digitised books. Currently these include rare books which are unique to our collection and links to law books digitised by other organisations, such as Archive.org or Google Books. 

Ecclesiastical Collection

The Ecclesiastical Collection was initiated in 1991 when the Ecclesiastical Judges' Association donated a set of (mostly unpublished) Consistory Court Reports to the library. Although other sources of ecclesiastical law can be found throughout the library, it is these transcripts which form the basis of the library's Ecclesiastical Collection.

Once the court reports are received, the library has undertaken to copy, index and bind them in chronological volumes, so that they are accessible for reading within the library. All aspects of the work of the Consistory Courts, such as churchyard maintenance, use of church property and disciplinary cases are covered in these judgments. The reports cover the period 1891-to present, and there is a consolidated index available for the first 22 volumes. The collection also includes textbooks on ecclesiastical law, which can be searched through the online catalogue. Members of the Ecclesiastical Law Society are welcome to use the collection.

Electronic Resources

The Library subscribes to major UK legal databases such as Justis, Lexis and Westlaw, some specialist databases such as E.I.N., and two American legal databases, HeinOnline and WestlawNext. The full list of both subscription and free databases is available on the E-Resources and E-Books page.

We can provide access to a selection of e-books for use in the Library, or on one of our Library iPads. See the E-Resources and E-books page for more information. [link to that page] We also provide an updated list of useful legal links, which is available Links for Lawyers page.

European Collection

The Library has a substantial collection of European Union materials covering treaties, secondary legislation, journals, textbooks, digests, case law and databases.  Legislation and case law from the Member States is also collected, including material in English from the new central and eastern European Member States. This collection also includes an extensive range of Human Rights case law and materials. Go to the European Collection page for further information, including a list of websites of use for legal research on European and Human Rights law.

Law reports, journals and other serial publications

The library holds an extensive range of law reports and journals, covering all aspects of the law and its jurisdictions within England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Europe, the United States and some of the Commonwealth.

Our earliest manuscript law reports date from 1490, with our earliest printed law reports dating from 1516. We also have complete sets of the Nominate Reports, which are the precursors to the official Law Reports (1865). In addition, the library holds all of the major series of law reports, including The Digest, The Weekly Law Reports and the All England Reports.

The library subscribes to the standard academic legal periodicals including Law Quarterly Review, Modern Law Review, Criminal Law Review and The Cambridge Law Journal. We subscribe to a wide range of European and American titles as well. Other holdings of note include a full run of the London Gazette dating back to 1665.

A printed union list of all four Inns' library holdings of law reports and journals currently being received is available in the library. Otherwise, all materials can be found by using our online catalogue.

Official Publications

The Library collects a wide range of government and parliamentary publications, including Statutes and Acts from 1235, secondary legislation, command papers, bills, Parliamentary papers and journals as well as subscribing to several specialist on-line services. Further information is available on the Official Publications page.

Rare Books & Manuscripts

The Rare Book & Manuscript Collection contains over 9,000 early printed books and approximately 300 manuscripts. The collection reflects the educational and personal interests of barristers spanning the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries. The collection contains significant early legal texts as well as a wide range of non-legal subjects, including history, poetry, travel, medicine, theology and science.

The first printed catalogue of the collection was produced in 1700, and since then the collections have been augmented significantly. All of the materials, including the manuscripts, have been catalogued: www.middletemplelibrary.org.uk. Our early printed books (up to 1800) are on COPAC, the union catalogue for collections in the UK. Further information, including conditions for access, can be found on the Rare Books and Manuscripts pages.

United States Collection

This collection covers a range of case law and legislation as well as journals and practitioners' texts for all major subject areas. See the United States Collection page for more information.