Middle Temple Library holds approximately 250,000 volumes covering English law, including legislation, case law, textbooks, student manuals, loose-leaf publications, journals and legal databases. 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. 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 the full range of legislative materials and government publications as well as legal resources for European and American Law: see below for more information on these collections.
We are also the specialist library for ecclesiastical law; more information on this collection is available below.
Law reports, periodicals and other serial publications
The library holds an extensive range of law reports and periodicals, 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 periodicals currently being received is available in the library. Otherwise, all materials can be found by using our online catalogue.
The Library subscribes to major UK legal databases such as Lexis and Westlaw, some specialist databases such as E.I.N., and two American legal databases, HeinOnline and Westlaw U.S. The full list of both subscription and free databases is available on the Electronic Resources page .
We also provide an updated list of useful legal links, which is available Links for Lawyers page.
We have a small collection of core legal texts available on cd-rom, such as the White Book, which is available to use in the Library.
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.
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.
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.
All aspects of the work of the Consistory Courts, such as churchyard maintenance, use of church property, stained glass window design and disciplinary cases are covered in these judgments.
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. The first 22 volumes, bound in Ecclesiastical purple, cover the period 1891 to 2005 and work is continuing on subsequent years, with 2009 the latest volume bound. A consolidated index has also been produced and can be purchased in the library. The index is also available through the web pages of the Ecclesiastical Law Society at: www.ecclawsoc.org.uk.
The library catalogue should be consulted to locate all sources of information on ecclesiastical law.
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 middle 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 both European and Human Rights law.
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 Library holds approximately 9,000 early printed books and 300 manuscripts. Full details, including access and highlights of the collection are available on the Rare Books and Manuscripts page.