Skip to main content

Library Collections

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, and we offer access to a full range of legal resources for EU and American Law

The other three Inn libraries cover the remaining specialist subjects. The full list of these subject areas can be viewed in the Library Catalogue.


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. 


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Ecclesiastical Collection was initiated in 1991 when the Ecclesiastical Judges' Association donated a set of (mostly unpublished) Consistory Court Reports to the Library.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 and E-books

The Library subscribes to major UK legal databases such as Lexis+ and Westlaw, some specialist databases such as Kluwer Arbitration, and American legal databases including HeinOnline and Westlaw US. The full list of both subscription and free databases is available on the E-Library 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-Library page for more information. We also provide an updated list of useful legal links, which is available on the 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.  The EU collection contains materials relevant not only to the EU as a whole but also to the individual member states. Most materials are available in English. 


FoWL Collection

The FoWL Collection is a small collection of select items, both on legal topics and topics that that may be of interest to our members. Items from this collection can be borrowed on extended loan for a period of four weeks and with the option to renew for a further four weeks. Our FoWL offering can be browsed online through the online catalogue


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. 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.