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Law Subject Guide: Online library support

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

Welcome to the Law LibGuide

Use this Subject LibGuide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.

You have access to the Lasok Law Library 24/7, plus extensive online resources to support your learning and research.  

The Lasok Law Library is based within the Forum Library on level -1, and includes the European Documentation Centre collection.     


New to the University?  Explore the Law Library Induction to learn all about the Library basics. 


If you are a library visitor and want to look at freely accessible online legal resources, take a look at the Access to Law resource from the InnerTemple Library

Where to start your search

Library Search

Search for textbooks, ebooks, journals, articles + more.  Use Library Search LibGuide for guidance.

Targeting different information sources

You are likely to use a wide range of different types of information sources for your study and research. 

As well as academic sources such as books and journals,  you may wish to consult news sources, official publications, statistics etc. 

Use the online support highlighted here to guide your searching.  

  • News sources can be invaluable research resources. 
  • They provide contemporaneous accounts of events as they emerge and unfold, affording a snapshot of developments at a point in time.
  • You can engage in historical research by tracing commentary on issues over time, to identify and track changing political, economic and social trends. 
  • The availability of news resources online allows for very effective and comprehensive searching, in a way that was impossible with print or microfilm / microfiche editions of the newspapers 

Find out more on the News LibGuide 

  • Official publications are documents and other resources produced by Parliament and Government during the course of parliamentary and government business.
  • Content ranges from statements of law and policy to government reports and statistics.  
  • These publications can be a very valuable primary research source as they address all aspects of governmental work such as science, education, law, agriculture, transport, health etc.

Find out more in the Official Publications LibGuide.

Of particular interest to those researching the law are:

Law Commission Papers

 The Law Commission keeps the law under review and makes recommends for reform where it is needed. Their reports capture in depth analysis and consultation of the current law, together with their recommendations for reform which may then make their way into law through the parliamentary process.

UK Parliamentary Papers

You can use these papers to trace the development of legislation through the legislative process and examine the Hansard debates to trace in depth discussion on proposed legislative content. You can also view papers and reports from the various government departs such as the Ministry of Jusice.

Europa: EU documents and publications

Europa is the official website of the EU.  It provides access to all EU legislation, preparatory documents, treaties and case law and also secondary resources with useful background information including: policy documents, statistics and reports & studies. 



A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for a higher degree or professional qualification, presenting the author’s research and findings. Theses are extremely valuable sources of information, as they consist of substantial primary research in specialised topics and provide very detailed data and analysis.

They will also have extensive bibliographies, detailing the published literature on the given research topic.

Use the Finding Theses Quick Guide to learn more about tracking down theses in your field of study both at the University of Exeter and elsewhere. 

You can access dissertation and theses databases via the Database A-Z. The recommended databases for global dissertation searching is:

For example you could run a search for the phrase "environmental crime" in the database to discover theses where this topic has been discussed.  You can view full text theses and make use of their references and bibliographies to broaden your research,

Primary sources are documents which were created during particular historical periods, as opposed to secondary sources, which are written at a later date about particular historical periods.

Examples of primary sources are:

  • Government publications,
  • newspapers,
  • photographs,
  • original art work
  • diaries,
  • interviews,
  • memoirs,
  • letters,
  • manuscripts,
  • business records,
  • court cases,
  • census data,
  • speeches.

Find out more on the Primary Sources LibGuide

  • Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data.

  • Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

  • They can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

TED - Ideas worth spreading

  • TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).  

  • You can explore TED Talks related to the topic of crime,  criminal justicelaw and many more

  • You'll find talks on all sorts of other topics too. The latest and most popular talks are available from the TED homepage

  • Below is a talk about defending the rule of law, delivered by Kimberley Motley

Expand your searching

A wide range of different types of information sources are available to you. 

You may want to examine literature from related disciplines such as Criminology, Business Politics etc.

You may also be interested in finding materials outside of the University of Exeter Collections.


A wide range of legal databases are available to you. Use the Law Databases in the Databases A-Z List to select the specific resource source you require.   They provide full text access to books, journal articles, reports, case law, legislation, official publications and more. 

For some topics you will want to explore related subject areas  such as  CriminologySociologyPsychologyPolitics or Security Studies.  

You can browse by subject e.g. Criminology or type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resource.

 You will also find LibGuides available for these and other subject disciplines.

Use the Databases A-Z List to browse all the resources available to you.


The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in London serves all universities in its role a national legal research library.

Academic staff and postgraduate research students (PhD, MPhil) can join the IALS Library free of charge.

A wide range of freely available online research and training guides are available. This includes:

ou can use the following catalogues to search for material held at other libraries:

  • Library Hub Discover - search and locate books and journals throughout the collections of the UK research and specialist libraries.
  • WorldCAT - lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and tens of thousands more around the world.  It also has a mobile app you can download.
  • The European Library - gives access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress - contains the catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections in the USA.
  • LibWeb - Access to a listing of online library catalogues worldwide
  • CORE - gives an incredibly fast search of the full-text of 80M open access research resources


Skills Support

When submitting academic work for assessment, you must provide full details of all of the sources you consulted.  

OSCOLA (The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) has been developed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. 

For detailed assistance, check out the Citing Legal Sources support guide.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 

Use the Search Techniques LibGuides for lots of hints and tips on successful online searching.

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of academic skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Academic Skills Support

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in London serves all universities in its role a national legal research library.

A wide range of freely available online research and training guides are available. This includes:

Legal Skills Books

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