Law reports in England and Wales

In England and Wales, from the Year Books on, there is a complete series of reports of cases decided in the higher English courts down to the present time. The oldest reports are written in Latin. Until the nineteenth century, both the quality of early reports, and the extent to which the judge explained the facts of the case and his judgment, are highly variable, and the weight of the precedent may depend on the reputations of both the judge and the reporter. Such reports are now largely of academic interest, having been overtaken by statutes and later developments, but binding precedents can still be found, often most cogently expressed.
The most significant change concerning the reporting of legal cases occurred in 1865, when the nonprofit Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) for England & Wales was founded. It has gradually become the dominant publisher of reports in the UK. It has compiled most of the best available copies of pre-1866 cases into the English Reports whilst post-1865 cases are contained in the ICLR’s own Law Reports. Even today, the UK government does not publish an official report, but its courts have promulgated rules stating that the ICLR reports should be cited whenever possible. Otherwise, any report signed by a barrister may be cited in Court.
The styles of citation have changed throughout the years as well. Since 1891 there are generally four series.
• Appeal Cases
• Chancery Division
• Queens Bench Division (1891 – 1901, 1952 onwards)/Kings Bench Division (1901 – 1952)
• Probate (Replaced in 1972 by a series called Family, due to the creation of the Family Division of the High Court)
In 1891, there was a change in the mode of citation. Volumes published from 1891 onwards are cited by the year in which they were published and numbered according to the order of publication in the year, if more than one volume has been published in that year.

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