To become a competent lawyer it is essential to be able to research in an effective manner and find sources of law. The word ‘source’ can mean several different things with regard to law, but for our purpose it describes the means by which the law comes into existence or where it can be found.
Acts of Parliament (also known as statutes or legislation) are the most important source of law in the sense that they prevail over the other sources. As well as being a source of law in their own right, Acts of Parliament contribute to developments in case law because the courts have to interpret the Acts and apply them to case facts, and such decisions lay down new precedents.
The English Legal System is also based on the common law (or case law) which is a mass of judge-made decisions that set out rules to be followed in future court cases. Historically case law was the main form of law and it is still very important today.
This short, free, module gives guidance on how to find, read and understand legislation and case law. This course is split into 2 lessons. The first lesson covers finding and reading a statute and the second lesson covers finding and reading a case.
To begin the module click on one of the headings below. It is advised that you work through each of the headings in order.