English Reports available online

The amount of free legal information available online continues to grow, with UK legal-publisher Justis providing Bailii with the English Reports from 1220 to 1873.

This is a literal treasure-trove of information. The English Reports Reprints take up about 25 – 30 metres of shelf space, and must weigh at least a tonne — literally.

The copies here are already scanned to PDF, in pretty good quality, and most seem to have been subject to optical character recognition (OCR) so the scan is converted to searchable and copyable text.

For example, if you’re looking for one of the cannons of English law — an Englishman’s home is his castle — sooner (or later) your research will take you to Semayne’s Case 5 Coke’s Rep. 91a, 77 Eng. Rep. 194 and Entick v Carrington (1765) 2 Wils KB 275; 95 ER 807. Though neither contain the best known version by the British Prime Minister William Pitt, also known as Pitt the Elder:

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter, the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter – all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.

Sadly, if you want to read what Brown v Dunne (1893) 6 ER 67 actually says, this database stops 20 years too early. D’oh!

Nevertheless, this is a great resource to add to your bookmarks.

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