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Law

Finding legislation

When searching for legislation, you can use one of several options: Westlaw, Lexis or Legislation.gov.uk.

Which resource you use largely depends on what additional material you are looking for. Legislation.gov.uk will provide the most basic information, i.e. the text of the legislation and amendments, whereas because Westlaw and Lexis contain much wider legal material, these databases will also cross-reference with relevant journal articles and cases.

So if you want to research a particular piece of legislation - for example, cases that relate to it or thoughts of legal experts regarding it, you are better off using Westlaw or Lexis. If you just want to see or download the text of the legislation, then you can easily find this via Legislation.gov.uk.

 

 

Legislation.gov.uk is the official government portal for UK legislation, covering Acts of Parliament as well as statutory instruments. You can usually view the current view of the legislation, as well as the originally enacted (historic) version.

If you are new to studying law, the Legislation.gov.uk site contains a really useful 'Understanding Legislation' section, which provides guidance on the different kinds of legislation in force in the UK, how Parliament works, how legislation is updated and amended and how the site itself is organised and updated. You can access that guidance here (link).

Westlaw is probably the best place to start searching for legislation if you are not sure what you are looking for, or if you want to explore further or related material in connection with a particular Act or section of an Act. Because the Westlaw database also contains journal articles, law reports, expert insights and more, when browsing legislation you can also access this related material, making it easier to do research into a particular piece of legislation.

For further guidance on using Westlaw to find and research legislation, please explore the Westlaw user guide (linked here) or watch the video below.

Lexis provides similar access to legislation as Westlaw, and also cross-references other relevant research material like cases, commentary and journal articles at a top level (i.e. Equality Act 2010) and at a section level (i.e. Equality Act 2010, s. 6).

Because we have access to different law reports, journal articles and commentary sources on the two databases, if you are researching legislation it is always worth checking both databases, to ensure you are using the widest range of material available to you.

The first half of the video below covers using the Lexis database to find and research legislation.