Case search tips

Posted on 1st Apr 2011 in User Tips

The Case Search function on our new website is a powerful resource. Make sure you get the most out of it by following a few simple tips.

ALL CASES search

First, try entering in the Case name field as few words as possible. For example, try “Vesta” or “Vesta v Butcher” rather than “Forsikringsaktieselskapet Vesta v. Butcher”.

Second, you don’t have to fill in the Date of Judgment fields precisely. You can just type in years, for example, to do a search between 2001 and 2003.

Third, you can use the Publication reference field to limit your search to a particular series, such as PTSR.


The Case Summaries search is restricted to cases published in our WLR Daily series. These are reports of recent judgments which are likely to be published in full in the Weekly Law Reports or one of ICLR’s three specialist series. The WLR Daily is a summary of the case posted soon after judgment, in most cases within a day or two. These summaries may be cited in court where a full report is not yet available, and are a helpful addition to the raw transcript of the judgment.

The last five WLR Dailies to be posted are listed on the Home page of the website and in the left hand navigation pane of other pages, so you can see at a glance what recent judgments have been reported.

However, it is very easy to get a list of all the WLR D cases for the last week, month or year using the Case Summaries search. Just click on the button for “This week”, “This month” or “This year” and then click on “Search now”. No other fields need to be completed.

These date range buttons can be used independently or in conjunction with other fields. Thus you can search for all cases beginning “Regina” for the current year. You could further limit such a search by selecting, from the Court drop-down menu, the Divisional Court or the Court of Appeal.

The Case Summaries search form contains more fields than the form for All Cases. The reason for that is that the WLR Daily reports are free, and this form allows you to search all their contents.

You can target your search to particular topics by using the Subject matter field. This picks up anything contained in the catchwords at the head of the report, where the issues are categorised for indexing purposes.

Alternatively, you can search for any string of text appearing anywhere in the reports, by using the Free text field.

The reason why the same granularity is not available for the full reports searchable on the All Cases search form is simply that those cases are not freely available: they are subscription products. The search form is intended to enable anyone freely to ascertain whether a particular case has been reported in any series published by ICLR since 1865.

It does not, therefore, show cases published in other series. We do index many such cases in our Consolidated Index, otherwise known as the “Red Book” or “Red Index”. This is a powerful research tool, which perhaps not surprisingly is one of our strongest sellers.

We are dedicated to providing the best law reporting service in the business. The new website is our new shop front. To some extent it is still “under construction”, and we “apologise for any inconvenience” as the saying goes. But the Case Search is fully operational and a major improvement in functionality.

Hopefully, these tips will assist both regular and occasional visitors to make the most of this great new facility.* Please note that the WLR Daily alerting service is currently unavailable, but will be reinstated soon.