Guide to ICLR law reports and their citations

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales (ICLR) has been reporting the significant decisions of the superior courts since its foundation in 1865. Over the years, the titles under which those reports have been organised has changed. This guide aims to provide a conspectus of all the various series published at various times by ICLR, alongside the abbreviations used as their publication references in citations.

Mode of citation

The standard mode of citation used in common law jurisdictions (save as indicated otherwise) is based on four elements:

  1. The year of publication in square brackets [YYYY] or the year of judgment* in round brackets (YYYY)
  2. The volume number (where used)
  3. The series abbreviation, eg W.L.R. or WLR
  4. The starting page number (for printed reports) or the case number (for online reports).

*NB The year of judgment (YYYY) is optional and does not form part of the citation, so is often omitted. (In the United States, it is usually placed after rather than before the other elements.)

For the purpose of this list, # represents a volume number.

The Law Reports

First series (1865–1875)

All series published in sequential volumes. (Year) is optional and does not form part of official citation. LR (which sometimes appears as Law Rep. or L.Rep.) does form an essential part of the citation.

Year, Volume and Series Publication
(Year) LR # A & E or AE Admiralty and Ecclesiastical Cases
(Year) LR # CCR Crown Cases Reserved
(Year) LR # CP Common Pleas Cases
(Year) LR # Ch App Chancery Appeals
(Year) LR # HL House of Lords, English and Irish Appeals
(Year) LR # Eq Equity Cases
(Year) LR # Ex or Exch Exchequer Cases
(Year) LR # PC Privy Council Appeals
(Year) LR # P & D or PD Probate and Divorce Cases
(Year) LR # QB Queen’s Bench Cases
(Year) LR # RP Restrictive Practices cases (1958–1972) [NB not available on ICLR.3]
(Year) LR # Sc & Div or ScDiv House of Lords, Scotch and Divorce Appeals
(Year) LR # Ind App Privy Council Indian Appeals (1872–1950) [NB not available on ICLR.3]

Second series (1875–1890)

All series published in sequential volumes. (Year) is optional and does not form part of official citation.

(NB: LR does not form part of the citation and should not be included.) 

Year, Volume & Series Publication
(Year) # App Cas Appeal Cases
(Year) # Ch D or ChD Chancery Division
(Year) # CPD Common Pleas Division (1875–1880)
(Year) # Ex D or ExD Exchequer Division (1875–1880)
(Year) # PD Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division
(Year) # QBD Queen’s Bench Division

Third series (1890–present day)

The year of publication is essential and may or may not be followed by a volume number, depending on whether the volume of content that year required it.

Year, Volume & Series Publication
[Year] # AC Appeal Cases
[Year] # Ch Chancery Division
[Year] # QB Queen’s Bench Division (1891 – 1901, 1952 – present)
[Year] # KB King's Bench Division (1901 – 1952)
[Year] # P Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division (1891–1971)
[Year] # Fam Family Division (from 1972)

Other ICLR series

Year, Volume & Series Publication
[Year] # WLR Weekly Law Reports (from 1953)
[Year] ICR Industrial Cases Reports (from 1972)
[Year] Bus LR Business Law Reports (from 2007)
[Year] PTSR Public and Third Sector Law Reports (from 2009)

Case summaries

Year & Series Publication
[Year] WLR (D) WLR Daily (2009 to present)
[Year] CN Case Notes (2012-2015)

For a more detailed explanation of the content of the various currently published series, see ICLR’s Law Reports: An Explainer.