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Frequently Asked Questions

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What's in the BAILII database?

How do I search BAILII?

Other questions

Q. What case law can I find on BAILII?

Q. What legislation can I find on BAILII?

Q. Can I find law reviews or other secondary source material on BAILII?

BAILII does not have legal periodicals, but it does have a collection of England & Wales and Scotland Law Commission publications, Irish Law Reform Commission Papers and Reports, Northern Ireland Law Reform Advisory Committee publications, and Northern Ireland Office of Law Reform publications.

You can access selected law journals and other secondary materials via WorldLII. For the UK & Northern Ireland, see here. For Ireland, see here.

Q. Why are there not more English High Court judgments available on BAILII?

Q. How can I tell how current your version of a UK act is?

All of the legislation carried on BAILII is as it was originally passed or assented to. If you require acts as amended, consult the government's Statute Law Database which goes some way in updating Acts passed since 1991.

Q. How can I know if a judgment has been appealed?

To be certain that a judgment has not been the subject of an appeal before relying on it as an authority, use traditional research techniques such as up-to-date textbooks and Current Law Case Citators.

On BAILII, you can try a case name search here to identify appeal judgments in the same case, but remember it will always be possible that the case name has changed or that the appeal judgment has not been made available to BAILII. For best results, enter only the most distinctive word or words from the party case name, e.g. type Johnson Hometo find Johnson v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Q. How can I find what cases cite a particular judgment?

Formulate a search query using the most distinctive words from the case name, e.g. type Locabail to find judgments citing the case Locabail (UK) Ltd v Bayfield Properties Ltd.. If you use more than one word from the title, use a proximity connector so that your search terms will be close together, e.g. Locabail /5/ Bayfield. A search for the case name is more reliable than a search for the case citation, as cases are cited variously in judgments and citations in judgments are sometimes mistyped.

Q. Do I need to use quotation marks to search for a phrase?

It is not necessary to type quotation marks around a phrase (although it is okay to do so) unless your phrase contains a stop word, e.g. "and" in the phrase: "cruel and unusual punishment".

Q. How can I search recent decisions?

Enter a date range in the date fields on the Search Case Law page. Alternatively, sort the list of judgments found by Date using the radio buttons on the search form or the results list.

To browse a lists of the 20 most recently rendered court judgments for each BAILII court/tribunal database, see here.

Q. How do I do an advanced search?

See the Advanced Query Help page.

Q. What's the difference between a search for all England & Wales case law and all UK case law?

A search in all UK case law will bring you decisions from:

A search for all England and Wales case law includes all UK case law plus decisions from the England and Wales Courts of Appeal, High Courts and Patents County Court (see here for a list). If you do not want to include UK case law in an all England and Wales search, use the case law search, advanced or multidatabase search forms and do not tick the search box for England and Wales; instead, use the tick boxes below the England and Wales heading to select only the court(s) you want to search.

Q. Can I search for cases decided only in a particular jurisdiction, or for cases decided by a particular Tribunal?

Yes. You can do this using either the Case Law Search page or the Multidatabase Search page.

Example: To search just for cases decided by the Irish courts, go to the Case Law Search page, and then scroll down to "Ireland" (in the right-hand column). Then click the boxes for Irish Court of Criminal Appeal, High Court of Ireland and Supreme Court of Ireland.

Q. May I link to BAILII?

Broadly, yes. BAILII welcomes links to the front page or to individual items. See linking instructions here.

Q. Does it infringe copyright to download documents from BAILII to a server for use by my organization?

The copyright terms applicable to material on BAILII's website are shown here:

Subject to the rights of third party copyright owners, BAILII does not object to you downloading a reasonable amount from BAILII (please do not download large portions of the site, as in that case we will be forced to block your access) for your own use. But if you want to share the documents with others, then please provide links to the online ('live') version on BAILII, such as:

Clift, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2006] UKHL 54 (13 December 2006)


Cite as: [2007] 2 WLR 24, [2007] 1 AC 484, [2006] UKHL 54

This shows the relevant information plus parallel citations to the judgment in various report series. This is a 'live' version: any changes made to the judgment by the courts subsequent to its first being loaded on BAILII are reflected in the online version. The online version on BAILII also has hyperlinks to judgments that are cited within the judgment in question. Further information on linking to materials on BAILII is available here:

BAILII is a small charity and needs to be able to show usage statistics to maintain sponsorship. If organisations reconstitute portions of BAILII or send batches of judgments they've copied from BAILII to others, this diminishes our usage figures.

Q. Does it infringe copyright for a user to copy materials and to display them on the user's own website?

The copyright terms applicable to material on BAILII's website are shown here:

Reproduction of statutes and of the RTF versions of judgments may in some cases be permitted by third-party copyright owners (see below). While BAILII itself cannot authorise this, BAILII does not object to the copying of small numbers of individual statutes and RTF versions of judgments for publication on the user's own web site.

BAILII does not otherwise permit users to copy materials and to display them on the user's own website. There are a number of reasons:

If you want to share the documents with others, then please provide links to the online ('live') version on BAILII. See previous Q and A for details of how to do this.

Q. Why are the judgments on BAILII not accessible using Google or other search engines?

A. BAILII's policy is that judgments on BAILII should not be accessible using search engines. There are a number of reasons:

Q. Can I save a search and run it again later to update search results?

Yes. Find the search string that appears as a URL at the top of the results list. Cut and paste that search string into a word file and save it. When you are ready to re-run the search, cut and paste the search string into your browser. You can change the dates in the search string (in the word document) before you run the search, or you can edit the date range after you execute the search.

Q. Can the font on BAILII be changed from Times New Roman?

Yes. Configure your web browser's default font to your preferences.

For example: If you are using Internet Explorer, this configuration is located under Tools -> Internet Options -> General (tab) -> Fonts (button under Appearance).

If you are using Firefox 1.x, configuration is located under Edit -> Preferences -> Content tab -> Fonts & Colors section -> Default Font.

Q. What are neutral citations?

BAILII devised neutral citations for the UK back in 1998/1999 and in some part was responsible for the courts adopting the idea along with paragraph numbering being used as standard. For the dates of the application of neutral citations in various courts see Citations.

Q. Can I cite to the BAILII neutral citation for cases that pre-date the 2001 Practice Direction?

All vendor neutral citations and paragraph numbering added by BAILII to decisions that pre-date the 2001 Practice Direction are considered unofficial, but are nevertheless useful for referring to cases on BAILII, especially for material which isn't readily available elsewhere. Reference to unofficial BAILII neutral citations should be preceded by a reference to BAILII, e.g. Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshier Northern Ltd., BAILII [1994] EWCA Civ 6.

Q. How do I print documents without my search terms highlighted?

Click on the Printable Version or Printable RTF Version link in the heading of the judgment. Note: there will be no highlighting of search terms if you have chosen not to highlight your search terms when you execute the search, e.g.

Highlight search terms in result: Yes No

Or if you click on the View without highlighting link in the search results document list, e.g.

The Solvent Emissions (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (View without highlighting)

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