About the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

Legal abbreviations can be a puzzle to both new students and experienced professionals. This web-based service allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law. A wide selection of major foreign language law publications is also included. Publications from over 295 jurisdictions are featured in the Index. The database mainly covers law reports and law periodicals, but some legislative publications and major textbooks are also included. The Index is still under development. .

Why use the Cardiff Index?

  • If you have a legal abbreviation you can find the name of the publication to which the abbreviation commonly refers;
  • You can discover how to abbreviate the name of a law publication to create a recognised legal citation. You will be given the preferred citation abbreviation (if one exists) as well as other, commonly used but unauthorised abbreviations for the title;
  • To check full details about any title included in the database to help identify, for example, which is the relevant title, whether its name has altered, whether the title is part of a series of publications, whether it is reprinted in another publication, etc.

What advantages does the Cardiff Index have over paper-based lists?

The Cardiff Index can be searched either from abbreviation to title or from title to abbreviation.

It is possible to search from abbreviation to title using only a part of an abbreviation.

It is possible to search from title to abbreviation using any words (not just the first word) which appear in the title.

When searching the database the Cardiff Index strips out any punctuation you may have typed in and attempts to find the best match for the letters and words you have given. But, it displays the results of your search with the punctuation inserted, as stated in the publications themselves, or as provided in authoritative lists of preferred abbreviations.

The following lists of preferred citations have been consulted in the preparation of the index entries:

Manual of Legal Citations. Part I British Isles. Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, 1959.

Manual of Legal Citations. Part II The British Commonwealth. Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, 1960.

A Uniform System of Citation. Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review and The Yale Law Journal (compilers). Harvard Law Review Association, 16th Edition, 1996. (The Bluebook)

Australian Legal Citation – A Guide. Colin Fong. Prospect, 1998.

Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Melbourne University Law Review Association, 2nd Edition, 2002.

Alternative titles and dates of publication have been gleaned from a number of sources including:

A Handbook of English Law Reports, Part I. J.C.Fox. Butterworth & Co., 1913.

A Complete List of British and Colonial Law Reports and Periodicals. W.Harold Maxwell and C.R.Brown. Carswell Co.Ltd, 1937 and supplement of 1946.

Bibliography of Commonwealth Law Reports. Edited by Wallace Breem and Sally Phillips. Mansell 1991.

How to Cite Legal Authorities. Derek French. Blackstone Press, 1996.

Abbreviations for law publications have been manually harvested from the following:

United Kingdom

Guide to Law Reports and Statutes. Sweet & Maxwell, 4th Edition, 1962.

Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary. Edited by Sheila Bone. Sweet & Maxwell, 9th Edition, 2001.

Current Law Monthly Digest. Sweet & Maxwell, 2003.

The List of Abbreviations used by Sweet & Maxwell and CLI Products, as updated periodically.

Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations. Complied by Donald Raistrick. Bowker-Saur, 2nd Edition, 1993.

Australia

Australian and New Zealand Legal Abbreviations. Colin Fong and Alan J Edwards. Australian Law Libraries Group, 1995.

Australian Digest. Law Book Company.

Australian Legal Monthly Digest. Law Book Company.

Belgium

Guide to Foreign Law Materials Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands. Paul Graulich, Paulette Guillitte, Jan F. Glastra van Loon and L.E. van Holk. Oceana Publications Inc. for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 1968.

Canada

Banks on Using a Law Library. A Canadian Guide to Legal Research. Margaret A. Banks and Karen E.H. Foti. Carswell, 6th Edition, 1994.

Canadian Abridgment. Index to Canadian Legal Literature. Periodicals Indexed. Carswell, 2000.

Foreign, International and Comparative law

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals. University of California Press, Berkeley for the American Association of Law Libraries, 2003.

Szladits’ Bibliography on Foreign and Comparative Law. Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 1990.

Public International Law – A Current Bibliography of Books and Articles. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, 1995.

France

Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: French. Charles Szladits and Claire M Germain. Oceana Publications Inc., for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 2nd revised edition, 1985.

Germany

Abkurzungsverzeichnis der Rechtssprache. Hildebert Kirchner. Walter de Gruyter, 1993.

Basic Literature on Law. Ralph Lansky. C.H.Beck, 2nd edition, 1978.

Charles Szladits’ Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: German. Timothy Kearley and Wolfram Fischer. Oceana Publications Inc., for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 2nd revised edition, 1990.

Hong Kong

Current Law Hong Kong. Sweet & Maxwell, 1996.

Hong Kong Current Law. Sweet & Maxwell, 1987.

An Introduction to the Hong Kong Legal System. Peter Wesley-Smith. Oxford University Press, 1998.

A comprehensive list supplied by Monita Yeung, Librarian, Johnson Stokes & Master, Hong Kong. 2003.

India

Supreme Court Yearly Digest (India). Surendra Malik. Eastern Book Company, 1985 & 1989.

Ireland

Sources of Law. An introduction to legal research and writing. Thomas O’Malley. Round Hall Press, 1993.

Italy

Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: Italian. Angelo Grisoli. Oceana Publications Inc., for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 1965.

Luxembourg

Guide to Foreign Law Materials Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands. Paul Graulich, Paulette Guillitte, Jan F. Glastra van Loon and L.E. van Holk. Oceana Publications Inc. for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 1968.

Netherlands

Guide to Foreign Law Materials Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands. Paul Graulich, Paulette Guillitte, Jan F. Glastra van Loon and L.E. van Holk. Oceana Publications Inc. for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, 1968.

Pakistan

Pakistan Annual Law Digest. Pakistan Annual Law Digest Office, 1986.

Singapore and Malaysia

Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston’s Law of Contract. Andrew Phang Boon Leong. Butterworths Asia, 2nd Singapore and Malaysian Edition, 1998.

South Africa

A Bibliography of South African Criminal Law. Andre Rabie. Juta, 1987.

Southern Cross. Civil and Common Law in South Africa. Reinhard Zimmerman and Daniel Visser. Clarendon Press, 1996.

The South African Legal System and its background. H.R.Halo and Ellison Kahn. Juta, 1968.

United States

American Jurisprudence Desk Book. Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, 2nd Edition, 1979 and supplements to May 1998.

Generally

Index to Legal Periodicals & Books. H.W.Wilson.

Law Books 1876-1981. R.R.Bowker, 1981

Noble’s International Guide to the Law Reports. Nicol Island Publishing, 2002

Vendor neutral citations for a large number of jurisdictions in the UK, Pacific rim, Canada and Africa have been gleaned from the following web sites:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/CompLRes/1999/ANNEXURE-4.html

http://www.dfat.gov.au/treaties/making/citations.html

http://www.lexum.umontreal.ca/ccc-ccr/neutr/index_en.html

Acknowledgement is made of the provision of lists of neutral and standard citations provided by Prof Andrew Mowbray, Co-Director of AustLII, obtained by him from sweeps of the WorldLII database.

Entries in the Index have been enriched with data obtained by searching the catalogues of the following organisations:

Harvard University (HOLLIS web catalogue)
Library of Congress web catalogue
National Library of Australia web catalogue
National Library of Canada (AMICUS union web catalogue)
University of Oxford (OLIS web catalogue)

The Cardiff Index contains over 10,500 titles and over 17,400 abbreviations drawn from 298 jurisdictions. It is a rich collection of abbreviations relating to the United Kingdom and the other jurisdictions noted above. Future work will be focused on collecting further abbreviations as well as increasing the number of foreign language publications included.

Barbara Tearle, former Law Librarian, Bodleian Law Library, University of Oxford kindly supplied lists of United States and Commonwealth abbreviations. Following the launch of the web site in June 2003, a number of law librarians across the world sent comments and suggestions for the improvement of the Index. The assistance and support of all these people is gratefully acknowledged.

A note on the convention on the use of square and round brackets

In response to requests from users here is the general convention on the use of square and round brackets around the date:

Use square brackets where the date is essential in order to find the information required: [1974] 2 All E R 653

Use round brackets where the date is not essential since the publication has an issue number running sequentially from the first issue: (1988) 138 NLJ 86

Correspondents remark that some law publishers admit to having no idea of the reason for the distinction between the use of square or round brackets, so use of the device in practice may be inconsistent.

Localisation

The Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations enables an institution to link their library catalogue to the Index. By clicking on the ISSN for a particular title, it is possible to select an institution and automatically search their web catalogue for the item. The records for most post-1970 publications included in the Index carry an ISSN, that is about 3,700 titles. This service and connection is free. To enquire about connecting the web catalogue of your institution to the Cardiff Index, please email legalabbrevs@cardiff.ac.uk.

Who

The Cardiff Index has been produced by staff of Information Services (INSRV), Cardiff University.

The Index was conceived and has been compiled by Dr Peter Clinch with support and advice from Duncan Montgomery and Cathie Jackson. Matthew Davies, Subject Librarian (Law) administers applications for localisation and provided day-to-day technical support.

In early 2012 a new interface was produced for the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations which enhanced the look, functionality and ease of use of the database. The new interface was designed and created by Karl Herbert, Nick Crane and Matthew Davies of Information Services (INSRV), Cardiff University.

Awards, etc.

In 2004, Dr Peter Clinch was awarded the prestigious British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Wallace Bream Memorial Award 2004 for his work, described as an ‘outstanding contribution to the world of legal information’.

The Cardiff Index was honoured in early 2009 to be elected as a member of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) and joins the growing number of organisations, including the Legal Information Institutes, whose aim is to make legal information freely available on the internet.

If you have any reactions, comments or suggestions regarding the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations, or you have noticed any errors in the database, please email legalabbrevs@cardiff.ac.uk