Author Archives: elizabethw

Welcome to our 2020-2021 Students

A warm welcome to the Law Bod – but things are a bit different this year, as we seek to keep our community safe from covid-19.
Principally, please understand you must have booked a place in the Law Library in advance (Link to booking page). Also, when you first arrive for your booked period, please report to a librarian in the Library Lobby, before coming on through the electronic gates into the Reading Room.
Secondly, for the first two weeks of Michaelmas (12 Oct – 25 Oct) our opening hours are
Mon – Fri: 09.30 – 19:00
Sat & Sun: 10:00 – 19:00
Extended weekend opening during term time is generously sponsored by Hogan Lovells
We are hopeful that it will be possible to stay open till 9pm on weekday evenings from 3rd Week, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Finally, once you are in the library, there are seats available for you to choose on all four floors, each suitably socially distanced from the next. There are also supplies of hand sanitiser on every floor, ready for you to use.

Perlego Trial until 17 July 2020

Until 17 July 2020, holders of an Oxford SSO will be able to read books on the  Perlego platform

Despite what the name might suggest to some of us, Perlego is a multidisciplinary library of some 300, 000 titles. The website owners have collected the law titles together so that you can browse the 4,000 or so titles in this subject area quickly. At the top of the same page you can also do a search if you have a particular title or author in mind. (Start search with some keywords/surnames, then filter to search for books only matching on the title, author, the topic, or the keyword.)

To be able to read any of the books offered by Perlego during the trial, do not follow any start a free trial link you might see on this public search url – you must register & set up a personal account via the Bodleian trial scheme. Holders of an Oxford SSO can find instructions on how to join Oxford’s free trial via the Perlego entry on this Weblearn site.   (If you have previously had a free personal trial, or paying account,  with Perlego you need to cancel that registering for the Bodleian trial.)

It is not possible to load the records in to Solo but the Perlego platform is intuitive and very easy to use. When it comes to browsers, Perlego recommends the latest versions of Chrome, Opera or Firefox. There are mobile Apps in Google Play and in the Apple Store which allows you to read with no internet connection by downloading books which are in the mobile-responsive ePub format. (There is a format filter to results, so you can choose e-Pub for mobile reading, rather than PDF.) There is a Youtube video to help you get the most out of Perlego, quickly.

This trial is for a month only: the Law Bod staff would be delighted to have feedback from our Faculty. As we have had so many free trials since March, over the summer we will be looking at usage statistics and comparing content from each provider to see what would be useful for the future.

Keeping the University Reading

All the Bodleian Libraries are currently closed (to both readers and staff) until further notice, following the guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. We are very grateful that a number of publishers have given current UK university members temporary access to additional online resources to help us all keep studying! (For Oxford people your usual Oxford Single Sign On gains you remote access.) For law students on taught courses, particular thanks to the following: OUP (Law Trove), Cambridge UP (Cambridge Core Textbooks), Hart/Bloomsbury (2020 titles and Archive Collections (1997-2013); Sweet & Maxwell; LexisLibrary; ElgarOnline; Sage Knowledge (Criminology & Criminal Justice); Duke University Press Scholarly E-books; Gale (Making of Modern Law (MOML)); Proquest (UK Parliamentary Papers). OU’s need for online reading material is also being greatly helped by two platforms of electronic materials BibliU and Project MUSE, the contents of which cross many disciplines and publishers.

Ebooks from Kortext began to be available via SOLO after this was originally posted.

Our colleagues in the cataloguing department have been doing a heroic exercise adding temporary records to SOLO so that – in most cases – “normal” searches there will reveal the great news. An example of this result showing how these temporary ebooks appear in the results is shown below.

Exceptions (to being able to find new/temporary textbooks via SOLO) are the extra titles which Sweet & Maxwell have temporarily added to our Westlaw Books subscription. Of particular interest to students are the following textbooks:
Treitel on The Law of Contract; Smith & Thomas: A Casebook on Contract; Duxbury Contract Law; Murray Contract Law: The Fundamentals
Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort; Giliker Tort
Megarry & Wade: The Law of Real Property; Stevens & Pearce Land Law

Hanbury & Martin: Modern Equity; Hayton and Mitchell on the Law of Trusts & Equitable Remedies; Haley & McMurtry Equity and Trust
McEldowney: Public Law
Clarkson & Keating Criminal Law: Text and Materials; Elliott & Wood’s Cases and Materials on Criminal LawReed et al Criminal Law;  Alhone & Wortley Criminal Law: The FundamentalsGlanville Williams Textbook of Criminal Law
Darbyshire on the English Legal System; Boylan- Kemp English Legal System: The Fundamentals

Last but not least, thanks to VitalSource : they are kindly allowing each registered reader to borrow up to seven (7) free books until 30th June. The titles available via VitalSource will not be added to SOLO as it operates slightly differently. To discover if it has titles that could help support your study, you need to create an account with VitalSource using your Oxford email address. Then search the bookshelf section to find books to borrow. When searching for books to borrow, start with author and/or title keyword searches, but don’t necessarily stop there if nothing comes up: searching by ISBN (which you can copy and paste from the book’s SOLO record) sometimes reveals that the book is in fact available when the other search terms haven’t “worked”

If you have interdisciplinary interests please see the general Keeping the University Reading webpage. Indeed there are some intriguing avenues to explore even if not exactly on your Reading List: the Fashion Photography Archive and a Fashion Video Archive, Popular Music Countercultures and the Punch Historical Archive caught my eye!

LGBT+ History Month

During February, the Bodleian has arranged for trials of the three eResource packages below. OU members of all disciplines are invited to see if they could help their research or study, and send any feedback to their subject librarians.

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Gale Cengage.  Until 04/03/2020.

This resource spans the sixteenth to twentieth centuries and is the largest digital collection of historical primary source publications relating to the history and study of sex, sexuality, and gender research and gender studies research. Documentation covering disciplines such as social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) communities around the world are included, as well as rare and unique books on sex and sexuality from the sciences to the humanities to support research and education.


LGBT Magazine Archive: Proquest.  Until 02/03/2020

The resource archives of 26 leading but previously hard-to-find magazines are included in LGBT Magazine Archive, including many of the longest-running, most influential publications of this type.  The complete backfile of The Advocate is made available digitally for the first time.  As one of the very few LGBT titles to pre-date the 1969 Stonewall riots, it spans the history of the gay rights movement. LGBT Magazine Archive also includes the principal UK titles, notably Gay News and its successor publication Gay Times.


LGBT Life Full Text EBSCO.  Until 28/02/2020

LGBT Life with Full Text is a specialised database for LGBT studies. It provides scholarly and popular LGBT publications in full text, plus historically important primary sources, including monographs, magazines and newspapers. It also includes a specialized LGBT thesaurus containing thousands of terms.  Content includes more than 140 full-text journals and nearly 160 full-text books and reference materials.  In addition, more than 260 abstracted and indexed journals and more than 350 abstracted and indexed books and reference works.

The Ox the Ass and another good excuse to curl up with a good book

Bodleian Library MS. Douce 268 fol. 049br
Photo: © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

A brief thank you to St Francis of Assisi, as he is credited with having first thought of  bringing together the Gospel (Matthew and Luke) accounts of the infant Christ sleeping in a manager with Isaiah 1:3 “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib” (KJV) to give us the Christmas navity image. Joseph and Mary needed temporary accommodation away from home, because “… in those those days, .. there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1 KJV – more recent translations prefer registered/listed in a census)

Although the Law Library does indeed support modern tax law studies  I am staying with matters historical.

Another famous early tool for tax collecting purposes was the “liber iudicarius,” or Winchester Roll or the King’s Roll of 1086.

By c1170 contemporary – Norman – civil servants were aware that the indigenous – Anglo-Saxon- inhabitants were referring to it as “Domesdei” – and the Domesday Book it has remained.  (Dialogus de Sacarrio: Dialogue of the Exchequer 97. Holders of an Oxford SSO can read the Oxford Medieval Text edition by Emilie Amt and S. D. Church online Richard fitz Nigel, the author to whom this work is generally attributed had risen to high office in both church and state. But it is believed he may have been the illegitimate son of a Norman official and an English/Anglo-Saxon woman. Perhaps that is why he thought fit to include this linguistic aside.)

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle vividly records how thorough the commission had been. In its entry for 1087 “There was no single hide nor a yard of land nor indeed was one ox or one cow or one pig left out, that was not put down in his [the King’s] record.” (emphasis added).  The hide was the standard unit of assessment used for tax purposes, and in theory was the amount of land which was required to support a household – about 120 acres. Another taxable land unit referred to throughout the Domesday Book is the plough(land). This was the amount of land which could be ploughed – with a team of eight oxen.

The unit of a half plough – curious though it sounds – was that worked by a team of four oxen. The illustration below is from a manuscript dating from the 11 or 12th centuries – the closest to a contemporary snapshot as we are likely to have.

BL Cotton MS Julius A VI f 3r Copyright © The British Library Board

The National Archives (aka Kew, old style PRO or Public Record Office) has an online Guide to The Domesday Book which links through to an online Exhibition Both these are free. So too are the websites Hull Domesday Project and Open Domesday In the latter you can see what was said about individual locations (Oxford then had a population of 18 households – with a mill and a church, but was also partially waste!)

For more on the Domesday Book and its legal history uses – not surprisingly important land law as well as tax! – the Law Bod can offer readers R Fleming, Domesday Book and the Law : Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England (Cambridge UP 1998) which is shelved at Legal Hist F598a

But what about the ass? According to Darby’s Domesday England  (Cambridge UP 1977 at p 164), only 62 were recorded in the Domesday book.  Even if we add in the 3 mules, they seem to have been the least common of the domesticated species. Donkeys “are not happy in a cold and wet climate” (Debby Banham, Rosamond Faith Anglo-Saxon Farms and Farming OUP 2014 at p 83) – a sentiment many of us share! – but back then their scarcity was probably evidence of their failure to thrive rather than precocious awareness of animal welfare.

There may not have been many donkeys at all in Domesday England, and the survey seems to have considered the human beadle a bit too lowly a parish police officer to bother mentioning much either. But there were beadles about then, and if there is a Beadle who is still alive in the public conscience it must be Charles Dickens’s Parish Beadle , Mr Bumble.

“It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it,” urged Mr. Bumble; first looking round, to ascertain that his partner had left the room.

That is no excuse,” returned Mr. Brownlow. “You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and, indeed, are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.”

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.” Oliver Twist (1838) ch. 51.

The suggestion that 19th century law unduly favoured the wife causes more hollow laughter than ever these days – now we know just how far Charles Dickens was tempted to  exploit the law in real life in his unhappy domestic relations. (As it is the season of goodwill, we will be charitable reminding ourselves that it is always so much harder to practise than to preach … .)

Law and Literature is a fascinating interdisciplinary subject (one of our former colleagues wrote a Libguide to help) with wonderful justification settling down to some solid novel reading over the holidays – and perhaps even watching some films.

The Running of the Deer

Being old enough to remember when Hart Publishing was first established in Oxford (1996 – since 2013 it has been an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing), it was (almost) natural that the line about the deer in the carol The Holly and Ivy, would make me think of that publisher’s logo. Surely this must make a deer the most welcome and visible four-legged fauna on our shelves? Dedicated users of the Bodleian Libraries online catalogue will know that we are ringing out the “classic” interface this December, in favour of a new and improved version. Using its Advanced Search screen  , and limiting the Search Scope to just Bodleian Law Library, before asking it to search for Hart as Publisher And Place of Publication as Oxford, revealed that there must be in fact over 1,300 stags on our shelves!





Bodleian Library Manuscript 764, fol. 20 Photo: © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

As chance would have it, one of the Christmas cards the Bodleian has been selling this year has been a medieval illustration of the
legendary goat stag” from a Latin Bestiary made in southern England, c. 1225-1250. Many of you will now be recalling your Aeschylus, Artistophanes, and Aristotle – but I’m afraid this writer is still in the thicket of legal history: in the Latin text of medieval charters you encounter references to the “capriolus,” and in documents in Law French “cheverellus.” Clearly close to the Latin (caper) and French (chevre) for goat, these were often used to (male) roe deer. (Capreolus capreolus and in modern French, chevreuil)

The fate and legal status of the deer changed dramatically after 1066. The passion of the Norman kings for hunting led to “… the subjection of vast and growing tracts of forest land to an oppressive and deeply resented “forest law” protecting royal resources with ferocious penalties …” (John Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (5th edn, OUP 2019) 15).  The Early English Laws website has a freely available overview of the Forest Law by Jane Winters  as well as a digital copy of the Assize of Woodstock 1184/5, also often referred to as Henry II’s Assize of the Forest most well-known iteration of the working of the system. Another site on the free web with a lot of interdisciplinary (legal and historical) insight is Forests and Chases of England and Wales c1000 – c 1850 (Maintained for Dr John Langton by Dr Graham Jones, St John’s College Research Centre, Oxford) The Internet Archive is a free (though registration required!) way to read an eighteenth century edition of Manwood’s Treatise of the Forest Laws – a book published in the reign of Elizabeth I, and subsequently much cited. Holders of an Oxford SSO, in addition, are able to consult online GJ Turner ed, Select Pleas of the Forest for detailed evidence of this legal system in action. (This is the Selden Society’s volume 13, consequently available via HeinOnline.) (It is interesting to note that the Norman Kings’ view – that they could create royal forests where they chose, and that their prerogative also included the ownership wild beasts – was only explicitly abolished in 1971, by the passing of the Wild Creatures and Forest Laws Act (c 47))

According to the OED, a medieval hunter would probably thought you meant a red deer stag if you referred to a hart. According to Manwood (whom modern critics don’t always think got it right!), “If the King or Queene doe hunt or chase him, and he escape away aliue, then …he is called a Hart Royall.” We would call him very lucky, and a hero – and hoped he would go on to father many fawns with the same combination of speed and cunning!




Foreign and International Content on LexisLibrary

Over the vacation, LexisLibrary introduced a new platform for its foreign and international materials. As holders of an Oxford SSO this means access to a variety of both primary and secondary sources from Australia, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia , New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States. Lexis is not the only database for foreign jurisdictions – for more information see our Libguides for Jurisdictions and Areas.
It has not been without its teething problems. (Please do report any problems to us at )

The first change to note is that when you have clicked on the Sources link, the page that opens now offers a link to International Content

Click on International Content – by which Lexis really means foreign and international


As well as deciding on Cookies, you will be asked to accept Terms and Conditions – there is a link so that you can read the Online License Agreement in full.




UPDATE 23 April 2019 – we have been assured by Lexis that the issue requiring the following workaround has been fixed. But I will leave this paragraph with it in here but within [ ] … just in case!
[If you are off-campus/not on VPN and you don’t seem to be able to access the International Content at all, please open an incognito or private window (chrome – ctrl+shift+n; on firefox/IE ctrl+shift+p) and use this link]

You should now see a page which has a top like this. (Although the view from space is centred on the Mediterranean this is not a clue to the subscribed sources.) The first think to note is that search box on the top of the photograph works independently from the Browse Source options below it.

When you click on the drop down arrow to the right of Australia Cases you get options to specify the type of Australian source you want to search (to move away from a case search click on one of the other options)  – or to initiate a search in one of the other jurisdictions. In the top half of the page Secondary Materials describes commentary (law journals & books) – but for the USA these have become Analytical Materials.
The most opaque/bizarre feature of the current iteration – surely this will change – is that the ICJ material International Court of Justice Filings,  International Court of Justice Advisory Opinions, International Court of Justice Judgments are within the section called
US Administrative Materials.








The lower half of the page Analytical Materials ( as a description for secondary materials) has become widespread!

To use this Browse function – first click on whichever jurisdiction you are interested in. Below I have clicked India. If you know the title of the Indian source you want you can use the Search for a Source box – or you can click on the individual letters of the alphabet. However just because these letters are all hyperlinked doesn’t mean that there is a work beginning with that letter. (Continuing with India as example, there are no resources under X, Y, Z or # – but V has Venkateswaran on Trade Marks And Passing-Off & Vithalbhai B Patel : Law on Industrial Disputes)
When you have a source that you wish to read highlighted in the left hand column – then the right hand column offers a search within the source or a hyperlinked table of contents for books or lists of years for other sources meaning you can drill down to particular content.






Bodleian Libraries Reader Survey 2019

Between 21 January – 18 February 2019 we invite all Bodleian Libraries readers (both holders of an Oxford University cards and holders of a  Bodleian Reader card) to complete a short online reader survey.

The survey seeks feedback on a number of areas including the provision of information resources, the libraries as a space for study, how staff interact with readers, information skills and support, and overall satisfaction with library support for research, teaching and learning.

We are using a standardised survey tool (LibQual+) for our Reader Surveys, although it has been customised to make it relevant for Oxford. LibQual+ is used by over 1,200 academic libraries worldwide and therefore enables us to benchmark our performance against comparative institutions. Find out more about LibQUAL+.

If you have any questions about the Reader Survey 2019, please look at our FAQs or email

Starting at the Top

It is hard now to imagine quite how special it was for those sitting close to their family wireless back in 1932 when they heard a voice from over 10,000 miles saying

“I speak now from my home [Sandringham] and from my heart to you all; to men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them.”

That was of course King George V speaking to the British Empire, an innovation which has since become a traditional feature of Christmas Day TV schedules. (The 3 pm can be traced back to the fact that it was in 1932 “the best time for reaching most of the countries … by short waves from the transmitters in Britain.”)

His granddaughter, Elizabeth II, talks to the Commonwealth – which now includes nations with a different history such as Mozambique (which joined in 1995) and Rwanda (in 2009).  I cannot imagine mine is the only household where Christmas “games” include a “guess HM’s first word” competition! 

Should Her Majesty ever come to visit the Bodleian Law Library, it is certain that her guide would not have to embark on a long explanation as to why our 1960s predecessors put Cw as the first element to many jurisdictional shelf marks!

A common theme over the years has been the desirability for inter-faith harmony and tolerance. As we believe that knowledge can bring understanding – so are hopeful that our latest subscription – to the online Encyclopedia of law and religion “a comprehensive, succinct account of the state-religion legal systems in virtually all countries of the world and also include accounts of major international organizations that deal with religion-related issues, most notably freedom of religion or belief” – would get a royal seal of approval! (Remote access requires a username and password – for current OU members, Oxford SSO.)

Christmas Balls by  made available on OpenClipArt

Major purchase of Hart ebooks

The Law Bod is delighted to be able to announce that the Bodleian Libraries have negotiated the purchase of all the e-books included in the package Hart Publishing Law Collections 2014 – 2017 in perpetuity from Bloomsbury Professional 

This purchase means that 380 Hart books which previously the Law Bod held in print are now also available online. (An Oxford SSO is required for remote access.)

The longer serving of the Law Library staff remember when Hart Publishing set up business in Oxford in 1996, nestled into the Salter’s Boatyard area of Folly Bridge. Indeed, as someone who had done a bit of research in the history of legal publishing in England the news brought a genuine, if rather nerdy, frisson of excitement! Hart is still “here” – though its registered office is now at Cumnor Hill.

Naturally, the new firm quickly fostered, and has maintained, very good links with the OU Law Faculty Many current and former teachers and students having their works published by them.
In retirement, the founders Richard and Jane Hart continue to support legal studies, by hosting an Annual Conference on Judicial Review – this year it is being held on Friday 7th December 2018, Cavendish Conference Centre, London – and lending support to a biennial Public Law Conference , 1 to 13 July 2018  this year, in Melbourne Australia.


In 2013 Hart became an imprint of Bloomsbury. An immediate improvement, from a reader’s point of view, was that the e-versions of Hart titles were made available on a much better platform. Bloomsbury had already become  prominent in tax law publisher having absorbed Tottel in 2009. Now there is a name to stir the hearts of historians of the early English law book … thanks to this purchase any Oxford SSO holder interested in this fascinating area can now read The Law Emprynted and Englysshed: The Printing Press as an Agent of Change  online. (The Bodleian’s print copy is in Bodleian Library Weston RBMSS Open Shelves R.Bibl. 282.1/HAR not in the Law Bod.)

Currently, over 1500 books carry the Hart logo – textbooks and scholarly monographs for academic lawyers, and also works for legal practitioners. Its writers have picked up a number of prizes too


All the new e-books in this package have been loaded into SOLO

  – so the results of searches are already revealing  green View Online links were there had been none before!



Unfortunately, what the publishers make available to libraries by these collections is not necessarily as straightforward as one might think. And they don’t necessarily allow for the lawyer’s zeal for the most recent edition! For example: Ezrachi’s work EU Competition Law: An Analytical Guide to the Leading Cases. This e-book collection does include an edition – but is the third edition, published in print in 2012. The most recent edition is (as I type) the fifth, published in 2016. We have a print copy at the Law Reserve – and it may be that your College has purchased one too! – but it is not included in the package. The fifth edition is only available electronically as an electronic legal deposit copy – so you would need to be logged on to a library computer in a Bodleian Reading Room. (The third & fourth editions are also available via electronic legal deposit.) There is a Bodleian Libguide explaining more about eLD.

We like to think the Law Library may also have played a small part in the physical look of Hart books. A few years ago we invited a group from Hart’s editorial and publicity team for a tour of the Law Library, to let them see the wider context of the world of legal publishing. One of the team noticed that a consequence of library shelf mark labels being placed near the bottom of spine meant that they effectively obscured the firm’s logo – when looking at row of spines on a shelf there was seldom anything visible indicating the publisher. …. and now the Hart stag increasingly appears on the top of the spine … (All the examples below are now available online thanks to this purchase)