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Law: United States Law

This guide is a list of sources for legal research.

Introduction to US Law sources

The Hartley Library holds a limited range of United States legal materials.  If you are looking for a particular publication, first check Library Search which provides access to the library catalogue.

The law reports which we do hold in print are shelved at Law Reports: United States.  Journals are shelved at per K and books at KS 1000 - KS 3950.

However, there is very much more available via our various online sources.  In particular, Westlaw, Lexis Library and HeinOnline offer an abundance of primary and secondary legal materials.   Some of our e-book packages have a US-focus, especially ebrary.

See our links and guidance elsewhere on these pages for more detail.  If you still cannot find what you need, please ask for help.

Finding the US materials on Westlaw

Westlaw – accessing the US content using the new international interface.


1.    Open Westlaw from library web pages.

2.    Click on ‘Services’ (small link toward the top-right).

3.    Click on International Materials.

4.    Click on either ‘'Westlaw Next' (top-left) or 'All Content' (above simple search box).

5.    Via 'Westlaw Next' you will see tabs for Federal Materials, State Materials and Practice Areas.

6.    You can search either from the main simple search box at the top, or first choose your source (e.g. 'Practice Areas', Criminal Law')

TIP: the quickest way to find a specific case for which you have the citation.

If you have a citation, e.g. 464 U.S. 548, first try that.  This will usually work from the main simple search box.


Finding the US materials on Lexis Library

1.    If you know which source you need, e.g. the Hawaii Bar Journal, enter the title of the publication into the ‘Find a Source’ box.

2.    If you want to know everything which is available for the USA, click on the ‘Sources’ tab, then on the ‘Browse Sources’ tab.

3.    Choose USA from the drop-down list.

4.    You can then choose region if appropriate.

5.    You’ll see a list of categories, including Cases, Legislation and Legal Journals.

6.    If you look at these categories, you’ll note ‘single sources’ e.g. NY Bankruptcy Cases and ‘group sources’ such as 2nd Circuit - Federal & State Cases Combined.        

Free online sources for US Law

There are many places to find free law for the US and there will be times when such places are easier to use than the subscription services!  Please do be aware, however, that the subscription sources will have more of a commitment to keeping up to date, for example by showing case histories and subsequent developments.

If in doubt, start your search with WorldLII, which lists and describes free sources only after evaluating them.

Our online subscription sources for US Law

This short list highlights the services of most value to those seeking information on US law. 

Please note, especially when using Westlaw, that the look and functionality when using the international materials, will differ from the UK interfaces.  See the boxes below with some tips on accessing and using Westlaw and Lexis for US materials.