The Current Law Service

Current Law Case Citator and the Current Law Yearbook

Current Law provides annual summaries of cases, summary information about legislation, and much other legal information. It began in 1947 and is published by Sweet & Maxwell/Westlaw. Current Law consists of three series: a Case Citator, a Legislation Citator and Yearbooks, and is also published as a Montly Digest.

Where is Current Law? Online in Westlaw (as the Case and Legislation Locators); in print at Cw UK 200 C976f on the main floor of the Bodleian Law Library.

Current Law Case Citators include:

  • alphabetical index of cases for the period indicated on the spine, with comprehensive list of citations in order of authority (Law Reports first, newspapers last)
  • reference to the digest (summary) of the case in the Yearbook, which is indicated by the year and paragraph number
  • subsequent judicial history (where the case has been applied, over-ruled etc), with references to relevant summaries in the Yearbooks


Current Law Legislation Citators include:

  • chronological index of UK legislation for the period indicated on the spine, detailing amendments, commencement dates and cases which have interpreted the legislation.

Current Law Yearbooks include:

  • summaries of significant UK cases
  • information about new statutes and statutory instruments, amendments, commencement dates, parliamentary bills and words and phrases judicially considered
  • subject and case indexes.


How to search the subsequent judicial history of a case using the Current Law Case Citator

The Current Law Case Citator is divided into:

  • three main volumes - 1947-76, 1977-97, and 1998-2001
  • annual soft cover volumes beginning 2002
  • monthly digests in which the tables of cases accumulate - check only the most recent month.

To find out if a particular judgment has been given judicial consideration in a subsequent judgment:

  1. Begin at the volume for the period in which the judgment was reported, or at 1947, whichever is later.
  2. Browse the alphabetical table to find the case.
  3. After the party names and citations of all reports, you will see the yearbook reference (year and paragraph of the case digest or summary), then yearbook references for cases that have subsequently considered the judgment. The example below shows the entry for Hill v Chief Constable of Yorkshire [1989] AC 53 in the 1977-97 Citator. Between 1989 and 1997, Hill v Chief Constable of Yorkshire was cited in several judgments. For example it was applied in the case digested at 91/xxx.
  4. Open the relevant year book and find the paragraph that summarises the case. The case indicated by 91/xxx is in the Yearbook for 1991, at paragraph xxxx. The case was Hughes v National Union of Mineworkers [1991] 4 All ER 278.
  5. Repeat this search in subsequent Case Citators and Monthly Digests up to the present day. To continue with the example, to find out if Hill v Chief Constable of Yorkshire was judicially considered after 1997, check the 1998-2001 citator, then each of the annual citators and the table of cases in the most recent Monthly Digest.

Information in Case Citator 1977-97, about 
Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [1989] AC 53

  1. Party names and citations for all reports of the case, in order of authority with the Law Reports first and the Solicitors Journal last. The list continues to indicate that this judgment affirmed earlier considerations of the case.
  2. Digested, 88/2435 is a reference to the summary in Current Law Yearbook. 88 stands for 1988 and 2435 is the paragraph number at which there is a summary of this case.
  3. Applied, 90/3278... This list gives references to yearbook/paragraph of subsequent cases that have applied, considered and distinguished the judgment in Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire. So, in the 1990 yearbook at para 3278, there is a summary of a case that applied this judgment. There is another in the 1992 yearbook at para 3354, and so on.

How to search for cases interpreting legislation in the Current Law Legislation Citator

The Current Law Legislation Citator consists of 5 main volumes: 1947-71, 1972-88, 1989-95, 1996-99, 2000-01, with soft cover volumes since 2001.

  1. Begin at the volume for the period in which the statute was passed, or at 1947, whichever is later.
  2. Look up the legislation in the alphabetical list at the beginning of the volume, to find out its chapter number (for statutes) or serial number (for SIs).
  3. Browse the chronological list of statutes or SIs to find the legislation. Each statute is split up into sections, with notes detailing repeals and amendments, and cases that have interpreted the legislation. Cases are indicated by yearbook reference (eg, the yearbook reference 87/1079 means that in the 1987 yearbook, at paragraph 1079, you will find a summary of a relevant case.)
  4. Repeat this search in subsequent Legislation Citators and Monthly Digests up to the present day.

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