Law reports

Law reports and case papers

In addition to its printed holdings, the Library has a large collection of manuscript law reports and case papers. Some of the manuscript law reports are contemporary reports of cases, many of which did not find their way into printed reports. Others are copies of printed or manuscript reports which students and lawyers made for their own personal use.

The manuscript King’s Bench Reports 1736-42 are a good example of a young barrister creating such reports for his own use.

The collection also includes four sets of paper books – the written pleadings which the judges would have had in front of them during the court hearing. The collection was given to the Inn by John Lucious Dampier and contain paper books from cases he heard with those from three of his predecessors, Ashurst J., Buller J. and Lawrence J.

The several hundred paper books include the annotated pleadings for one of the most celebrated cases in English legal history – Somerset’s Case (1772)