For University Law Library Provision

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A Statement of Standards

for University Law Library Provision

in the United Kingdom

prepared on behalf of the Society by

a Consultative Group to the Libraries Committee

Convenor: Professor Terence Daintith



Contents 3

Introduction 5

Standards and Comments 9

Definitions 9

1 Policy, management and staffing 11

2 Services 13

3 Space and physical facilities 15

4 Collections 17

5 Franchising and distance learning 21

Appendix: Indicative list of law library holdings 23

A General Sources 25

1 England and Wales 25

2 Scotland 31

3 Northern Ireland 34

B Subject sources 36

4 Australian law 36

5 Canadian law 36

6 Civil liberties/human rights 37

7 Civil procedure 37

8 Commercial/company law 38

9 Commonwealth law 39

10 Comparative law 40

11 Computer law 40

12 Constitutional/administrative law 41

13 Construction law 41

14 Contract law 42

15 Crime/penology 42

16 Criminal law 43

17 English and European legal history [deleted: see now 28A]

17A Equity and trusts 43

18 European Community law 44

19 Family law 47

20 French law 48

21 German law 49

22 Housing law 50

23 Intellectual property law 50

24 International trade and finance law 50

25 Italian law 51

26 Japanese law 52

27 Labour law 52

28 Land law 53

28A Legal history 54

29 Legal skills/practice 54

30 Legal theory and socio-legal studies 54

31 Maritime law 55

32 Medical law 55

33 New Zealand law 55

34 Obligations (contract, tort (delict), restitution and others) 56

35 Other jurisdictions 56

36 Planning/environmental law 57

37 Projects/dissertations 58

38 Public international law 58

39 Republic of Ireland law 60

40 Russian law 60

41 Social security/social welfare law 61

42 South African law 61

43 Taxation/revenue law 61

44 Tort (delict) [see 34] 62

45 United States law 62


About this revision

This is a first revision of the Statement of Standards for University Law Library Provision, first published in A Library for the Modern Law School (see Legal Studies, Special Edition 1995). As promised in the introduction to the Statement (ibid., pp. 10-11), this revision updates the comments to the Standards in the light of a further survey of library provision again undertaken, on behalf of the Society, by Dr Peter Clinch, Legal Specialist in the Library of the University of Wales, Cardiff. This further survey has been jointly organised with the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL), and the Society is most grateful to BIALL for its collaboration. The updatings reflect, in particular, changes in the key library statistics contained in the comments and offered as measures by which individual libraries might assess their performance. A full report on the survey may be obtained from the Convener, Professor Daintith, at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. The Libraries Committee is much indebted to Dr Clinch and to his institution for this essential input to its work.

For the most part the new comments speak for themselves, but two general remarks related to the Survey can be made here. First, the group of libraries responding was not exactly the same as in 1994, when the previous survey was undertaken. The survey was very much briefer, and a few of the questions were modified slightly in the interests of clarity. These factors should be borne in mind in comparing 1994 and 1996 statistics in the comments. For the most part the Committee does not consider they will have had a significant impact: the possible exception, arising from the fact that - unfortunately - fewer of the largest libraries completed the Survey in 1996 than in 1994, is noted in Comment A to standard 4.1 (Collections).

Second, comparison of the two surveys shows generally small but positive changes. The striking changes, both in an upward direction, are in the provision of computer terminals in or connected to libraries (Comment C to standard 3.3), and in the availability of electronic databases (Comment to standard 4.7). These improvements may, however, have been accompanied by a general decline in levels of materials expenditure, notably expenditure on periodicals: see, again, Comment A to standard 4.1. The Committee will pay particular attention, in its next survey, to obtaining unambiguous data on this central issue.

In addition to incorporating the new survey results, the opportunity has been taken to extend the Statement to take explicit account of the position in Scotland and in Northern Ireland. Throughout its existence the previous Minimum Holdings Statement was addressed to law libraries in England and Wales, though of course listing relevant Scottish and Northern Irish materials also. Writing a Statement of Standards in terms that are appropriate to University law libraries functioning in three separate, yet intimately linked, legal jurisdictions is not simply a matter of adding sources to a list; the academic and professional context of University legal education is different in each case, and general collections standards may also need to be differently expressed.

The Committee has been fortunate in securing the expert help of Scottish and Northern Irish colleagues in this process of adaptation. For Scotland, it established a small working party which consisted of Professor W.M. Gordon and Heather Worlledge-Andrew (Librarian) (Glasgow); Valerie Finch (Napier); Chirsty MacSween (Librarian, Strathclyde); David Hart (Librarian, Dundee) and Alan Barr (Edinburgh); Peter Clinch; and two members of the Committee, Jules Winterton and the Convener. For Northern Ireland, it has relied on the advice of the former Dean of the Law Faculty at Queen's University, Belfast, Professor Desmond Greer. The Committee is most grateful for the assistance it has received, but takes full responsibility for the adapted text that has resulted and for any errors that remain.

The remainder of this Introduction to the revised (1997) Statement explains particular features of legal education in Scotland and Northern Ireland which are relevant to adjustments of the Statement. The revised Statement itself follows; amendments have been made to the definitions section, and to the Collections standard (Standard 4). Finally, this brochure prints a revised version of the Indicative List of library holdings, amended both to reflect the extension to Scotland and Northern Ireland and other specific suggestions made to the Committee since the appearance of A Library for the Modern Law School.


Law schools

When the Statement first appeared in 1958, law teaching in Scottish universities was largely confined to teaching leading directly to entry to the legal profession, at that date in four universities to which a fifth was added shortly thereafter. In more recent years, the expansion of the university sector has been matched by an expansion of the teaching of law. In Scotland, this has included, particularly at the new universities, teaching leading to a range of different degrees with very significant legal content, often including the word "law" or a derivative in their title. While such degrees do not give entry to either branch of the legal profession, their legal content is significantly greater than that what is expected in "service" or "subsidiary" teaching. In terms of a Standard for University Law Library Provision, the needs of such degrees are comparable to full law degrees.

Law schools and the legal profession

With the exception of the introduction of the Diploma in Legal Practice (see below), it is fair to say that neither branch of the legal profession (solicitors or advocates) has until recently taken as active a formal interest in the teaching or monitoring of the teaching of law at universities as has been the case in England and Wales. Scottish universities have of course been subject to similar processes of quality audit and assessment as have applied south of the border. Successful informal contact between the profession and the universities has been maintained, however, and more recently the Law Society of Scotland has undertaken a fundamental review of the whole process of legal education. A more active role for the Joint Standing Committee on Legal Education, on which sit representatives of both branches of the profession and the universities offering degrees leading to professional qualification, can be expected.

The introduction of the Diploma in Legal Practice in 1980, and subsequent developments in that course, have involved very much greater liaison between the universities and the profession, with active supervision of at least the content. This course has also led to more emphasis on the teaching of legal skills along with legal knowledge, which to some extent parallels the situation in England and Wales.

Following the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990, legal training is required for conveyancing and executry practitioners, the standards for whom are expected to be as high within their limited spheres of expertise as for fully qualified lawyers. This has led to subject courses being recognised for this purpose by the Conveyancing and Executory Services Board in Scotland.

The goals of legal education

While there is no direct equivalent of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (ACLEC), the ACLEC statement on the aims of a qualifying degree would be largely applicable in Scotland. For ACLEC the aims of a qualifying degree (i.e. one which qualifies for entry to the professional training courses of the Bar and Law Society) are to:

(i) give an understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of English law and of the law of the EC, and develop the skills needed to solve legal problems;

(ii) provide a rigorous analytical and theoretical education to enable students to develop a constructive and critical approach to the processes of law:

(iii) enable students to see law within its social, economic, political, historical, ethical and cultural context; and

(iv) be informed by comparisons from other legal systems, particularly civil law systems, and relevant international law.

Of course not all those taking a qualifying law degree intend to enter the legal profession. Perhaps particularly in Scotland, with a four years honours programme and the growth of mixed degrees, the goals of legal education are somewhat broader than those of education for professional qualification, and this may be reflected in the very wide range of courses taught in degrees which qualify for professional recognition.

With regard to the provision of qualifying degree teaching, a specific definition of this term for Scotland has been included in the Standards. This takes account not only of the requirements of the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates, but also of the types of degree with very significant legal content offered by the new universities.

Specific reference has also been included to the Scottish Diploma in Legal Practice.

Northern Ireland

The Statement can be applied to Northern Ireland with minimal adaptation. Although there is no direct equivalent to ACLEC, the ACLEC statement on the aims of a qualifying degree are largely applicable in Northern Ireland. Traditionally, however, the goals of university legal education have been somewhat broader than those required for professional qualifications, and this approach has in recent years been underlined by the growth of mixed degrees and by the restrictions imposed by the professional bodies since the 1970s on the number of law graduates admitted to legal practice. Northern Ireland universities are subject to the processes of quality audit in relation to teaching and research which apply in England and Wales. The provision of training for entry to the legal profession was last reviewed by the Bromley Committee in 1985 - see Report of the Committee on Professional Legal Education in Northern Ireland.

With regard to the provision of qualifying degree teaching, a specific definition of this term for Northern Ireland has been included. The power to determine which degrees are "recognised law degrees" for the purposes of admission to the Institute lies with the Council of Legal Education (NI) consisting of representatives of the Queen's University, the Inn of Court of NI and the Law Society of NI. All those intending to enter the legal profession in NI must take a "vocational" course in the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, which is located in the Queen's University of Belfast, but is not part of the Law School of the University. The number of places in the Institute is limited by agreement between the Department of Education for NI and the legal professional bodies; admission is determined by a combination of the class obtained in a qualifying law degree and performance in an "Admissions Test" set by the Institute.


(1995, revised 1997)

This Statement sets out standards which, in the view of the Society of Public Teachers of Law, should be met by libraries in Universities which undertake law teaching. They reflect the distinctive requirements for library provision resulting from the aims of University legal education, notably the need for law graduates to be competent in the identification, collation, analysis, application and evaluation of primary and secondary legal materials. They should be seen as concretising, and where appropriate varying, general standards of University library provision, in their application to law.

The standards are expressed in general terms and are designed to allow for interpretation and application by law schools and law libraries in the light of their own specific academic circumstances and objectives. To assist in such interpretation and application, each standard is accompanied by commentary illustrating the application of the standard, and relating it, where appropriate, to actual levels of provision as reported by law schools and libraries from time to time. Italicised references in the commentary are either to the 1994 Research Report prepared on behalf of the Society by Dr Peter Clinch, of the Law Library of Cardiff Law School (e.g. "RR 7.9.4", where numbers refer to paragraphs in the Report); or to the findings of the 1996 survey conducted by Dr Clinch under the auspices of the Society and the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians ("1996 survey").

The standards recognise the diversity of legal education both in general terms, by relating requirements of library provision to the research and teaching objectives of each Law School and, more specifically, by linking minimum collections standards to the nature of the legal education provision offered by the School.

In addition, an Appendix to the Standards sets out, for purposes of information on collections policy, an extensive list of titles of serial holdings, databases etc. This list does not form part of the collections standards.

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For University Law Library Provision iconPrepared by Susan S. Grover, Eric Chason & J. R. Zepkin of William & Mary Law School, Emmeline P. Reeves of University of Richmond Law School, Robert W. Wooldridge, Jr of George Mason University Law School & C. Scott Pryor of Regent University Law School

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