Sources of Legal Information and Their Organization
This chapter aims to explain the sources of the law and the various legal materials. As European law in its various guises is now integral to UK law that is also treated, and there is some discussion of international legal materials in so far as they impinge on UK law. For many practical purposes secondary sources are in fact more important than primary sources and will account for much of the content of the average law library. They are where the law student has to start, but they are also usually the starting point even for the experienced lawyer – someone else has already done the legal research and it is seldom that the raw data of the law has to be tackled from a completely cold start. Legislation is itself conventionally divided into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’.