Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
November/December 2003, by Delia Venables

Another in the series on publishers, movers and shakers online

The Incorporate Council of Law Reporting of England and Wales
by Martha Hawting

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales (ICLR) is the publisher of the most authoritative law reports in the UK. The Council publishes The Weekly Law Reports, The Law Reports, which appear monthly with the addition of the argument of counsel, The Industrial Cases Reports, The Statutes & Public General Acts and The Consolidated Index. In addition ICLR provides The Daily Law Notes and The Industrial Cases Reports Express free of charge via the council's website ( Here you can also find an online version of our free, thrice annual, student newsletter.

ICLR was founded by judicial and government officials in 1865 as a "not for profit" publisher, and the first volumes of the Law Reports appeared in 1866 by which time there were over 400 subscribers at 5 guineas a year. In 1870 the Council was incorporated under the Companies Act with the object of "The preparation and publication, in a convenient form, at a moderate price, and under gratuitous professional control, of reports of judicial decisions of the superior and appellate courts in England." In 1970 the Council was registered as a Charity.

The Council now has subscribers in over 100 countries and its reports are published simultaneously in London, Delhi (for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) and Beijing for China except Hong Kong. The Council consists of members nominated by each of the 4 Inns of Court and by the General Council of the Bar. The two government law officers and the President of The Law Society are ex officio members. An executive committee sits once or twice a year and the full council meets once a year.

The Council is purposefully selective in choosing which cases to report selecting only those cases which set precedent, develop a point of law or raise interesting points from a legal perspective. All ICLR reporters are barristers or solicitors who are present in court for the hearing and handing down of judgment, the reports are submitted to the judges concerned for consideration prior to publication, and references and citations are carefully checked to ensure the highest levels of accuracy are maintained.

The Weekly Law Reports

The Weekly Law Reports have been published by the ICLR since 1953. They are the only series of Law Reports to cover cases heard in the House of Lords, Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, all Divisions of the High Court and the relevant decisions of the Ecclesiastical Courts, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Justice of the European Community. The Law Reports consist of the most important cases reported in volumes two and three of The Weekly Law Reports and are unique in that they include the arguments of Counsel.

The Law Reports are the most authoritative reports and must always be cited in preference as required by the Supreme Court Practice Direction [2001] 1 WLR 194:

Citation of judgments in Court
3.1 For the avoidance of doubt, it should always be emphasised that both the High Court and the Court of Appeal require that where a case has been reported in the official Law Reports published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales it must be cited from that source. Other series of reports for England and Wales may only be used when a case is not reported in the Law Reports." Lord Woolf CJ.

The Industrial Cases Reports

The Industrial Cases Reports, published since 1972, are ICLR's only specialist series. They cover cases heard in the House of Lords, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the European Court of Justice as well as cases of special interest from the Privy Council, The Court of Session and employment tribunals. The subject matter of the reports is wide ranging, covering all aspects of discrete Employment and Discrimination Law - in fact the ICR covers more cases than any other specialist series on Employment Law. The Recent Points section of the ICR summarises cases from the Employment Tribunals that are of interest but do not merit a full report. Combined with the Cumulative Indexes from 1972 to current, The Industrial Cases Reports are indispensable to any lawyer working in this field.

There are also CD-Rom and on-line editions of The Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports and The Industrial Cases Reports, available via Justis ( The Law Reports Archive is also licensed to WestLaw, Lexis and Butterworths Direct.

Free Services

In addition to our core publications, our reporters produce The Daily Law Notes and The Industrial Cases Reports Express, found free of charge at The Daily Law Notes is a 24 hour service from the Royal Courts of Justice and European Court of Justice, bringing you the most important updates from the House of Lords, the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal and all divisions of the High Court. The cases reported have been summarised and are not the full text version that will appear in due course in The Weekly Law Reports, The Law Reports or The Industrial Cases Reports. What you will find here, however, is a precise and, above all, accurate summary of those cases deemed by our reporters and editorial team to be worthy of a fuller treament and inclusion in The Weekly Law Reports.

The Industrial Cases Reports Express is designed to bring you previews of The Industrial Cases Reports before they become available in print form. They take the form of brief but considered summaries which give the ratio of the decision and are updated as soon as headnotes become available. This service is useful for keeping up to date with the very latest developments.

Martha Hawting is Marketing, Website and Education Co-ordinator at ICLR.

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