Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old cases

Today we were trying to locate a case with a footnoted reference something like Parish of Eltham v Warreyn (1657) Duke 67. It looks like an early nominate report so we checked the table of cases for the English reports, which reprint a lot of nominate reports. Not there. So we checked a dictionary of legal abbreviations and found an entry for Duke, Law of charitable uses 1676. Sounds more like a book than a report series so off to the catalogue and sure enough, there it is. As an e-book. With the case-note we wanted, on page 67.
A couple of points about this.
  • English reports (KF53 E6; also available online via the catalogue) are usually a good source of early English case law but they don't have everything.
  • Dictionaries of legal citations and abbreviations are beautiful things. And include references to books as well as primary sources. I used the Raistrick book (on the reference shelves at K112 R433) but the online Cardiff index would have solved this too.
  • The library catalogue is also a beautiful thing, even for very old material.
  • And one more thing - the Eltham v Warreyn case is cited in a number of ways - sometimes just like that, sometimes it's the Inhabitants of Eltham or the Parish of Eltham, sometimes with a date, sometimes without. So be a little flexible with your search techniques in case you miss what's there.

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