Halsbury's Laws of England

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Halsbury's Laws of England
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Law
Publisher LexisNexis Butterworths
Publication date
1907 to date

Halsbury's Laws of England is a uniquely comprehensive and authoritative encyclopaedia of law, and provides the only complete narrative statement of law in England and Wales.[1] It has an alphabetised title scheme[2] covering all areas of law, drawing on authorities including Acts of the United Kingdom, Measures of the Welsh Assembly, UK case law and European law. It is written by or in consultation with experts in the relevant field.[1]

Halsbury's Laws has an annual and monthly updating service. The encyclopaedia and updates are available in both hard copy[3] and online[2] with some content available for free online.[4]


Lord Halsbury 1907 to 1917
Lord Hailsham 1931 to 1942
Viscount Simonds[5][6] 1952 to 1964
Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone 1973 to 1997
Lord Mackay of Clashfern 1997 to date

In 1907 Stanley Shaw Bond, Editor at Butterworths, began a project to produce a complete statement of the law of England and Wales that was authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date. Bond tracked down the former Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Halsbury on holiday in Nice to invite him to be the Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of England.[7]

Traditionally, the role of Editor-in-Chief of Halsbury's Laws is held by a former Lord Chancellor, and the current incumbent is Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

In 2007, Halsbury's Laws celebrated its centenary with an evening of seminars led by Lord Mackay of Clashfern and Professor Richard Susskind OBE, and the publication of a collection of centenary essays.[8]

Fifth Edition[edit]

Publication of the Fifth Edition began in 2008 and will be published in 103 volumes. The Fifth Edition will have a new title scheme, a new updating service, and improved integration of European law. New titles for the Fifth Edition include, Sports Law, Information Technology Law, Financial Services and Institutions, Judicial Review and Environmental Quality and Public Health.[7]

First to Fourth Editions[edit]

The title and copyright page of volume 1 of the first edition of Halsbury's Laws of England (1907).

The First Edition was published in 31 volumes from 1907 to 1917.[9] Since then, new editions have been launched at intervals of about 20 to 30 years.

The Second Edition was published in 37 volumes from 1932 to 1941. The Editor-in-Chief was Viscount Hailsham. The managing editor of the Second Edition was Sir Roland Burrows.[10] The second edition of volume 5 was published in 1949.[9] The second and subsequent editions of the encyclopaedia took the name of the said Earl of Halsbury.

The Third Edition was published in 43 volumes from 1952 to 1964. The general editor was Lord Simonds.

The Fourth Edition was published in 56 volumes from 1973 to 1987. The Editor-in-Chief was Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone. The Editor-in-Chief of volumes reissued from August 1998 onwards was Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

Halsbury Legal Awards[edit]

The Halsbury Legal Awards debut in 2013. They celebrate the value that people in law bring to society. The theme of the awards is: "The Whole of the law. Connected.[11]

The Awards will recognise the achievements and talents of individuals and teams across the entire legal sector. The Bar, legal practice, in-house counsel, academia and legal journalism will all be recognised, as will contribution to the promotion, growth and value of the sector.[12]

Halsbury Awards[edit]

The Halsbury Awards, in association with the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians, were sponsored by Halsbury's Laws from 2007-2012. The Awards recognise outstanding performance given by legal information services, law libraries and teams managing legal collections and resources.[13]

Related publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b http://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/our-solutions/public-sector/research-and-knowledge-solutions/access-trusted-content-to-drive-informed-decision-making/halsburys-laws.aspx
  2. ^ a b http://lexisweb.co.uk/guides/sources/halsbury-s-laws-of-england
  3. ^ http://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/store/uk/catalog/productdetail.jsp?pageName=relatedProducts&prodId=ukprod9781405734394HL5VMW
  4. ^ http://lexisweb.co.uk/halsburys-laws
  5. ^ (1962) 112 The Law Journal 346.
  6. ^ (1972) 47 The New Zealand Law Journal 106
  7. ^ a b http://lexisnexis.co.uk/HalsburysLaw/halsburys_laws_about.html
  8. ^ http://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/store/catalog/printProductDetailInfo.jsp?prodId=ukprod9781405733915HLCE&price=19.95&skuId=uksku9781405733915HLCE9841
  9. ^ a b John S James and Leslie F Maxwell. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Second Edition. Sweet & Maxwell. 1957. Volume 2. Page 152.
  10. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England. Third Edition. Volume 1. Page 12.
  11. ^ http://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/media/press-release.aspx?id=135176160380248
  12. ^ http://www.halsburylegalawards.co.uk/
  13. ^ http://www.biall.org.uk/pages/halsburys-awards.html