You can research the relationships between law and wider society with the British Library's collections. We offer a wide range of socio-legal and contextual materials, printed and online.
About the collection
Our large international collection of academic literature supports your socio-legal studies. We have key journals, text books and PhD theses in the socio-legal traditions and criminal justice studies. The collection covers many other areas where law, social sciences and the humanities intersect.
We also have government publications, and publications from commercial and voluntary sector organisations. These include studies of justice policy and the impacts of law on particular sections of society.
You can use a range of other resources that provide insights into the social contexts and cultural representations of law. These include:
What is available online?
Our online resources for socio-legal research include:
- doctoral theses through our e-thesis onine service
- sound recordings of interviews with legal professionals
- reports, policy papers and articles on our Social Welfare Portal
- articles on 19th-century crime, punishment and law in a social context.
If you're a registered reader, you can use a selection of databases outside the British Library building. To see all our subscribed online journals and databases, you need to be inside one of our Reading Rooms.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
In the Social Science Reading Room you will find a selection of printed sources. These include socio-legal and social policy journals, text books and reference works.
Use our catalogue, Explore the British Library, to find and request journals, books and reports. You can request items for delivery to the Social Science Reading Room. To consult materials like maps or sound recordings, you may need to use one of our other Reading Rooms.
We subscribe to many online journals and databases related to law and legal studies. You can use these in our Reading Rooms.
You can also access our Web Archive. This contains old websites of voluntary and professional bodies, and interest groups.
What is available in other organisations?
- Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK) links to research centres and associations around the world
- Foundation for Law Justice and Society
- International Institute for the Sociology of Law
- Library of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in Oxford
Archives and repositories
- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies archival collections
- AIM25 Catalogue of collection level descriptions for higher education institutions, learned societies, and other organisations in London.
- Lincolns Inn, Inner Temple, Gray's Inn, and Middle Temple archives
- Law Society corporate archive
- Legal Records at Risk project at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (US)
- The National Archives (TNA – UK)
- Parliamentary Archives for the United Kingdom (House of Lords and House of Commons)
- National Records of Scotland research guides
- UK Central Government Web Archive includes A-Z listing of archived websites.
- UK Data Service hosts the datasets catalogue for the UK Data Archive, with themed socio-legal categories such as legislation and crime.