Socio-legal studies

Cartoon of barristers
Image from 'Ballads of the Bench and Bar' (1882)

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:

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 groups


Archives and repositories

Further information

The following surveys give detailed information on relevant British Library materials: