How to find precedents and forms

You can find precedents and forms in our library.

In this guide, precedents mean:

“...drafts of deeds, wills, mortgages, pleadings, etc. which may serve as patterns for future draftsmen.” Mozley & Whiteley’s Law Dictionary, 12th edition.

Common queries database

Our common queries database covers topics that our librarians have researched. Many records will direct you to forms and precedents sources. Some forms are available to download for free.

Search our common queries database

General collections of forms and precedents

Certain publications have general collections of forms and precedents.

Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (EF&P)

EF&P is arranged alphabetically by subject area and covers non-contentious work, including:

  • precedents
  • checklists
  • commentary

EF&P is in our library in Bay 63.

To find a precedent, either:

  • go directly to the volume that deals with that subject area and use the contents pages or index to locate your precedent, or
  • use the Consolidated Index volume, or the Form Finder volume

The references in the Consolidated Index are to the volume number (in bold) and paragraph number. For example, ‘35 [2679]’ means ‘volume 35, paragraph [2679]’.

The date on the spine of the volume will tell you when it was issued.

The volumes are periodically updated and replaced. You can find updates to the bound volumes in the loose-leaf service volumes in our library. When you’ve found the pages you want in the bound volume, check the relevant service volume to see if there have been any recent changes.

EF&P is available online in our library through our LexisLibrary subscription. Ask library staff for access.

In the online version you can:

  • search by words or phrases in the title or body of the precedent
  • view the contents of specific volumes through the browse function

Atkin's Court Forms

Atkin’s Court Forms is in our library in Bay 62.

Atkin’s contains:

  • forms, precedents and procedures for civil litigation
  • procedural tables listing the steps involved in particular types of litigation

Atkin’s is arranged alphabetically by subject.

You can go to the volume covering the subject you want, or use the Consolidated Index volume. Use the Consolidated Tables volume if you need a form or precedent relating to a specific piece of legislation.

Atkin’s is available online in our library through our LexisLibrary subscription. Ask library staff for access.

In the online version you can:

  • search by words or phrases in the title or body of the precedent
  • view the contents of specific volumes through the browse function

Practical Commercial Precedents

Practical Commercial Precedents can be found in our library in the commercial section in Bay 5.

This is a four-volume work containing a range of precedents, with commentary, for commercial agreements, including:

  • sales of shares and businesses
  • employment
  • private equity

The index to the full work is at the back of volume 4.

Other titles with general collections of precedents

Other titles in the Library that have general collections of precedents include:

  • Kelly’s Legal Precedents, 21st edition (2014) – shelved in the drafting section in Bay 9
  • Precedents for the Conveyancer (loose-leaf, 1970-) – shelved in the conveyancing section in Bay 8
  • Nwakodo, Tolley’s Commercial Contracts, Transactions and Procedures, 2nd edition (2015) – shelved in the drafting section in Bay 9
  • Smith, Precedent Library for the General Practitioner, 3rd edition (2016) – shelved in the drafting section in Bay 9

You can ask library staff for help locating these titles.

Precedents on areas of legal practice

Many textbooks on specific areas of legal practice contain precedents. In our library these books can be identified by a gold star at the top of the spine.

If you’re not sure where to find textbooks on a particular subject, ask a member of library staff or check on a library book locations guide. You’ll find these small booklets on the textbook shelves around our library.

Prescribed forms

Prescribed forms are often published as part of a piece of legislation.

For example, a landlord’s notice to end a long residential tenancy and propose an assured tenancy is contained in the Schedule to Statutory Instrument 1997/3008 (and amended by later statutory instruments). Prescribed forms may also be reproduced in other sources. Ask library staff if you need help locating them.