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Law (HE): Current Awareness

Current awareness means keeping up-to-date with developments in your area of interest. In the legal environment, this may be recent cases heard in the upper courts, or judicial consideration of a case you are interested in; government discussions regarding a new piece of legislation; recent journal articles or books; newspaper reports, or the publication of official statistics.

There are a number of ways you can keep up-to-date.  You can set up automated searches which allow you to set the terms of your interest and then receive email updates when there are any changes. You can also set general updates in your topic of interest – eg Criminal Law. You can also follow people and organisations on Twitter, or via Blogs.  Most people prefer alerts via email or RSS feed, but you can also keep up-to-date by browsing through some of the library's current awareness publications.  Also you can follow the Law Librarian Twitter feed to get information on new books, resources, and study support @LakshmLibrarian.

Legal News

Law Society Gazette is a 'trade' magazine for solicitors in the UK. It is published weekly and includes news, articles, comments and opinion. You can browse this journal in the Law Reports area of Hockney Library, and you can also follow it on Twitter at @lawsocgazette.

Other trade publications include Legal Week, Solicitors Journal, The Lawyer, New Law Journal.  Follow these on Twitter, or set up email alerts (for example, to get the latest news.

Legal Blogs

Subscribe to legal blogs or podcasts - for example, radio 4 Law in Action Podcast; Inner Temple Library Blog; Supreme Court Blog .

  • The ICLR is the publisher of The Law Reports and the Weekly Law Reports. They produce daily summaries of important cases heard in the higher courts, which are available by email or RSS feed. You can also receive emails or RSS feeds of the latest cases published in any of the ICLR reports.  You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for their Blog.
  • The Supreme Court Blog is dedicated to the new UK Supreme Court, the highest court whose judgements bind lower courts and shape the development of UK law. The blog has been set up to provide commentary on the Supreme Court and its judgements.
  • The Secret Barrister provides a fly-on-the-wall view of the Criminal Justice system, often with a critical eye.
  • Lexis Blog from the publishers of the Lexis+ database has interesting blog posts on the impact of Brexit, the Future of Law and much more. LexisNexis Blogs
Current Law Monthly Digest
This  print publication provides a summary of all the major legal developments occurring every month. It covers both cases and legislation, and provides references to selected, recently published articles, books, government press releases, consultative documents and circulars. The Digest is organised by subject, so it is easy to look up your topic each month, or check the index in the back. It is published in blue volumes, and then complied into a Yearbook at the end of the year. You can find the Yearbooks and Monthly volumes in the Law Library.


There are lots of legal professionals twittering out there.  Here’s a selection of ones that I think are useful for students:

  • Law Society Gazette - All the latest top quality legal news and analysis for solicitors, barristers, trainees and aspiring lawyers. @lawsocgazette
  • Westlaw UK – News and current awareness @WestlawUK
  • Guardian Law – Law news, comment and analysis from the Guardian. @GdnLaw
  • The Times -  Latest legal news headlines and opinion from The Times Law @TimesLaw
Current Awareness
  • LexisLibraryThe Current Awareness tab in LexisLibrary is updated daily and can be used to find recent legislation, legal information and journal articles. You can also set up an update – this will provide the latest information on a topic that you choose, and you can also choose the schedule (how often to re-run the search) and delivery (online, email). Click on My Research which is a tab on the top left of the page, click on Updates, and follow the wizard.
  • Westlaw: Current awareness on Westlaw gives access to the latest cases, legislation, and legal developments derived from official publications, press releases and legal news relating to the UK.  You can choose to see the best of the last 5 days, or most recently added. You can also browse by subject or document type (eg case, journal)

Search Alerts

  • LexisLibrary: Log in via the Login (Academic Sign-in) page, run and save a search and then set up a ‘scheduled search (alert)’. This will provide you with automatic updates to your results at intervals that you specify (daily, weekly or monthly). You can create alerts from the cases, legislation or journals search results screens.
  • Westlaw: Run a search in the normal way. Once you have a list of results that you are happy with, click on the Bell icon near the top of the page. This takes you to the Westlaw UK Search and Topic Alert page where you can name the alert, choose the delivery settings (daily, weekly), set your email address for delivery, and save.

Case Alerts

  • Westlaw: You can set up alerts on a particular case, to keep track of the status of the case, or if the case has been recently cited by another case or journal etc. Click on the case you want to update, and click the Bell icon in the right hand column. This will take you to the Westlaw UK Document Alert page where you can set different options, change the delivery settings and save the alert.

Journal Article alerts

These will email you the contents of your journal of choice as soon as a new edition is available.

  • Zetoc is the table of contents database from the British Library, giving access to 50 million article citations and conference papers. Zetoc alert is a service that sends emails to your account every time new articles are entered into the database that match your criteria. You can set alerts for table of contents of specific journals, keywords from article titles, and author names. Access Zetoc via the library webpages and click on Zetoc Alert – Access.