Duhaime's Legal Citations

E.R. - English Reports (England)

Related Citation: All E.R.

Arguably, the most important law report collection in the common law.

Comprised of 100,000 legal decisions rendered in England from 1220 (Jenkins, Volume 145) to 1873 (Order in Council, 14 Moore Ind. App. 20 E.R. 916).

Cases in this series are reprinted as they were in the original reports, and are grouped according to the courts covered by the reports.

The 1900 set had 178 volumes (volumes 177 and 178 are a two-volume Index), and was published by Stevens & Sons, Limited (London) and William Green & Sons (Edinburgh).

In essence, the English Reports are a collection of 265 English law reports from 1220 to 1867 as follows:

Vol. Court  Years
 1-11 House of Lords  1694-1865
 12-20 Privy Council (& Indian Appeals)  1809-1865
 21-47 Chancery  1557-1865
 48-55  Rolls Court  1829-1865
 56-71  Vice-Chancellor's Courts  1815-1865
 72-122  King's Bench  1378-1865
 123-144 Common Pleas  1486-1865
 145-160  Exchequer  1220-1865

 Ecclesiastic, Admiralty,
Probate & Divorce

 168-169  Crown Cases 1743-1865
 170-176  Nisi Prius   1688-1867
 177-178  General Index  

As to law reporters:

  • 1-11, Reports of the HOUSE OF LORDS. Law reporters: Bartholomew Shower (Shower), Richard Colles (Colles), and Josiah Brown and Clark.
  • 12-20, PRIVY COUNCIL. Law reporters: Acton, Knapp and Moore.
  • 21-24, CHANCERY. Law reporters: Cary, Choyce, Tothil and Dickens, Nelson, C. P. Cooper, Brougham, Donnelly, Cooper, T. C. Copper, Cottenham and Hall & Twells
  • 48-55, ROLLS COURT. Law reporters: Tamlyn, Keen and Beavan
  • 56-71, VICE-CHANCELLORS' COURTS. Law reporters: Maddock, Hemming & Miller and Holt.
  • 72-122, KING'S BENCH. Law reporters: Bellewe, Keilwey, Moore and Best and Smith.
  • 123-144, COMMON PLEAS. Law reporters: Benloe, Dalison, Anderson, Brownlow and Goldesborough, Savile, Hutton and Bridgman
  • 145-160, EXCHEQUER. Law reporters: Jenkins, Lane, Hardres, Bunbury, Parker, Anstruther, Forrest, Wightwick, Price, Younge and Collyer.
  • 161-167, ECCLESIASTICAL, ADMIRALTY, AND PROBATE AND DIVORCE. Reporters: Lee, Haggard, Phillimore, Lushington, Browning and Lushington and Burrell.
  • CROWN CASES. Reporters: Foster, Leach, Russell, Ryan, Lewin, Moody, Denison, Dearsly, Dearsly and Bell, Bell and Leigh and Cave.
  • 170-176, NISI PRIUS. Reporters: Lilly Assize, Peake and Espinasse.

Frequently, reference is made to a law report forming part of the English Reports as, for example, "Jenk. 1", without the companion citation: 145 ER 1. This is confusing to all but the frequent users of the English Reports. For that reason, each and every one of the law reports comprised within the English Reports collection is elsewhere described in Legal Citations.

In any event, the proper citation, most amenable to the researcher, is to defer to the E.R. citation such as:

Donaldson v Beckett 1 E.R. 837 (1774)

With reference to the underlying old law report forming part of the E.R. collection, from which this case is taken, it can also be cited:

Donaldson v Beckett 2 Brown 129

An alternate form of citation for the E.R. is to add the year in brackets after the style of cause, as follows:

Donaldson v Beckett (1774) 1 E.R. 837

There is yet a 4th method of citing the E.R. and that is to preface the E.R. cite with the original law report cite (see the sample re Somerset v Stewart below).

Noteworthy Cases

The E.R. is a veritable who's who of old cases which formed modern common law, such as the 1575 case The Queen v Saunders & Archer at 2 Pl. Com. 473 (old citation) aka 75 E.R. 706, in which criminal liability was at stake where a daughter was awkwardly killed when a husband messed up the poisoning of his wife (qui facit per alium facit per se).

Another of the many famous cases in the English Reports: the 1772 slavery case of Somerset v Stewart (1772) Lofft. 1 98 E.R. 499.

As of 2011, the English Reports were online.

Some of the information used in this article was from A. W. Renton, ed., English Reports (Edinburgh: William Green & Sons, 1900).

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