Note: Some entries have editor’s notes. For more information, see notes on this Bibliography.

► Ballentine, James, Ballentine's Law Dictionary. An American product. We often refer to the 3rd Edition edited by William Anderson, published in 1969 by the now-defunct L.C.P.

► Beale, H. G. (editor), Chitty on Contracts (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 2004), 2 volumes "General Principles" and "Specific Contracts"

Blackstone, William, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769), 4 volumes.

Bouvier, John, Bouvier's Law Dictionary (Boston: The Boston Book Company, 1897), 2 volumes.

William Blackstone

► Broom, Herbert, A Selection of Legal Maxims Classified and Illustrated, 10th Edition (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1939). The 10th edition was undertaken by R. H. Kersley. Broom, who held a doctorate in law, first published his Legal Maxims in 1845. In it, he brings to life the multitude of Latin phrases which pepper and in many cases, even though they issue from Roman law, buttress the common law.

► Burke, John, Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1977). First published posthumously in 1959 by the late William (Earl) Jowitt (1885-1957). Jowitt had been first a lawyer, then a politician and in this latter function, he was a member of Winston Churchill's war governments and, later, Lord Chancellor.

►Byrne, W. J., A Dictionary of The English Law (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1923).

►Clashfern, Lord Mackay, Halsbury's Laws of England (London: LexisNexis-Butterworths, 2007). First published in 1907 and now spanning some 100 volumes and just under 200 titles, Halsbury's is the encyclopedia of law as it exists, and evolves from time to time, in England. There have been four formal re-editions and numerous supplements with a 5th Edition planned for 2008 combined with the availability of an electronic and looseleaf version. The first edition was written by Hardinge Giffard, who he and the British refer to by his honorary title The Earl of Halsbury. Since his death in 1921, the work has been expanded and revised by others but retaining Giffard's honorary title.

►Furmston, M. P., Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston's Law of Contract, 14th Edition (London: Butterworths LexisNexis, 2001). In the preface to the 1st Edition (1945) professors Cheshire and Fifoot of the Oxford School of Law apologizes for the delay in publishing his book; delays caused by the war. They admit piggybacking onto older books such as Anson on Contract and Pollock on Contract but none of that has stopped this book from a well-deserved presence in any respectable law library of the common law world.

►Heuston, R. F. V., and Buckley, R. A., Salmond & Heuston on the Law of Torts, 12th Edition (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1992).

►Milmo, Patrick and Rogers, W. V. H. (editors), Gatley on Libel and Slander, 10th Edition (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 2004. The British common law bible on defamation law. Much imitated but never matched for sheer cut-to-the-chase language, very refreshing in a law book.

►Osborn, P. G., A Concise Law Dictionary, 4th Edition (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1954).

►Rogers, W. V. H., Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 2006). Originally from New Zealand, 1907, this salvo is a perennial bridesmaid to more prestigious books on torts, such as Clerk and Lindsell On Torts. W&J On Torts is now the adopted child of Oxford Law and is well ensconced in Australia, India, Canada, Pakistan and Israel. The preface includes a dedication to the author's son who "in France on the 9th day of July, 1918, gave up his life".

► Taylor, Thomas, The Law Glossary, 1833. Tayler was a proud member of the New York bar. The complete title of his dictionary was, as appears to have been the style for the genre, very long: The Law Glossary: Being a Selection of the Greek, Latin, Saxon, French, Norman and Italian Sentences, Phrases and Maxims, Found in the Works of Lord Coke, Shower, Peere Williams, Sir Thomas Blackstone, Sir Francis Butler, Vezey, Chancellor Kent, Reeves, Durnford and East, Taunton, Sellon, Johnson, Cowen, Sugden, Preston, Bosanquet, Starkie, Tidd, Phillips, Chitty, Moore, Wendell and numerous other Law Writers: With Historical and Explanatory Notes, Alphabetically Arranged and Translated Into English for the Use of the Members of the Legal Profession, Law Students, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Etc., Etc. It was reprinted several times, including in 1855, 1856 and recently, in 1995 by the Lawbook Exchange of Union, New Jersey.

►Walton, Charlesworth & Percy on Negligence, 11th Ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2006). Originally published in 1938 by John Charlesowrth, he followed up with a second (1947) and third (1956) editions until he was replaced by Rodney Percey as of the 4th Edition in 1962. Percey was himself replaced by Justice Walton as of the Ninth Edition (which they co-authored). Charlesworth practiced law in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and was appointed a judge in England's North Eastern Circuit..

►West, Leonard and Neave, F., Mozley and Whiteley's Law Dictionary, 3rd Edition (London: Butterworths & Co., 1908).

►West, Leonard and Neave, F., , 3rd Edition (London: Butterworths & Co., 1908).

►Wharton, J.J.S., Wharton's Law Lexicon Forming an Eipotome of the Laws of England Under Statute and Case Law, and Containing Explanations of Technical terms and Phrases Ancient, Modern and Commercial, With Selected Titles relating to the Civil, Scots and Indian Law, 14th Edition (London: Sweet and Maxwell Limited, 1938). The 14th edition was credited to A. S. Oppe. The law dictionary was very popular in the common law world, with readers demanding regular updates. Thus, the 3rd edition came out in 1864; the 7th Edition in 1883 (credited to J. M. Lely); the 12th in 1916, and the 13th, in 1925.

► Williams, Thomas Walter, A Compendious and Comprehensive Law Dictionary Elucidating The Terms and General Principles of Law and Equity (London: Gale and Fenner, 1816). Williams (1763-1833) was a lawyer in England but mostly a prolific legal writer as the length of his dictionary's title may suggest to some.


There are far, far too many law books! In Victoria, British Columbia alone (a small city), from where this international common and civil law website is researched and published, there are three major law libraries, each with thousands of books. On contract law, for example, there are at least seven different Canadian authors alone; and then another ten from England and twenty American contract law books thrown in, not to mention books from Australia and New Zealand and other common law jurisdictions.

After some initial research time, to most lawyers, legal researchers and law librarians, a certain sorting of the wheat from the shaft is possible.

Since 1993, when I started work on this web site, I have been able to determine which books are authoritative.

Some, such as Blackstone, merely because they were the first decent law book out of the block. Others, because of the sheer quality of the book as reflected by its popularity. Conversely, there are some real duds out there such as Waddams, The Law of Contract.

Here is my bibliography, not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography of books I refer to in my research but just the best, the crème de la crème, the Dream Law Library, without which the law as we know it would not exist, and as amended from time to time.

Lloyd Duhaime, December 2, 2012