Legal Treatises

Legal Treatises


The term treatise, in the Common law systems, usually refers to an in-depth scholarly work on a particular subject area. As law encyclopedias, Restatements of the Law, American Law Reports and law journal articles, legal treatises are secondary sources. A treatise may be a single volume or a multi-volume set. Some treatises carry scholarly weight but are not too technical or theoretical to be useful to law students. Most provide Annotations to primary sources such as cases and statutes.

Because the term “treatise”is used specially in common-law jurisdictions, the equivalent works in civil-law systems may have other names such as commentaries, encyclopedias, Textbooks , monographs, or festschriften. Save the former, these terms are used aswell in common-law countries.

A subset of “Law books

Legal treatises are a subset of all “Law books” published.

Characteristics of Legal Treatises

Legal treatises provide an in-depth, authoritative, and current treatment of an area of law that can be used to find the most important sources of primary law on a given topic within the framework of analysis provided by a scholar or experienced practitioner.

Availability of Historic Legal Treatises

There is an extensive body of literature of legal treatises from European and U.S. jurisdictions, and most of the antique law libraries have incomplete collections of them. In the United States, many law schools were established after 1945, and historic treatises from the XIX century were unavailable.

In the 1970s, interest in North American and European (specially British) legal history increased significantly. Law schools realized this demand and added courses devoted to legal history, but their libraries lacked many of the sources necessary to support legal-history instruction and scholarship.

See Also

Legal encyclopedias
How to search legal journal indexes?
Low cost internet US legal research

About the Author/s and Rewiever/s

Author: international

Mentioned in these Entries

Annotations, Common law, Hein Online, History of Year Books, Law Books, Law books, List of Legal History Broader Databases, Textbooks.


The Legal History of English Legal Treatises

This section provides an overview of English Legal Treatises


See Also

  • Legal Biography
  • Legal Traditions
  • Historical Laws
  • History of Law

Further Reading