Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary

Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary

Since 1927, the Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary has provided English students and practitioners a succint guide to the special language of the law, which serves as well as a source of reference. His strenght has been traditionally the concise way (the 7th edition had 390 pages while the 6th Revised edition had 403 pages) in which the law is summarised and presented over a wide fiel. The editors should work with a lack of space. In most of the editions, it included roman law terms and maxims (from the first edition) and, specially, an useful list of Law Reports together with their abbreviations (from 1983), which received the help of Don Raistrick, librarian of the Supreme Court library .

The last edition were made in 2009, being the 11th edition. From the first edition, the publisher always had been Sweet & Maxwell.

List of Editions

As a popular Legal dictionary , it had been published often (and also with several impresions of several editions) across the years.

  • 1st Edition: 1927
  • 2nd. Edition: 1937
  • 3rd. Edition: 1947
  • 4th. Edition: 1954
  • 5th. Edition: 1964
  • 6th. Edition: 1976
  • 7th. Edition: 1983
  • 8th. Editon: 1993
  • 11th. Edition: 2009

The fourth edition had 6 impressions, while the fith and the seventh editions had 3 impressions each one.

First Edition

The title was “Concise Law Dictionary for Students and Practitioners with Summaries of the Leading Cases And a Translation of Roman Law Terms and Latin Maxims”and his editor was P. G. OSBORN, of University College, London, of Oray’s Inn, Barrister-at-Law and of the Inland Revenue Department, helpe by his brother Harold Osborn.

Preface to the 1st Edition

“This book is an attempt to provicre a concise law dictionary for the use of the practitioner and the
student, in which the words and phrases, the rules and doctrines of the law of England, are defined and explained. Matter of mere antiquarian interest has been excluded, and space has been found to give on subjects of importance fuller notes than are usually attempted. For instance, in addition to the ordinary definition of an infant, I have endeavoured to state concisely his liability in contract and tort, with a reference to the cases.

To assist the student in his reading, the more important terms of the Roman Law have been included.

To write a law book without cases is like building a house without foundations. This Dictionary is unique in my experience in. giving a summary of the leading cases in all the important branches of the law. The principle laid down or exemplified by the case is stated together, where necessary, with a brief statement of the facts, and the decision. References to the cases are made throughout under the proper headings. The student has to become familiar with a good many cases,
and these notes, in a convenient form for reference, should prove of assistance. As the titles are arranged in strict alphabetical order, no references are of course given to pages.

In the Preface, Osborn wrote “Any imperfections which may appear I very much regret, but
the sacrifice of many leisure hours will not have been in vain if I am able to help the student along his interesting but intricate way.”

Seventh Edition (1983)

This edition had a new editor, Roger Bird, Registrar of the Yeovil & Weymouth country Courts, which preserved the essential features of earlier editions. Roger tried to bring the contents of the early edition (of 1976) up to date (for example, the changes o fthe Administration of Justice Act 1982) while retaining as much as possible the work of his predecessors.

Main Source: Salvador Trinxet Llorca



See Also

References and Further Reading

About the Author/s and Reviewer/s

Author: international

Mentioned in these Entries

A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations, A Selection of Legal Maxims, Bouvier’s Law Dictionary and Institutes of American Law, Court library, Dictionary of International and Comparative Law, Historical Dictionary of International Tribunals, International Law: A Dictionary, Legal dictionary, Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, country.