In case I want to try to check plain English interpretations of the law against the actual law.

  • Out of interest, is there something in particular that you are looking for? Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 11:19
  • SDLT regulations (April 2016 budget), but I thought I'd ask it as a general question as I couldn't find an entry on this stackexchange.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 12:43
  • OK. My answer still stands - but the changes won't appear there until the budget proposals pass through Parliament, which will take a month or two. However, a plain English description will probably appear in the relevant section of the Government's website. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 12:58
  • 1
    If you can't wait that long, you can read the proposed amendment in yesterday's Commons Votes and Proceedings - search for "stamp duty" (motions 45-50). These will shortly then be published as the Finance (No. 2) Bill, and will appear in the list of bills before Parliament. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 13:00
  • ...or failing that, do a search. There are lots of news articles examining and dissecting the latest changes. :-) Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 13:02

3 Answers 3


All extant UK statute law can be found on legislation.gov.uk, which is the official online repository for British legislation.

Most recent acts of Parliament and statutory instruments are accompanied by Explanatory Notes, which describe - in plain English - what the various parts of that piece of legislation mean.

  • "All extant" - that would be nice. There is a major problem that amendments are not being applied sufficiently promptly ... but it's still the best we've got. Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:15
  • 1
    @MartinBonner: there is at least one better source: Westlaw, which claims to "publish all new acts the same day they come into force and update all the affected statutes and materials within 48 hours". However, besides a 48-hour free trial service, it's not free. (Other services like this may exist; I'm not affiliated with Westlaw, etc, etc). Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 15:10

The free source of legislation and case law in the United Kingdom is BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute).

BAILII contains the text of judgements and legislation. However, as for plain English interpretations of the law... that's possibly at odds with your question, which asks for "actual UK law paragraphs".

If it's actual UK judgements or legislation, it is possible that it will not be in plain English.

  • I was hoping to verify a couple of points in the plain English interpretations, so non-plain English is exactly what I am looking for, even if I may regret it.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 9:20

jimsug brought up BAILII, but it's limited. WestLaw and LexisNexis have more material, but you got to pay for them.

BAILII - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What case law can I find on BAILII?

  • For recent years (1996+), the case law available on BAILII is summarised here.
  • For earlier years, BAILII is adding leading cases in the core subjects covered by academic law courses, with the benefit of funding from JISC: see here. (Copyright restrictions prevent BAILII from making all these judgments available in BAILII's database at this point in time.)

BAILII - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why are there not more English High Court judgments available on BAILII?

  • There is a restriction on the number of English cases from Divisions of the High Court which can be added to the BAILII database which arises from the fact that the shorthand-writers who transcribe judgments which have been given verbally (as opposed to judgments handed down on paper) may own the copyright in the transcribed version of the judgment. Copies of judgments in published law reports may also be subject to copyright. This prevents the judgment being added to the BAILII database without the consent of the shorthand-writer or law report publisher. BAILII, being a free web site, has no funds with which to acquire a licence to copy and display the transcripts. BAILII continues to press for the system to be changed so that all judgments may be freely available.
  • Handed down first-instance decisions of the England and Wales and Northern Ireland High Courts are generally only provided to BAILII where the Judge giving the judgment indicates that they are of sufficient interest to be made available for publication on the Internet.
  • Copies of unreported English judgments which are not available on BAILII can be requested from the court, via the transcript request form EX107.

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