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Learning Legal Rules

A Students' Guide to Legal Method and Reasoning

Ninth Edition

James Holland and Julian Webb

April 2016

ISBN: 9780198728436

448 pages

In Stock

Price: £31.99

The most trusted legal method textbook by expert authors, giving students a solid grounding to excel in their degrees



Learning Legal Rules introduces law students to the techniques of legal analysis and argument, equipping them with the knowledge and reasoning skills needed for effective study and practice of law. The text has been used in common law countries around the world as a leading legal method guide for over twenty years.

  • Written by two distinguished authors, this is the trusted and established guide to legal method and skills for undergraduate students
  • Provides dedicated guidance on areas students find difficult including statutory interpretation, ratio decidendi, and obiter dictum
  • Includes a dedicated chapter on European legal method
  • Takes a practical approach with exercises and questions throughout so students can confirm their understanding and develop their legal reasoning skills
  • Accompanied by an Online Resource Centre hosting a test bank of 200 multiple choice questions for use by lecturers, and self-test questions for students

New to this edition

  • Chapter 2 has been substantially re-written to emphasize the importance of online and digital resources
  • The section in Chapter 4 on avoiding plagiarism has been extended
  • Chapter 10 has been updated and revised to take account of the latest debates over the future of the Human Rights Act

About the Author(s)

James Holland, Professor Emeritus, Bristol Law School, University of the West of England, and Julian Webb, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School

James Holland is a Barrister and Professor Emeritus at Bristol Law School, the University of the West of England.

Julian Webb is Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School. He is former Director of the UK Centre for Legal Education and led the research phase of the Legal Education and Training Review.

Table of Contents

    1: Understanding the law
    2: Finding the law
    3: Reading the law
    4: From reading to writing
    5: Law, fact, and language
    6: The doctrine of judicial precedent
    7: How precedent operates: ratio decidendi and obiter dictum
    8: Making sense of statutes
    9: Interpreting statutes
    10: 'Bringing rights home': legal method and convention rights
    11: European legal method
    12: Exploiting legal reasoning


The authors have conceived an expansive yet straightforward, a detailed yet highly readable, examination of the vagaries of legal method both in theory and in practice. - New Law Journal

A well-written, accessible yet detailed introduction to legal method. - Rosie Harding, Professor of Law and Society at the University of Birmingham

An excellent textbook for students new to law. It not only provides essential information, but crucially helps students develop the skills to find, interpret and engage with law and legal issues... essential reading for introductory law courses. - Dr Anthony Farrant, Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire

A helpful volume, laying out a range of key elements in acquiring legal skills and techniques, with clear structure and guidance for the novice student. - Angus Johnston, Hoffmann Fellow in Law, University College and Professor of Law at the University of Oxford

A very useful text, well presented with very handy and easy-to-use diagrams. - Ruth Houghton, Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Durham

Holland & Webb encourage students to assume the perspective of a legal decision-maker, tackling various aspects of legal practice including judicial precedents, statutory interpretation, and the application of EU and ECHR law amongst others. - Dr Günther Auth, Lecturer at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

A sophisticated introduction to legal method and academic skills for lawyers... An incredibly valuable resource. - Jeremy Marshall, Lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool

Additional Resources

Learning Legal Rules is accompanied by an Online Resource Centre, complete with a test bank of 200 multiple choice questions for use by lecturers, and self-test questions for students.

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