Services for research postgraduates*



* This information is for postgraduate students registered with the Oxford Law Faculty as candidates for postgraduate research degrees.

 General Services

Law Reserve Collection

The Library keeps a collection of the most heavily used text books in the Reserve Collection, behind the Enquiry Desk. These books are for use within the Library only (as is the rest of the collection), but are "wanded" in and out to readers, so that staff always know where they are in the Library, to prevent them being mislaid. This means that material on reading lists should always be readily available in the Library.

Legal research classes

We advertise classes and courses in our weekly newsletter which is sent to the undergraduate, postgraduate and Faculty mailing lists, and on our web site (classes). There is also a Book a Librarian Service which allows you to book a session specifically on your topic of study or a refresher. 

Please contact the Library staff as early as possible if you would like us to develop a new course on any aspect of the collections.

The Library has a collection of online Libguides designed to introduce you to the various legal resources available, both in print in the Library and online, when you start a new topic or need to study a different jurisdiction.

Law Bod 4 students

Law Bod 4 students provides scanned copies of articles that are not available online through the legal databases. For example, articles from LQR, PL and Crim LR.

IT facilities

The Library has 40 public access computers. Please see the IT and Computing section for more information

You are very welcome to use your Laptop in the library. Please see the IT and Computing section for information about connecting your laptop to the library network.

Rooms for groups and discussion sessions

Library users are welcome to book these rooms - for periods of 2 hour sessions - at the Law Enquiry Desk or by email.
If the space has no prior booking, then these spaces are open to other readers to use on a first come first served basis.
Please note that the library no food rule applies in all these spaces: only bottled water and drinks in Keepcups are allowed.

Discussion Rooms 

On Level 0 there are 2 small discussion rooms (maximum occupancy 4 people) and 1 larger discussion room (maximum occupancy 6 people). These have whiteboards and AV equipment.

Seminar Room

The Library's Seminar Room on Level 1 may be used for academic meetings and seminars on weekdays when the Library is open. It is suitable for groups of 15-18 seated around a large circular table.

Research desks and research carrels

As you are reading for a research degree, you may apply for a research desk in the Library. Students reading for PRS, DPhil, MPhil, MLitt and MSt degrees who are currently registered with the Law Faculty are eligible to apply.

There are Research desks on the North side of the main Library floor, in the Gallery and also in research carrels.

There is a small number of closed carrels in the Library. They are primarily intended for readers with special needs, but may sometimes be made available for small groups working on special projects (e.g. mooting competitions). Please ask the Library staff for information.

Allocation of desks - some rules

These desks are for the personal use of the reader or readers to whom they are assigned. This means that you may not 'lend' your desk to another reader.

There is no ability to lock items away, so you may not keep any personal belongings there, or affix any decorations to the areas.

Due to a high demand, most desks are shared on a basis of 6 readers to 4 desks, or 3 readers to 2 desks; in practice differing patterns of library usage mean that overcrowding situations are very rare.

You may reserve to your desk a maximum of FIFTEEN textbooks and TEN books from closed access (formally Bodleian stacks). This excludes all law reports, journals and legislation. The library reserves the right not to reserve, or to de-reserve any book in the interests of general use.

How to reserve a book

To reserve a book, please fill in a shelf slip and leave it on the shelf in place of the book. You then present the book at the Enquiry Desk. Please show your research reader's ticket when you do this. When the staff have approved and processed the reservation, please return the book immediately to your desk. Leave the blue bookmark showing in the book, so that staff do not remove the book.

How to return a reserved book

When you no longer need a reserved book, reverse the bookmark (to indicate you no longer need it), and return the book to the Enquiry Desk for the staff to cancel the reservation.

Please note that only Library staff may transfer reserved books to another research reader for reservation.

Using laptops at research desks

The research desks on the main floor of the library and the research carrels have ethernet ports which you may use to connect to the network. The wireless network is also available from some of these desks. The research desks above the enquiry desk do not have ethenet ports and have limited wireless access.  For information about connecting to the library network see the laptop section.

Please do not leave your laptop unattended; you are advised to use a flexible cable lock to anchor your laptop to the desk.

Duration of reserved desk status

Tickets for research desks are issued for one academic year only. All expire on 31st July each year, and desks will be cleared during August. If you are continuing to work in Oxford for a postgraduate degree of the Faculty of Law, please tell us before the end of July so that we do not remove your books. Please note, however, that extensions beyond one year are unable to be guaranteed, and depend upon demand by fellow students.

Re-shelving materials

Please place all unreserved items on the shelving trolleys before you leave the library at the end of the day.

Library staff will re-shelve any statutes, law reports, journals, etc. (with shelfmarks from 1-450) left on your desk each morning. Some multi-volume works (including loose-leafs) and items from the EDC may not usually be reserved.

Bodleian Law Library books are reserved until the end of the current academic year only.

Closed access books ordered using the Request or Hold system on SOLO are reserved for one month: if you wish to continue using them for longer, you must renew the reservation yourself (you can do this using SOLO).


Expected usage rates

If you do not use your reserved seat regularly on at least two or three days a week during term, and do not reserve books to it, we may ask you to give it up to accommodate another reader.

Another postgraduate or academic visitor who applies for a seat may be assigned to any seat not in frequent use.

If you go away

Please let us know if you are going to be away from Oxford for more than a month. When you have finished your course, or submitted your thesis, or leave Oxford for good, please tell us, and bring your reserved books to the enquiry desk for de-reservation.

BCL and MJur students

Students who prepare a brief dissertation as part of a taught course cannot be allocated a desk, but will be able to use the Graduate Reading Room.

Inter-Library Loans

If you need a book or journal that is not available in Oxford, we may be able to borrow it from another library through our Inter-Library loan service.

Further assistance

Margaret Watson is the Academic Services Librarian. She will allocate your desk, and can be contacted if you have any further queries.

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