Library

Page last updated: Monday, February 26, 2024

Access

The Library is available for the use of registered students and subscribing members of King’s Inns.

Opening Hours during the Academic Term

  • King’s Inns Library is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7.15 pm 

  • King’s Inns Library is open on Saturday from 12.30 pm to 5 pm 
  • King’s Inns Library staff are also operating a remote service by email library@kingsinns.ie during opening hours.

Admittance to the Library for those who are not registered students or subscribing members of King’s Inns is at the discretion of the Library Committee, or the Librarian acting on its behalf. If you wish to consult an item which is unavailable elsewhere, please apply in writing by email to the Librarian at library@kingsinns.ie, giving details of your enquiry and where appropriate, a letter of introduction. However, as our priority is our current students, appointments may be scheduled outside of the academic term.

The Library is not open to the general public but will deal with enquiries, received in writing or by email, about past members of King’s Inns.  Charges for genealogical research will be applied.

Library

King’s Inns Library offers a legal reference, lending and online service to registered students. The Library is also available to subscribing members of King’s Inns and has a historically significant collection to maintain. 

In 1788 a nucleus law collection was formed though the purchase of the professional library of Mr Justice Christopher Robinson. The present library building was completed in 1832 and now houses over 110,000 volumes, about half of which form the legal collection. 

The legal collection contains mainly Irish, and many English, standard textbooks along with statutes, reports of cases and legal periodicals. European, Commonwealth and American law are well represented. Among the older legal materials are fine collections of trials, Irish appeals to the House of Lords, nominate reports, Roman law and canon law. Subscriptions to electronic databases including Westlaw IE, Westlaw UK, Lexis+ UK, Bloomsbury Professional Online, HeinOnline, CambridgeCore, Decisis, and vLexJustis ensure students have remote access to a wide range of legal material online. 

The general collection contains works on art, history, the classics, literature, biography and numerous other subjects. Of particular note are the holdings of incunabula, parliamentary papers, pamphlets and Irish language manuscripts dating back to the 15th century. 

The Reading Room not only provides a space to study in but also has Wi–Fi access for laptops, some computer terminals for student use, as well as printing, scanning and photocopying facilities.

Services

Borrowing

Only students registered at King’s Inns may borrow material from the holdings of current legal textbooks. A total of two books may be borrowed at a time. Certain current textbooks are for Library use only. The majority of the Library’s holdings are reference only.

Please contact the library by email library@kingsinns.ie to renew books or place a hold.

Electronic Resources

The Library subscribes to a wide range of electronic databases which provide students with remote access to Irish, English, European and International material.

  1. Bloomsbury Professional Online: King’s Inns Library subscribes to the Irish property law, Irish civil litigation, Irish criminal law, Irish company and commercial law, Irish medical law, Irish planning law, Irish employment law and Intellectual Property & IT modules of this service, enabling students to access major Irish legal textbooks and a monthly update of legal developments in the specific areas.
  2. vLexJustis: An online legal research platform and database providing access to Irish reported and unreported cases. Working as a citator it provides information on the relationship between cases.
  3. Decisis: A current awareness tool, it includes updates on all recently published judgments of the Irish superior courts.
  4. Westlaw IE:A wide range of Irish legal periodicals can be found on this database. It also provides access to the Consolidated Court Rules, Irish Current Law Statutes Annotated, the Irish Law Reports Monthly, a current awareness service and a number of e–books .
  5. Lexis+ UK: An extensive range of material is available on this database including Halsbury’s Laws of England, law reports from the UK and Ireland, international and UK journals, material from Australia, Canada and New Zealand and some e–books.
  6. Westlaw UK: A major legal database which gives access to a wide range of UK legislation, law reports and journals. The Legal Journals Index, EU and international material are also included. Some e–books are covered by the King’s Inns subscription.
  7. Cambridge Core: provides access to a number of e–journals and e–books.
  8. HeinOnline: This resource hosts a extensive range of e–journal titles spanning many jurisdictions, and includes a collection of Irish legal journals.

Inter–Library Loans

The Library of the King’s Inns is a registered customer of the British Library Document Supply Service.

The purpose of this service is to enable students to have access to material not currently held by the Library. Students can access copies of articles, journals, reports, conference papers or borrow books from the British Library collection.

The fees for this service are set by the British Library Document Supply Service.

Please contact a member of the Library team for further information or if you wish to avail of this service.

Research

King’s Inns Library may be accessed for research purposes by suitably qualified members of the academic community who have been granted the necessary permission and by prior appointment only. Some of the material held by the Library is fragile and the regulations for researchers must be adhered to. The preservation and conservation of material in the collections is our primary concern and due to the fragile nature of some materials it may not be possible to view the original. Please email library@kingsinns.ie with queries about the library collection.

Rules for Researchers >

The Library and Archives team are happy to assist with genealogical queries about past members of King’s Inns. However these requests must be received in writing or by email archives@kingsinns.ie and where possible should include the appropriate names and dates.

Reproduction fees and charges:

Charges for digital images, scanning and for genealogical and other research undertaken in the Library and Archives are set out below. All our charges are currently under review.

King’s Inns Library and Archives team will facilitate reasonable requests for scanning and/or photographing of material subject to the condition of the material and completion of the appropriate forms. King’s Inns reserves the right to refuse to photograph or scan certain items. The preservation and conservation of material in the collections is our primary concern and due to the fragile nature of some materials it may not be possible to facilitate a reproduction. All relevant provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 must be complied with.

Memorials

  • Fee for digital image of one Memorial €12.00
  • Fee for digital image of the second and subsequent Memorials €8.00
  • Fee for previously digitised Memorials €5.00 each
  • A maximum of 4 Memorials may be requested

Reduced rates are available for subscribing members of the King’s Inns

  • Fee for digital image of one Memorial €10.00
  • Fee for digital image of the second and subsequent Memorials €7.00
  • Fee for previously digitised Memorials €4.00 each
  • A maximum of 4 Memorials may be requested

Other archive materials

  • A fee of €3.00 per digital image

Scanning

Only certain items from the historical or archive collection are eligible for scanning. This service is not available for current materials or to current students

  • Minimum charge for PDF scans (1–10 pages) €5.00, plus 50c per additional page

Search fees

King’s Inns Library and Archives reserves the right to require payment of a search fee. The minimum search fee is €50.00 and is payable in advance of the supply of material.

Photocopying

All relevant provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 must be complied with.

Photocopying of material from the historical or archive collection is not permitted. Please consult with a member of library staff for the most appropriate method of obtaining a copy.

Current registered students can print/photocopy using their student papercut account at a cost of 6c per page.

Subscribing members of King’s Inns can print/photocopy using the library papercut account at a cost of 12c per page.

If photocopying is carried our by a member of library staff on behalf of any category of user there is a surcharge of 12c per page in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 (S.I. No. 247 of 2000)

Postage

Normal postage rates apply

Regulations

  1. No library book, periodical or other work other than those designated for loan, may be taken from the Reading Room except on the authority of a Bencher of King’s Inns.
  2. All Library users, with the exception of Benchers, must sign the attendance book.
  3. Students must not bring unauthorised visitors into the Reading Room, except on designated dates.
  4. King’s Inns Library reserves the right to refuse admission.
  5. Users are not allowed to bring briefcases or bags of any description (including handbags, laptop bags/covers/sleeves) into the Reading Room. Please use the lockers provided for day by day usage in the Entrance Hall.
  6. Users who bring bags into the Reading Room will be asked to remove them immediately.
  7. No bottles or containers of ink or correction fluid, or any sharp objects, may be brought into the Reading Room.
  8. Students are permitted to have natural water in non–spill bottles in the Reading Room. No other drinks are permitted.
  9. Food of any type (including chewing gum) is strictly forbidden in the Reading Room.
  10. Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is prohibited in all areas of the Library Building.
  11. For the sake of other users, please be as quiet as possible in the Reading Room of the Library.
  12. All electronic devices should be used in a manner that does not cause any disturbance to other users.
  13. The use of mobile phones in the Reading Room is not permitted.
  14. All Library users must furnish proof of their identity if requested to do so by Library staff. In the case of King’s Inns students, the King’s Inns student I.D. card will be sufficient.
  15. All students must ensure that they have a current King’s Inns student I.D card, please note that these are non–transferable.
  16. All borrowing transactions (issuing/returning/renewing), and all printing/photocopying must be completed 15 minutes before closing time.
  17. Students are requested to shut down their computers not later than 10 minutes before the stated closing time.
  18. A bell will be rung 15 minutes before closing time. Users are asked to leave the Library Building by the designated closing time.
  19. Any person who breaches Library regulations may be reported to the Council of King’s Inns or the Benchers, or both, for appropriate action.

Catalogue

Legal Material

The online catalogue, available to students through Moodle lists all law textbooks and legal serials holdings. 

The printed volumes of the Law Catalogue lists law books received up to 1846, with some written additions up to c1920. This material is included in the records on the online catalogue.

Non–Legal Material

The Guard–book Catalogues list the non–legal works held by the Library. A project is underway to convert these handwritten records into online catalogue entries.

Historic Manuscripts

The Library holds over 300 manuscripts, which date from the early 17th century to the 20th century, covering both legal and non–legal matters. 

Our Irish manuscripts have been digitised in collaboration with DIAS and are available on Irish Script on Screen.

Further information on our manuscripts can be obtained below.

Guide and Descriptive List

History

While King’s Inns was established in 1541, the Society had begun to acquire books for a library in 1788 when the benchers agreed to purchase some law volumes that belonged to the estate of the late Christopher Robinson, a judge in King’s Bench. As its collection grew it was stored for a while in the bencher’s chamber.

In 1825, the Benchers voted £1,000 for the erection of a new library building. The present library building was erected between 1826 and 1830, to a design by Frederick Darley. In 1892 an annexe was added at the north–west end.

The Society enjoyed the benefit of the Copyright Act, 1801, entitling it to a free copy of any book published in the United Kingdom; but it lost that privilege in 1836. Nevertheless, partly due to a steady stream of acquisitions that included donations, the Society soon boasted a fine collection of both legal and non–legal texts. The benchers thus encouraged members of the legal profession to read widely in both the humanities and the law.

Today the library houses just over 110,000 volumes, including both legal and non–legal works.

(taken in part from The Honorable Society of King’s Inns by Colum Kenny, 2016)