Introduction to Social Work Legislation

Introduction to Social Work Legislation

Core electronic texts

The following books are available electronically. Use your library account to access the full text.


Journals contain research papers written by experts and are very up to date. They are useful for finding information on specific aspects of a topic. The following electronic journals will be useful for this module:

The professional magazine Community Care also contains many useful articles relevant to social work legislation.

You can search for articles in all of these journals and many more by using Ebscohost Research Databases. The following Ebscohost databases will be especially useful for this module:


If the legal issue you are interested in has been in the news then newspaper articles could prove useful. NewsBank Newspapers UK contains the full text of articles from all national (and many of the local) UK and Ireland newspapers for at least the last 10 years. Remember that newspaper articles and news sources should always be supplemented by more academic material.


Acts of Parliament may be found on the website. This site also contains Statutory Instruments (SIs) which add detail to the law.

Cases are another important source of UK Law. Cases are only reported if they establish new law, or amend existing law. The vast majority are not published.

A major free source of UK cases is the BAILII site, which is not only searchable by the names of the parties involved, but also includes a list of important cases on particular subjects; e.g. family law.

European Materials

A third important source of UK law is the European Union. Cases in the UK may be referred to the European Court of Human Rights for certain issues where the decisions of UK Courts have been questioned. You can search for cases by either party name or subject by using the HUDOC database.


The following websites can help you to find useful information:

  • Care Quality Commission - this is the new health and social care regulator for England. It has introduced core standards for different areas of social work and social care service provision which are available on the website.
  • The Children's Legal Centre - charity concerned with law and policy affecting children and young people.
  • Eurochild - a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to improve the quality of life for children and young people.
  • Department for Education - formed on 12th May 2010, the Department for Education is responsible for education and children's services. It includes current legislation regarding child care, child protection and adoption.
  • Department of Health - the home page of the Department of Health is a useful source of material including local authority circulars which amplify how legislation should be implemented. It also contains useful material on mental health law and community care.
  • Home Office - excellent for up to date material on criminal justice issues.
  • SCIE's e-learning resources: Law & Social Work - interactive tutorials to illustrate key aspects of the law as applied to social work practice.
  • University of Kent: Lawlinks - Gateway to legal resources on the web maintained by the University of Kent. It contains a wealth of links covering UK resources, UK Government, International law, European Union, human rights, civil rights, criminal justice, family law, gay and lesbian rights, immigration and more.

  • University of Liverpool: Centre for the Study of the Child, the Family and the Law - This is an interdisciplinary centre that aims to undertake and produce authoritative research on legal and social policy and practice, as well as issues of national and international concern affecting children and their families.


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