State Trials

The State Trials is a fully searchable, full-text CD-Rom database, of historical English cases relating to crimes against the State. Available onsite at IALS Library, the database has Folio Views software as its interface. Although the interface is somewhat old-fashioned in its functionality, it contains a wealth of important cases stretching back over centuries, including the treason trials of William Wallace and Anne Boleyn.


The State Trials are available to all library users, in the Library. Offsite access is not available.


The State Trials brings together both Howell & Cobbetts' State Trial series, and also the new edition of the State Trials by Macdonnell (1888), as well as cases from a number of other relevant and contemporary sources. These reports are "... in general trials relating to offences against the State, or trials illustrative of the law relating to State Officers of High Rank." Dating back as far as the 12th century, this is a useful tool for those researching legal history or crimes against the State.


You can search at both a basic and an advanced level, and the material can also be browsed. The search functionality may be somewhat limited compared with that which you are used to: the basic search allows you to enter just a single term, whilst the advanced search allows a search over a number of keywords and phrases, which can be combined with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT). Results are displayed in the "Hit List" tab as blocks of text from the relevant report with the search terms highlighted. Double clicking on this will take you to the report itself. Search boxes can be accessed via the search button from the grey tool bar at the top of the screen, or from the search tab at the bottom. There are also a number of "query templates" available from the search button on the top grey toolbar, which include "search for monarch", "volume and page", "trial names" and "monarch".

You can browse by volume, alphabetically by case name or by major case figure, alphabetically by subject, and there is also an index under the heading "miscellaneous contents".


It is possible to print either a highlighted block of text or a specific section of a document by clicking FILE and then PRINT from the grey toolbar at the top of the database. In order to save results, it may in practice be easier to copy and paste the required sections into a new word document, and then save that.

Help Files

There are detailed help files available from the Help button on the grey toolbar of the database. Click the "How do I" option, and this will take you into a well ordered help file, where you can search for specific help in the alphabetical index at the end, or browse the navigable contents tree on the left. This covers all areas of database searching, browsing and printing.