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About Hammicks Legal Information Services

Short History of Hammicks Legal Information Services


Hammicks Legal Information Services (HLIS) takes its name from Charles Hammick a career army officer who, on leaving the army with the rank of Major in 1964, went on to open a general bookshop in Farnham, Surrey in 1968.


In 1973 after being featured in The Times, BBC’s Money Programme and winning the Ronald Pollitzer prize for “significant services in the widening of book interest and book ownership”, Charles allowed himself to be purchased by Associated Book Publishers (ABP) who were seeking to expand into retailing. APB were the owners of a number of academic / professional publishers including Sweet & Maxwell, Stephens and Routledge and were keen to develop a chain of bookshops to extend their influence in the marketplace.


On the 4th August 1975 ABP transferred the retail law interests of Sweet & Maxwell to Charles’ control under the new trading name of Hammick, Sweet & Maxwell. The new group comprised a showroom in Chancery Lane, London, a mail order business and a journal / subscription business. HLIS therefore traces it own history from this date.


Hammick, Sweet & Maxwell published a catalogue of law titles available for purchase through it shop in Chancery Lane or by mail order. Today the Hammicks Law Catalogue is still an annual event having been published for over 35 years continuously.


In 1986 Charles Hammick retired and on the 31st July of the same year the London law bookshop was removed to 191-192 Fleet Street (its present position) and thus celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. At this point the group was still called Hammick, Sweet & Maxwell and had been a sister company of Sweet & Maxwell publishing for 11 years.


During 1987 ABP was purchased and broken up by International Thomson, a family owned business from Canada, keen to expand its professional publishing interests. HLIS (now renamed Hammicks Bookshops and including a wholesale business and 21 general bookshops as well as what eventually became HLIS) was purchased by John Menzies Ltd who hoped to duplicate the success that rival WH Smiths had had in purchasing Waterstones bookshops.


In August 1993 following a management “buy in” which bought the Hammicks shops out of John Menzies, a second Hammicks Legal Bookshop was opened in Manchester. This event prompted the formation of Hammicks Legal Division which then went on to further expand by opening a shop in Bristol (1995), a website (1999) and develop a sales force covering the whole of England, Wales and parts of Scotland. In order to supply accurate bibliographic data to its customers the Division published in addition to its annual catalogue (first published 1979), a Student Law catalogue, a Practitioner Law catalogue (looseleafs and mainworks only) and Hammicks Legal Catalogue on CD (a subscription product sold to clients across the UK and overseas).


Following many years of growth Hammicks Legal Division was sold to John Smith & Son Ltd in April 2003 and its headquarters moved to Ringwood, Hampshire. From there sales continued to grow and in 2007 the Division was awarded a contract to supply the Ministry of Justice which is still retained. It was during this time in 2008 that we were renamed Hammicks Legal Information Services as this name was thought to better reflect the range and depth of services offered to customers across the world.


Hammicks Update was first sent to customers in 2007. This monthly update on new titles, by category of law, expected from all law publishers over the next 12 months coupled with Just Published! detailing titles published in the last calendar month, allowed customers to keep abreast with new titles within their practice areas whilst ensuring that nothing important was missed due to early publication or for any other reason. Today thousands of Hammicks customers receive this monthly email alert or download the information in pdf format from our website.


Today in 2014 Hammicks Legal Information Services has been in place for 39 years. We remain the principal legal retailer within the UK, with the largest law bookshop in the world in Fleet Street, London plus our web and subscription/journals businesses which have customers world-wide. Our customers continue to receive an unrivalled one stop service for print products of all types, including online access to management information relating to their accounts and regular updates on new products. As well as traditional print information we also provide eBooks from leading law publishers and a growing range of online services and digital products in such areas as Compliance, Library Management, Business Development and Law Reports.

About our Website

We hold an impressive range of stock covering all law subjects for both the student market and legal practitioners. Experienced and knowledgeable staff are on hand to deal with your order and advise on stock availability and can order direct from the publisher any title in print which is not currently held in stock.

Although we carry a wide range of stock, inclusion of a title on this website does not guarantee that we have a copy on the shelf - some titles have to be ordered in from the publisher before despatch. Publishers typically take around 7 days to supply us with these titles, but this can vary. The 'availability' status on the website is the latest information we have from the publisher regarding their stock (eg. In Print, Not Yet Published, Out of Print). Please email or telephone if you require more information about the expected delivery time for a particular title. Current stock availability is always shown where possible (ranging from ‘No Stock’ to ‘Plenty of Stock’).

You can view your order history from the 'My Details' link on the left of each page on the site (you will need to be logged in); for specific information about the progress of an outstanding order contact us by email. If you are contacting us about a particular title that you've seen on this website, please remember to quote the ISBN (10 or 13 digit product code) that is listed on all product pages.