Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find a report cited in a Module Guide?

Our answer:

If the case is cited in a Module Guide, the citation itself will give you all the information you need in order to find the case. The process will be illustrated by working through the following example:

R v Z [2005] 2 AC 467

You will notice that the citation gives you the following information:

  • The name of the case (R [which stands for the Latin words "Rex", King, or "Regina", Queen] v Z
  • The date of the case (2005)
  • An abbreviated form of the title of the law report in which the case was published (AC)
  • The volume number of the law report in which the case was published. Note that the volume number appears before the law report title abbreviation - in this case, it is volume 2 for 2005
  • The page number on which the case starts (page 467)

In order to find the case, you will need to know which law report is represented by the "AC" abbreviation. One of the best ways to find out the meaning of a legal abbreviation is to look in the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations, freely available on the Internet. Searching this index will reveal that AC stands for the Law Reports, Appeal Cases.

The next stage is to find out which electronic database includes the full text of the Appeal Cases Reports. You can also search the A-Z Journals List to find out which database contains a law report series and the years available. This will reveal that the Appeal Cases are included on two different databases Lexis®Library and Westlaw. You could also check the finding case reports online table, or search JustisOne by citation or party names.

To retrieve the full text case report from Westlaw, log in then select the "Cases" link from the menu at the top of the page. On the cases search page, try typing R v Z in the "Parties" search box and click "Search". You will notice that over seventy results are found. What should you do now to narrow your search?

Click on the "Edit Search" button in the top right corner of the screen to return to the "Cases Search" screen. Now try also searching by the citation by typing [2005] 2 AC 467 into the citation search field and clicking "Search". You will notice that you have now retrieved the 2005 case R. v Hasan (Aytach). When you click on the case analysis link you will see that the case is also known as R. v Z.

The Westlaw cases search results display the party names, the subjects and keywords assigned to the case, a list of the citations of where the case has been reported, direct links to the full text case report available in Westlaw, and the Case Analysis document (highlighted in yellow).

Case Analysis provides the information you need when looking for relevant case law. Select Case Analysis to view the Case Digest (a short summary of the case). The Case Analysis also includes the appellate history, cases and legislation citing the case and cited by the case, and related journal articles, books and topic overviews. Links to the full text case reports available in Westlaw are available from the Law Reports section in the Table of Contents menu on the left side of the screen.

This example illustrates that you may need to try searching by various terms such as by citation, party names or subject, in order to find the case you are looking for. For further information on searching Westlaw see the Quick Start Guide.

It is essential to become familiar with all of the major electronic databases for law, (see the Online Library Nushell Guide for Laws for an overview of the key legal databases). Therefore, in order to familiarise yourself with Lexis®Library retrieve R. v Hasan (Aytach) from Lexis®Library. For help on how to log into Lexis®Library with your student portal password view the login guide.

To search the cases database select the Cases link from the top navigation menu on the Lexis®Library homepage. The cases database search screen provides detailed search boxes which enable advanced searching. Type R v Z into the "Case Name" search boxes and click "Search". Alternatively, it is possible to search for the case using Quick Find search on the homepage by typing R v Z into the "Case name or citation" search boxes and selecting Find.

Again you will have retrieved too many cases (51). To narrow your search, search by the citation. Citation search is more effective as a citation is specific to an individual case. Select the Go back  link at the top of the results list to go back to the cases search screen. Enter the citation [2005] 2 AC 467 into the citation search box and click search to retrieve the Case Overview document. To read the full text of the 2005 Court of Appeal case report, select the [2005] 2 AC 467 link at the top of the page.

For further information on searching Lexis®Library see the Quick Start Guide.

If at any time you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Online Library.