Frequently Asked Questions


How do I search for cases by topic on Westlaw?

Our answer:

Let's imagine that you need to search for cases relating to sex discrimination against female employees in the air industry. How would you search for relevant case law?

After logging into Westlaw, select "Cases" from the menu across the top of the page. Then in the "Free Text " box type [(discrimination /5 female or women) and (airline* or airways)] and click "Search". Please be sure that you do not miss out any of the brackets, as this will affect the search. In this example, you are asking the database to perform 3 functions:

  • first of all, you are asking the database to search for the word "discrimination" if it appears within 5 words of EITHER "female" OR "women".
  • secondly, you are asking the database to search for the words airline, airlines OR airways.
  • finally, you are asking the database to combine those two searches, and present you with a list of cases which contain both discrimination against women AND air companies.

You should retrieve approximately 79 hits. This is too many results to go through thoroughly. To further narrow your search scroll down to the date filter on the left side of the page, and limit your search by date range (for example the last year).

Select the arrow to the left of each result to display the party names, subjects and keywords applied to the case, where the case has been reported, and links to the full text documents where available in Westlaw. To view the abstract or summary of the case, select the case analysis document. To view the full text of a report select the linked citation.

If, at any stage of your studies, you need assistance in searching the legal databases, contact the Online Library for assistance.