Frequently Asked Questions


How do I search the Legal Journals Index?

Our answer:

Probably the best place to start when you are looking for legal journals on a particular topic is the Legal Journals Index (LJI), which indexes over 800 journals from English language legal journals published in the United Kingdom and Europe journals from 1986 onwards. This index is part of Westlaw. After logging into Westlaw, select "Journals" , then "Journals Search" from the menu across the top of the Westlaw homepage. The "Journals Search" page will then be displayed.

Select more options to reveal more search categories. You can search for articles in a variety of ways. For instance, you can search by "free text" or by "subject/keyword". It is very important that you are aware of the difference between these 2 types of searches. Searching for a "free text" will search for a particular word anywhere in the record, including the "title" and "abstract" (or summary), as well as the "subject" and "keyword" fields. Searching for a "subject keyword", on the other hand, will only find records which have that particular word in the "subject" or "keyword" fields. As an example, type res gestae in the "free text" box and click on "Search", and see how many results you retrieve. Now select edit search and delete res gestae from the "free text" box, and type res gestae in the "Subject, keyword" box instead and click on "Search". You will notice that Westlaw suggests subject / keywords as you type. In the second search, you will see that the search is much more specific and retrieves fewer results.

You should also be aware that you can use Boolean searching to combine words in your search. For instance, try typing res gestae and hearsay in the "free text" box and click on "Search". This will find all records which include both res gestae AND hearsay in the same record. As an experiment, try typing res gestae or hearsay in the "free text " and click on "Search", and notice the difference in the number of results. The second search is looking for records which have EITHER res gestae OR hearsay (but not necessarily both) in the record.

Additionally, please be aware that if you are looking for a specific phrase, you should enclose the phrase within inverted commas. For example, type test of reasonableness in the "free text" box (without using inverted commas) and click on "Search", and notice the large number of results retrieved. Now try typing "test of reasonableness" in the "free text" box (this time using inverted commas) and click on "search". You will notice that the second search is much more specific and therefore retrieves fewer results.

If you are looking for journal articles about a particular case, you can type the party names in the "Cases Cited (Party)" field. As an example, try typing High Trees House in the "Cases Cited (Party)" field and click on "Search".

Similarly, if you are looking for journal articles about a particular piece of legislation, you can type in the title of the legislation (i.e. the title of the Act) in the "legislation title" field. As an example, try typing Trustee Act 1925 in the "Legislation Title" field and click on "Search".

In the results list you will see the title of the article, the article citation (which includes the abbreviated title of the journal in which the article appears, the year in which the article was published and the page numbers), the subject of the article (e.g. criminal evidence), a list of keywords describing the content of the article (in addition to the main subject), and the availablity (either the Legal Journals Index abstract or the Full Text Article). The Legal Journals Index Abstract provides you with additional information, including the full title of the journal (not just the abbreviation), an Abstract (or summary) of the selected article, and Legislation and Cases Cited in the article.

Usually, the Legal Journals Index will give only the references and abstracts for journal articles, rather than the full text of the articles themselves. The exceptions are journals published by Sweet and Maxwell (one of the major legal publishers in the UK), for instance, the Criminal law review. For these Sweet and Maxwell journals, the full text of articles (from 1986 onwards) may be found on Westlaw (which is a Sweet and Maxwell database), and there will be a link to the full text directly from the journals results.

If, at this stage, you are still unable to find the full text of an article, search the A-Z Journals List to find out if the journal is available from another of the Online Library databases. If you require further assistance please contact the Online Library and a Librarian will confirm whether the article is available electronically or not.