You don’t have to be a law student find value in the Library’s legal databases. Perhaps you are an Education student interested in the law relating to free schools, a Pharmacy student researching the regulation of a particular drug, or a Politics student looking for contemporary news reports on the conflict in Syria? If so, we have a specialist resource for you.
Case law and legislation
Looking for the judgment in a particular UK case or the up-to-date version of an Act currently in force? Both the Westlaw UK and LexisLibrary legal databases contain extensive collections of case reports and also the updated texts of domestic legislation.
To search effectively, from the opening page on either service click the Cases (for a case) or Legislation (for an Act) links in the top menu bar to access dedicated search screens, then type in the name of the case, item of legislation or the case citation into the appropriate search box.
If you have the name or citation of a case but don’t know on which database to use to find it, then you can simply enter these details into the JustCite database to obtain direct links to available full-text versions.
The News menu link on LexisLibrary gives you searchable access to articles from a wide range of national as well as local UK newspapers from the past few decades, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and The Times. Indeed, if it’s been published in the Grimsby Telegraph since February 1998, you’ll find the article on LexisLibrary! (For modern newspaper content, you may also consider the non-legal database, UK Newsstand.)
If you are searching for articles on a particular subject and get too many results, consider using using the drop-down menu on LexisLibrary to limit searches to certain sections of articles, such as the headline or start, or to require search terms to be mentioned significantly in articles. This can usefully retrieve a smaller, more focused set of results.
Parliamentary and Official Publications
As well as passing laws, the UK Parliament provides a forum for the scrutiny of domestic and international matters. Parliament’s work can provide researchers with valuable contemporary and historical insights on a range of topics, in publications such as Bills, Command Papers, committee reports and debates. Full-text access to these materials on the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP) database covers the late 17th century to 2004. From 2006 onwards, you’ll find a one-stop shop to Parliamentary publications on Public Information Online.
If you are seeking information from a particular Parliamentary resource or type of publication, use the tick boxes on the search screen to limit your searches to the relevant category or categories of material, for example “Bills” or “Command Papers”.
When searching HCPP you will find narrowing your search to an appropriate date range assists with locating relevant resources from a particular historical period. Where you have details of a specific Command Paper, search using the Paper number, eg Cm 1001, in the corresponding search box.
How to find them
For more information on what’s available to you, see the Databases for Law page, or you can ask the Liaison Librarian for Law. I am happy to help and can normally be found on the 4th Floor of the Library. Alternatively you can email me for guidance or an appointment.
This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.
This tip was written by Ross Connell, Liaison Librarian for Law.