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Law Resources: Journals: Finding and using print and electronic journals

A brief guide to print and electronic law journals

You have access to an extensive range of legal journals at the University.  Primarily, content is available in electronic format which maximises access to content and also enhances your legal research by allowing you to quickly and easily move between case law, legislation and other commentary sources, referenced in the journal sources you are using.

You will be directed to key titles via your module reading lists.

Use the guidance below to explore the full range of materials available to you.

View the full Law Subject Guide for guidance on other legal materials

The Library Search services will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

Library Search

Search for print and online books, journals, articles + moreLibrary Search LibGuide available for guidance.

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Penryn Library Search

Search the print and streaming media collections that you have access to at Penryn campus.

You have access to an extensive range of legal journals at the University.  

The LibrarySearch service will show you many of the journal titles that are available to you.  However, there is a vast collection of worldwide legal journal titles available via Westlaw and Lexis.  Not all these titles appear via the LibrarySearch service, so see the journal guidance for these services so you know how to find all the journal materials available to you.

Use the tabs to find out more about locating specific journal titles, conducting topic searching across journals and how to access the journals on the key law databases

It is typical that journals may be available in print and electronic format, and also that the latest journal volumes will be available from services like Westlaw ot Lexis, whilst earlier content is found on journal archive services such as HeinOnline or JSTOR.

Example: International and Comparative Law Quarterly.

You will come across references to journal articles in reading lists, textbooks and from the online searching that you undertake.

References to journal articles often use legal abbreviations to refer to journal titles, e.g.  Reece, H. The end of domestic violence (2006) 69 M.L.R. 770.  

In this case you would need to look at the Modern Law Review journal to find your article.  

You can use LibrarySearch to look up Modern Law Review and see all the places where you have access.  In this example, you have various online options available to you.

LibrarySearch lists many legal journals - but not all!  If you cannot find your journal title via LibrarySearch you may need to explore the legal databases to find the content.  For example, the international journals available on Lexis and Westlaw are not all discoverable via LibrarySearch - you need to log in to the databases direct to locate the journal titles.

If you need to interpret a legal abbreviation in order to search for the journal title, look at at the online Legal Abbreviations guidance.

 If you are not looking for a particular journal title but wish to find out which journals have been published in a particular area then you can search online to find relevant information.

It is worth spending some time planning your search strategy so that you can search effectively and do not become overwhelmed by lots of irrelevant results, or search too narrowly so that you find very little information. 

The Search Techniques LibGuide provides lots of helpful guidance to help you plan your search strategy.

You can use LibrarySearch for topic searching for a broad search across a range of full text resources. This can be useful, particularly at dissertation time when you are looking to search across legal and non legal materials.

However, you will also need to target the legal databases specifically for detailed searching within journal articles, as Library Search does not index the content of the large legal databases.

Westlaw is a good starting point as it includes the Legal Journals Index as well as lots of full text journal articles. You will also want to search the journals that are available on Lexis Library. Westlaw and Lexis are provided by different legal publishers so each holds unique content - in addition to content that is common across both such as legislation and major law reports.

HeinOnline and JSTOR are worth searching if you want to look at the discussion of legal issues in articles over time, as they provde access to older volumes of the journals.  

Find out more about these various services via the adjacent tabs.

Use the online guidance from Westlaw to help you use the Database.  An online tutorial on using secondary sources such as Westlaw journals is also available.  

Click on Journals in the top tool bar to get to the search screen. Search results will include both Abstracted Articles from the Legal journals index and Full Text Articles. If you are looking for a particular author, type in the name of the author or if you want to find a specific article, type the title of the article. Otherwise use the Free Text field to look for terms or phrases relating to the subject of the articles you want to find.

Legal Journals Index -   LJI

All English-language journals published in the UK and Europe are indexed in the Legal Journals Index (LJI), many also include short abstracts.  Where Westlaw UK also holds the full text, you will be able to view that online.  For other articles, you have the full bibliographic details you need to trace the full text elsewhere. You can use that to search LibrarySearch for online or print availability of the journal title.

Searching/Browsing UK full text journals 
To limit your search to articles available in full text in a particular journal click on Full Text Articles under Browse in the lower half of the screen. This allows you to search for articles across all the full text titles or to search/browse a particular individual title.


Searching for international journals

To access international material, select International Materials from the Services menu on the blue banner at the top of the screen.


This will open the International Materials for Westlaw in a separate window. Select World Journals from the right hand RELATED LEGAL menu


You can then search across all world journals or choose a specific jurisdiction and search journals from that jurisdiction, or select a particular title to search.  The amount of titles available for each jurisdiction will vary greatly. There is significant US material available and a range of Commonwealth jurisdiction journal tiles to which you have access.


Comprehensive online training and support materials are available from Lexis.

Click on Lexis Library and then Journals from the top menu bar.

Searching UK full text journals
Enter your search terms into the search box, or add more precise inforamtion if you hav it, such as author/title/citation etc into the Advances Search boxes.

You can search across all subscribed sources, or select an individual title from the Source drop down menu.

You can also use the Browse option to select a particualr title and browse by year, volume, issue etc.

Journals Index

Lexis's Journals Index is a practitioner focused index of legal articles from established UK and international journals as well as from leading legal blogs.  Each entry provides a short description of an individual journal article including details of relevant legislation or cases, the author and the article citation as well as useful signals indicating the status of legislation or cases included in those journals. 

The index dates from 1 January 1995 although not all journals included have been reviewed for the whole length of the archive.

Where the full text content is not available via Lexis, use LibrarySearch to check on the availability of the journal title in other services.

Searching for international journals

Select International Journals. Enter your search terms into the search box and choose a source from the drop down menu.  You can search combined sources such as US Law Reviews and Journals.

You can use the i information icon to see which titles are included in the combined sources.

You can also use the Sources option to search for a specific international title or to browse the content for a particular jurisdiction.

Click on Sources on the top menu bar. If you know the international journal title you are looking for, enter it into the Find a Source box in the top right of the browse screen and click on Go.  All the journals that match your search terms will be listed and you can click in the check box next to the exact title you require and click on the red  Ok - Continue button to select that for searching


To browse and select journal titles from a jurisdiction, Select Sources and then Browse Sources.

You can then select your jurisdiction and the content you require For example, to find the Berkeley Journal of International Law, click on the Sources tab and then on Browse Sources.  Select United States in the Country drop down box and then click on the Legal Journals folder.  Scroll through the list of journals and click in the checkbox next to Berkeley Journal of International Law and then click on the Ok- Continue button. You can then enter your search terms and search the journal. 

You can select multiple titles in this way and run a combined search

Note that journals are not available for every jurisdiction.


The Law Journal Library in HeinOnline is a collection of thousands of law and law related journals. Coverage is from the first issue published and goes through the most current issue allowed, based on contracts with publishers. Searching can be done by title or author name, as well as full-text searching of the collection or select journal titles.

All journal titles available via HeinOnline are discoverable via the LibrarySearch service.

Use Hein's Law Journal Library: Quick Reference Guide for quick tips on browsing and searching the journal library.

Comprehensive support for HeinOnline is available via their KnowledgeBAse. HeinOnline includes many other resources, in addition to the Legal Journals Library.







JSTOR provides access to scholarly book, journal and primary sources via an easy to use search interface. You can take a look at the journal (and book) content specific to Law.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos. 

All journal titles available via JSTOR are also discoverable via the LibrarySearch service. 

Use Find-eR to explore the print and electronic collections of the European Commission libraries.

Most library resources are available online: full text articles, ebooks and databases.

A print journal collection is available in the Law Library (Exeter campus) although use of this print material is diminishing as the majority of journal titles are also available electronically.

All print journal titles are discoverable via Library Search and are shelved in an alphabetical sequence on rolling shelving in the Law Library. The Lasok Law Library: Guide to Printed Materials (also available in printed format throughout the Law Library for consultation) can be used to look up a journal title and identify the exact shelf number in the Law Library. 

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