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Finding Law Journals

Journal references E-Journals at Ulster Law journal databases Newspapers


Passwords for legal databases

Most databases are controlled by Athens authentication. You are automatically authenticated when you log in via Portal. Databases are listed on the Learning Resources tab in Portal.


Journal references

Journal article references

A journal article reference adheres to a set format (depending on the
referencing style)
and includes at least some of the following information:

  • author and title of the article
  • title of the journal
  • year, volume, part and page numbers

    So, for example, a law journal reference may look like this:

          Kavanagh, A. (2005)  Pepper v Hart and matters of constitutional principle.  L.Q.R., 121 (Jan), p. 243-264


         Author             Year                                    Title of article                          Journal title   Vol (Part)   Pages


Abbreviations are widely used in legal references.  It is a good idea to make sure you know what an abbreviation stands for before you start to look for the journal in the Library.  The best online source for deciphering abbreviations is the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations but you can find out more about legal abbreviations in the Writing and Citing guide.

Electronic Journals

In your studies you have to be able to:  

  • Find journals articles when you already have the precise reference.  
    Search the Electronic Journals list to search for full text by reference.
  • Finding journal articles on a legal topic.  
    Use the Library Databases to search by topic.

Searching the Electronic Journals list

Step 1 Check the library's Electronic Journals list

Use the Electronic Journals list to check if a journal is available in full text from the library. 
You will find a link to Electronic Journals on the Learning Resources page in the Portal.

For example to find the journal Law Quarterly Review enter the journal title in the search box and click on Search.

If the library holds an electronic copy it will be listed on the next screen.


Check the coverage details carefully to make sure that the year you need is available, then select the appropriate host database link below the title.  Browse to the year and part you want.

If the journal article is not available electronically then go to Step 2.

Step 2 Check the library's print journal collection

If the journal does not appear in the Electronic Journals list, or the year you need is not available electronically, then use the Library Catalogue to see if the journal is available in print on the library shelves.  Use the title or keyword search option and select Journals catalogue.


Step 3 Use the Library's Document Delivery service

If the journal is not available either electronically or in print then use the library's Document Delivery System.  You will need to complete and sign a yellow Document Delivery Form for the article you want.  Forms are available at the library Issue Desks and Information Points.



Databases allow you to search for a topic across hundreds of journals at once. 

The most useful databases for law journals are listed below.

Westlaw UK Full text journals
Westlaw enables you to search the full text of around 80 UK law journals.  To carry out a search select Journals from the  options at the top of the screen and choose Full-Text Articles. You can choose to search through all of them at the same time or click on Browse to search a single journal.
In addition to UK journals there is a huge number of US and international journal titles available. Click on Services at the top of the screen and choose the Westlaw International option on the menu.

Legal Journals Index
Westlaw also provides access to the Legal Journals Index, the major UK law journal indexing service.  Click on Journals and then choose the Abstracted Journals option. By selecting Legal Journals Index from the Quick Search options on the left of the screen you can search for articles in approximately 800 UK and European Law Journals in English. If the full text of an article is available in Westlaw, links will be provided to the relevant document. If it is not available in full text, make a note of the reference and search for it using the Electronic Journals steps outlined above.

LRDI - Legal and Regulatory Developments Index
The LRDI database provides entries for or abstracts of legal and regulatory documents released by governmental and quasi-governmental bodies of the United Kingdom and the European Union. Coverage begins with January 1994 and documents covered include command papers and other parliamentary publications.  Links are not provided to the full text of documents though you can use LRDI to search for publications by topic.  Once you have full publication details you can then search the library catalogue to check if the publication is held in one of the university libraries.  

LexisLibrary   Full text journals
LexisLibrary provides access to more than 70 full text UK law journals. While one or two may also appear in Westlaw, the majority of the journals held will be different.
Select Journals from the option across the top of the screen. You can either search through all 70 titles, or choose the browse option to look at an single title.
In addition to UK journals you can also access a huge number of international journals in LexisLibrary.
Use the Sources tab to Browse to International content in Lexis.
HeinOnline This major full text database is particularly useful for American and international journal literature and provides access to the archive holdings of over 500 journal titles.  While other databases cover more recent material, HeinOnline's coverage of journal titles always starts from volume 1.  It is the only online source for the full text archive of the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly.
SwetsWise SwetsWise is a multidisciplinary database which provides access to the full text of around 90 law journals including:
Cambridge Law Journal
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies
European Law Journal

It can be another good place search if you need the full text of one or two journal articles and do not have to cover the legal topic comprehensively.  However remember that SwetsWise is not comprehensive.  Use the Legal Journals Index search option in Westlaw for comprehensive searching of UK journal articles.

Current Legal Information

on campus only


CLI contains both the Legal Journals Index, Financial Journals Index also found in Westlaw and LRDI - The Legal and Regulatory Development Index

Material covered by Current Legal Information is also included in Westlaw.

Bulletin of Northern Ireland Law A comprehensive digest of Northern Ireland Law from 1996, including an index to the articles in Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. 



Newspapers are a useful source of background information and the library provides access to then both electronically and in print.

Nexis UK

Major newspaper database.
Covers a huge range of local, national and international newspapers. Use the source selection menu to explore the variety of newspapers available.
NI Local newspapers covered include:

Belfast Newsletter 1997-
Belfast Telegraph 1996-
Irish News 2001-

Daily newspapers

The libraries provide access to a selection of daily newspapers on each campus.  A selection of the newspapers currently being taken is listed below.  Check the library catalogue if you are looking for a specific title.

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Last updated: 16/09/10
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