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Law: Legal Journals

Guide to finding and using information supporting learning and research in Law.

Finding and accessing articles in legal journals

You can use many of the same tools that you would use to find and access other journal articles to search and access legal journals:

However, there are some specialist databases that are effective in helping you find and access legal journals. These include Westlaw UK and Lexis®Library and HeinOnline.

You also need to understand the abbreviated form of citation that you may see used in many references to legal journal articles.

Video: Finding books and journal articles

Video: Finding legal journal articles (Westlaw Journals Search)

How to find legal journal articles by author, title or subject

The “Journals” search provides access to full-text articles from many UK journals. This search also provides “Legal Journals Index” abstracts (summaries) of many more articles not available in full-text on Westlaw.

“International Materials” (available under “Services” from the Welcome screen) provides access many non-UK legal journals.

Look at the Westlaw UK Journals guide to learn how to use Westlaw to find articles:

The “Journals” search provides access to full-text articles from UK journals. Non-UK journals can be searched by selecting the “International Journals” link.

Use the Lexis®Library Journals guide to learn how to find articles:

HeinOnline provides access to full-text PDF versions of articles from journals via its 'Law Journal Library'. HeinOnline’s journals can be accessed via SUPrimo. However, the 'Law Journal Library' offers more flexible options for searching.

Law Journal Library

From the 'Law Journal Library' main screen, either use the “Full Text” in the main search box or select “Advanced Search”.  “Advanced Search” allows you to search by: Author/Creator; Article Title; and Text (free text) – among other options. (N.B. You can only search journals available on HeinOnline using this search.)

Several abstracting and indexing (A & I) services for law-related journals are available. These enable you to search a huge range of journals and other materials using a single search. They provide you with summaries (abstracts) of articles and you can then follow links to the full text (or use the citation information to locate the full text elsewhere).

These include the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts, Public Affairs Information Service  (PAIS),  Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA), the British Humanities Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index and Scopus.

Once you have found a reference, you can then look up the article in the relevant journal online or in print (or, if available, follow the Find it @Strathclyde link to the full-text from within the abstracting database).

Image of suggested strategy for finding legal journals

1. Use: a) Westlaw UK ‘Journals’ search (Legal Journals Index)* or b) 'abstracting and indexing' databases for law-related journals to find the full abstract / reference to journal article. Then follow Find it @Strathclyde or other 'full text' link to the Full text article.


2. Use: a) Westlaw UK ‘Journals’ search (Legal Journals Index)* or b) 'abstracting and indexing' databases for law-related journals to find the full abstract / reference to journal article. Then decipher the journal abbreviation Raistrick's Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations or the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations.

Then use:online subscription services (Westlaw, Lexis®Library, HeinOnline)* AND/OR SUPrimo to find online or print version of the Full text article.


*Access to non-UK journals is available on Westlaw in ‘International Materials’ (under ‘Services’) and Lexis®Library under the ‘Sources’ tab. More complex searches can be undertaken on individual database services.

References to legal journal articles

You may see legal journal articles cited with the journal title as an abbreviation or with the journal title in full.

Abbreviated journal title

You will find, particularly in legal textbooks and journals, that articles in legal journals may be cited in abbreviated form. For example:

Rebecca Probert, ‘Common-law Marriage: Myths and Misunderstandings’ (2008) 20 CFLQ 1

Rebecca Probert, ‘Common-law Marriage: Myths and Misunderstandings’ (2008) 20 CFLQ 1
Author(s) Article title Date Volume Journal title (abbreviated) First page

(N.B. There is some variation in both this style of citation and in the abbreviations used for journal titles.)

To find out what a legal abbreviation means you can use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations:

Journal title in full

Rebecca Probert, ‘Common-law marriage: myths and misunderstandings’, Child and Family Law Quarterly, 2008, vol. 20, no.1, pp.1-22.

Rebecca Probert, ‘Common-law Marriage: Myths and Misunderstandings’, Child and Family Law Quarterly, 2008, vol. 20, no.1, pp.1-22
Author(s) Article title Journal title Year Volume Issue Pages

The particular form of citation depends on the house style of the publisher or institution.

For more information about journal article references look at the main Journal Articles guide:

For more information about how to reference in your own work look at the Referencing guide:

Legal journals in the Library

Printed legal journals are shelved on level 1 of the Library (within the electronic mobile shelving). They are shelved at subject classification 34 then alphabetically by title.

Use SUPrimo to find whether the Library holds a particular journal in print. Records retrieved give information about where the journal is located. (Links are also provided to available online versions of the journal.)

Browsing Legal Journals

You can use BrowZine to find journals in your subject area.  Please note that BrowZine does not list all of Strathclyde's journals, but it is a useful way to identify key journals within a subject field.

Online sources of legal journal articles

Additional databases

In addition, you can search and access many more legal and law-related articles using other databases:


You can access journals subscribed to by the Library via SUPrimo.

You can use the 'Library Collections' tab to search by journal title or the 'Articles + databases' tab* to search by article title or keyword:

* many legal journals are not included in SUPrimo's Articles + Databases search.

How can I find out what a legal abbreviation means?

In print
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