How to use LexisLibrary

  • Access LexisLibrary. If prompted, enter your Brookes ID and password.

    English case law

    • From any page in LexisLibrary, click on Cases in the light grey bar that runs along the top.
    • You can search for cases by party name, case citation (e.g. [1967] 1 WLR 716) or by subject. To search by subject, use the search terms box. Type your query into the appropriate box and click Search.
    • The screen displays the list of references matching your query. Click on the case name to view the full text.
    • You may get multiple results for the same case in your results list, if the case was reported in more than one place. If you have a reference, look back at it and see if you can find one of the results that matches the citation in your reference.
    • On the search page, there are also some advanced search boxes at the bottom. You can use any of these alone or in combination with the boxes above. The advanced search boxes allow you to search for cases in a specific court, with a specific judge or on a specific date.

    International case law

    • Currently, LexisLibrary will allow you to search for case law from: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and the USA.
    • From any page in LexisLibrary, click on Cases in the light grey bar that runs along the top. Next, click on international content down the left hand side. This will open in a  new tab in your browser.
    • Note that the drop-down box next to left of the search box shows what you are searching. It will default to Australia as this is the first alphabetically. Use the drop down box to pick the country you're interested in, and then ensure that the word cases is highlighted. 
    • You can now use the search box to search for your topic or for a particular case e.g. Brown v. Board of Education.
    • If you get lots of results you can: use the date boxes down the left hand side to specify a date range; or pick a particular source or law report down the left hand side; or use the sort by box to change the order your results are displayed in.

    Tips on searching for case law

    • English cases are published in law reports and there are many different series of law reports - some databases only contain certain law report series. Sometimes you will need to try more than one database to find your case. LexisLibrary does contain a wide variety of cases but does not contain all case law. Have a look at  the library's case law page to learn more about law reports and case law.
    • If you have a long or complicated case name, try just using a couple of key words from the case name. Alternatively you can search for the citation e.g. [1981] 1 WLR 711
    • There is a huge amount of cases each year. Not all cases are reported. You can still use unreported cases in your work, but do ask yourself if there is a more appropriate, reported case that you could use instead. Look at the unreported cases paragraph in section 3.1.4. of the OSCOLA handbook (PDF) for advice on referencing unreported cases.

    UK legislation (Acts of Parliament and statutory instruments)

    • From any page in LexisLibrary, click on Legislation in the light grey bar that runs along the top.
    • If you know the name of the Act or SI you are looking for, type it in the title box and click on Search. You will get multiple results. The top result should be the Act/SI in its entirety, and then each of the following results is for a specific section of the Act/SI. No matter which result you click on, you can use the table of contents tab on the left of the page to navigate between sections.
    • If you know the number of the section you want to look at you can put the name of the Act/SI in the title box and then the section number in the provision box. You will then skip the results screen and be taken directly to that section. As before, you can still use the table of contents tab on the left to move around the document.
    • If you don't know the name of what you want, you can use the search terms box to search for legislation on a particular subject.

    International legislation

    • Currently, LexisLibrary will allow you to search for legislation from: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and the USA.
    • From any page in LexisLibrary, click on Legislation in the light grey bar that runs along the top. Next, click on international content down the left hand side. This will open in a  new tab in your browser.
    • Note that the drop-down box next to left of the search box shows what you are searching. It will default to Australia as this is the first alphabetically. Use the drop down box to pick the country you're interested in, and then click on the word legislation to highlight it. 
    • You can now use the search box to search for your topic or for a particular document e.g. Respect for Marriage Act
    • If you get lots of results you can: use the date boxes down the left hand side to specify a date range; or pick a particular source down the left hand side; or use the sort by box to change the order your results are displayed in.

    Journals covering English and EU law

    • From any page in LexisLibrary click on journals in in the light grey bar that runs along the top.
    • LexisLibrary contains a large number of full-text journals. To see a list, click on browse to the left of the search boxes. ('Full-text' means you can read the articles in full on LexisLibrary without needing to go anywhere else).
    • If you click on the title of any journal in this list you can either search within it for a phrase or name, or you can navigate to a particular volume by using the date list. 
    • You can search for articles across all full-text journals in LexisLibrary by clicking on journals in the light grey menu bar and then using the search boxes. You don't have to use them all.  If you want to search for articles on a subject, you can use the search terms box. 
    • You can also use the Journals Index option down the left hand side of the search screen. This searches more journals than the regular journals search, but do be aware that it will pick up results from journals that we don't have access to via LexisLibrary. 
    • Have a look at the library's law journals webpage to find out more.

    Journals covering US and international law

    • Currently, LexisLibrary will allow you to search for articles from: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and the USA.
    • From the any page in LexisLibrary, click on the Sources tab at the top of the screen, then click on international content. This will open in a new tab in your browser.
    • Note that the drop-down box next to left of the search box shows what you are searching. It will default to Australia as this is the first alphabetically. Use the drop down box to pick the country you're interested in, and then click on the phrase secondary materials to highlight it. You can now search for a name or a topic.
    • Alternatively, you can use the lower half of the International page to browse the alphabetical list of journals available for each country. You can select secondary materials in the drop down content type box to make the list more manageable. When you click on the name of a journal you'll get more information about it on the right hand side of your screen. You'll also see a list of volumes you can browse through, or the option to just search in that journal.

    Tips for finding journal articles

    • Remember, if the full text of an article isn't in LexisLibrary we may still have access to it through one of our other providers. Make a note of the reference, then search for the journal title in the Journal Titles tab on the search box on the library homepage.
    • You can get more information and advice about using journals and journal articles on the law journals page.
    • From any page in LexisLibrary click on journals in in the light grey bar that runs along the top. This will open in a new tab in your browser.
    • You can use the big search box to search across a range of UK national and local newspapers at once.
    • If you want to search in just one newspaper then use the alphabetical browse section on the lower half of the news homepage. 
    • When you click on a newspaper title in the browse section, you'll see more about that title on the right hand side, alongside a link to just search in that newspaper.

    • On the results page, you have options down the left hand side to narrow your results down to a specific date range or about a particular industry.
    • If a news story comes from an agency, it might be duplicated in multiple newspapers. If this happens, you can use the hide duplicate results option down the left hand side.
    • If you get too many results, even when applying the date filter, consider whether you think of any additional or more precise search words.
    • You can use the sort by box to change the order your results are displayed in.
    • If you click on any of the results you can read it, as well as print it, email it to yourself or download it as a PDF.
    • Be aware that LexisLibrary will only show you the text of newspaper articles - any photographs or other images will not be displayed.

    All of the search tips below work in any of the search boxes on LexisLibrary. Have a look at this video on advanced searching or book yourself on to a LexisLibrary and Westlaw: Advanced Searching workshop if you want to learn more about using these really powerful tips.

     

    Finding words near each other

    • Use W/nW/P or W/S to specify how close together you want your search words to be in the results.

      Copyright W/5 infringement will find references where copyright occurs within 5 words of infringement. 
      Copyright W/P infringement will search for references where copyright and infringement occur within the same paragraph
      Copyright W/S infringement will search for references where copyright and infringement occur within the same sentence.

    Combining words

    • Use AND to combine words and narrow down your search. For example, arbitration AND medical will find references where both words occur in the same document but not necessarily together. If you omitted the AND, for example European Union, it would only find results where the two words occur next to each other. 
    • Use OR to broaden your search. For example, ‘arbitration OR mediation’ will find references where either word occurs. This is helpful when you can think of several words that have very similar meanings.

    Truncation

    • Use an exclamation mark ! at the end of a root of a word to retrieve all possible endings. For instance, employ! will find employ, employee, employer, employment. You could use: employ OR employee OR employer OR employment, but truncation will save you a lot of typing and time!

    Universal character

    • This works like the blank tile in Scrabble. The symbol * represents 1 character. For example, wom*n will retrieve woman or women. When you place the character at the end of a word, you specify the maximum length of the word. For example, object*** retrieves object, objects, objected, objective, objection and objecting.

    There is a 'Help' link in the footer of every LexisLibrary page, which provides further details on searching and using the database. 

     

    You may also want to look at the Lexis help webpage too, or print out the library's  PDF guide to using LexisLibrary for English law.

     

    If you are a GDL, LLB or LLM student you will be given training at the start of your course. The slides from this training will be available in Moodle for you to refer back to.

     

    The library runs Lexis and Westlaw workshops, at both a basic and advanced level. You can find out more and book a place. If you want to come to the advanced workshop without attending the basic one first, make sure you are comfortable with what the basic workshop covers as the second workshop builds on this. These workshops are open to any Oxford Brookes students who want to improve their Lexis and Westlaw skills.

     

    And, of course, you  can always get in touch with Charlie Brampton, the Academic Liaison Librarian for Law. Charlie can see you individually or in small groups.

     

     

  • Advanced searching on LexisLibrary

    This video will show you how to use the search tabs in LexisLibrary. It will explain how to use connectors and how to add topics to your search. This video is produced by LexisNexis UK.