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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

Legal Journal Literature

Law journals are a rich source of scholarly writing. Specialized topics that are too narrow for publication as monographs are typically published in law journals. Although some are published commercially, many emanate from law schools and include articles on a broad range of subjects.

Queen's University Library has a law journal collection which includes titles from Canada, the United States, and other countries. Access to most journals can be found online via databases and indexes (see below).  In addition, the law library also maintains a collection of print journals as needed, which is located in the stacks at the south end of the main floor.

Research Tools and Services

The following research tools and services can be used to identify and locate law journal articles. Each tool is described in further detail below.

Search for Law Journal Articles in Omni

Start with Omni to search for law journal articles on a specific topic. For example, let's say you want to find articles written about damages for medical malpractice in Ontario. In the Omni search box, you could enter search terms that describe your topic, such as 'medical malpractice damages Ontario'. 

Since Omni contains much more than just law journal articles, you can refine your search results using the filters on the left side of the page. For example, you could filter your results to include only 'articles', as shown below.

For more help using Omni, see Omni Search Tips.

Screenshot of Omni search results.

Full-Text Journal Databases and Subject Databases

Searching WestlawNext Canada, Lexis Advance Quicklaw, HeinOnline, and/or a subject-specific database is an additional way of uncovering law journal articles. 

WestlawNext Canada

If the Library does not subscribe to the journal you require, you can try searching for your article in WestlawNext Canada. Here is a list of all journals included in WestlawNext Canada. Law students can also search Westlaw Edge Canada.

Lexis Advance Quicklaw

If the Library does not subscribe to the journal you require, you can try searching for your article in Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus. Law students can also search Lexis+.

HeinOnline Law Journal Library

Contains more than 1,200 law and law-related periodicals. Coverage is from the first issue published for all periodicals and goes up to the most current issue allowed based on contracts with publishers.

Subejct-Specific Databases

See our guide Online Sources by Legal Subject for a full list of subject-specific databases to which the Library subscribes. 

Legal Periodical Indexes

Legal periodical indexes include references to (and sometimes the full-text of) journal articles and other types of legal literature including books, conference proceedings, collections of essays, and book reviews.

One major advantage of indexes is their comprehensiveness - they point to the existence of materials to which they provide access to in full-text as well as to materials they do not have in full-text. Another advantages of indexes is their subject headings, which are controlled terms that describe the key topics of each article and make the process of finding articles on a specific topic more efficient.

Once you have identified articles that interest you, you may need to go to a different database to find the full-text.  Most of the time this will be a simple matter of clicking on the "Get it @ Queen's" button, which will take you to the database that contains the full-text of that article.

Here are the major periodical indexes for legal literature. Choose one or more based upon your research needs:

Index to Canadian Legal Literature
The ICLL is the only comprehensive index to Canadian journal articles, books, conference proceedings, collections of essays, and book reviews in the field of law and law-related topics. It is available on WestlawNext Canada, (or Westlaw Edge Canada  for law students), Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus (or Lexis+ for law students).

For further guidance, see ICLL Search Tips.

Index to Legal Periodicals
The Index to Legal Periodicals indexes over 1000 legal journals, yearbooks, institutes, bar association journals, university publications and law reviews, and government publications from the United States, Puerto Rico, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The database also indexes approximately 1,400 monographs per year.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is produced by the American Association of Law Libraries and indexes articles published in hundreds of legal journals emanating from countries around the world. Articles about the legal systems and practices of all countries are indexed EXCEPT for those pertaining to the common law systems of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The IFLP provides in-depth coverage of international, comparative and foreign law in many languages. Also indexed are individually-published collections of legal essays, festschriften, and congress reports. Updated several times a year.

Index to 1,200+ law journals and other legal publications from U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and other common law jurisdictions. Contains selective full-text.

Scott's Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature/Index Scott des périodiques juridiques canadiens
This is the oldest continuously published index to Canadian legal literature. In addition to journal articles, essays, case comments and book reviews are also indexed. Provided open access from the Centre d'accès à l'information juridique (CAIJ), It contains more than 30,000 entries.

Queen's holds older editions of the index in print, under the name "Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature" (1961/70 - 1981/85 ; 1986-2003).

Canadian Law Symposia Index (CLSI)
CLSI, available on Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus (or Lexis+ for law students and faculty) is an index to papers presented at legal seminars and continuing legal education conferences since 1986.

Request Materials from Another Institution

If you have identified a journal article that you need and it is not available through Queen's Library, then you can request a copy of it from another institution, sometimes right from Omni. More information is available from the Request Materials page.