Journals are regular (serial) publications that publish the outcome of original research and are aimed at other researchers or practitioners. They can be general covering law as a discipline, or focus on a specific area of law.
Journal articles are essays that present new research, or discuss new developments in the law, such as new legislation and case law. As such, they focus on in depth analysis of specific issues.
Journal articles undergo peer-review, which is a process of review by experts in the field (peers). It is aimed at validating the research prior to publication of an article, ensuring quality, originality, contribution to the knowledge base, and authority in a research article.
In legal references, the titles of law journals and law reports are commonly referred to by an acronym or abbreviation e.g. New Law Journal is NLJ. An understanding of the legal abbreviation can help you find full-text legal information.
As you develop as legal scholars, you will come to learn the common abbreviations, but there will always be some which are unfamiliar. There are tools to help you interpret legal abbreviations:
The following law journals and reviews are highly rated according to the W&L Law Journal Rankings. Legal abbreviations are stated where available, and links are provided to the most recent issue. Many journals are available from multiple providers. Search the eJournals A-Z to find additional holdings.
The library has a 1 year trial to Criminal Law Week Online (ends 2 October 2023) which is a key journal for academics and practitioners researching and working in the criminal justice system.
Washington & Lee Law Journal Rankings
Annual list of law journals compiled by Washington and Lee University Law Library. Enables librarians and researchers to identify leading law journals for the purpose of publishing articles. Focuses on US law journals but also covers UK law journals.
Journals and journal articles can be found using Library Search, however it does not discover content on all law databases, so journal or bibliographic databases are preferred for legal research.
Journal databases index and abstract articles in specific journals. Some are general and index journals across a range of disciplines, and others are subject specific and index only law journals (or another discipline).
Journal databases are not always full-text: some will include the full-text article, but others will provide an abstract (summary) only. If journal articles are not available, the library has a document supply service.
Some journal databases provide citation information, which allows researcher to measure the usage and impact of articles in their research field, and to find related academic literature. Citation databases can be useful, but they are general in scope, and do not index a wide range of law journals.
HeinOnline - Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals indexes 750+ legal journals and reviews published worldwide. Focus on foreign, comparative and international law. Also includes selected full-text journal articles.
Index to Legal Periodicals - Indexes 1,000+ law journals and reviews published worldwide from 1982. Focus on US and Canadian law, but also includes UK, Irish, Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions.
Legal Scholarship Network (LSN) part of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is an open access database of pre-prints and working papers in law.
Lexis+ UK - Indexes 500+ law journals, including 120+ full-text journals. Focus on UK law, but includes foreign legal journals from Australia, Canada, France, India and United States jurisdictions.
Westlaw Edge UK - Legal Journals Index indexes 800+ law journals published in the UK and Europe from 1986. Focus on UK law, but also covers European and International law. Also includes selected full-text journal articles.
ABI/INFORM Global - Indexes business, economics, finance and management journals and newspapers. Includes selected full-text journals, dissertations, working papers, conference papers, country and market reports.
ASSIA: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts - Indexes 500+ sociology, psychology and social care journals including social problems, health care, education, social services, probation and prisons, and race relations.
Business Source Ultimate - Indexes business, economics, finance, management and marketing journals. Includes selected full-text journal articles, case studies, country and company reports.
Scopus - Indexes 25,000+ worldwide, peer reviewed journals and conference papers from 1970. Includes citations to measure impact and find related literature. Focus on sciences but also covers arts, humanities and social sciences.
Sociological Abstracts - Indexes international sociology (and related subjects) literature from 1952. Includes journal articles, book reviews, dissertations, conference papers and working papers.
Web of Science - Indexes 22,000+ worldwide, peer reviewed journals and conference papers from 1900. Includes citations to measure impact and find related literature. Focus on sciences, but also covers arts, humanities and social sciences.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts - Indexes 2,500 worldwide political science (and related subjects) journals, books and dissertations from 1975. Includes economics, environment, government, international relations, military, law and religion.
Google Scholar is an academic search engine which indexes books, journal articles, and other scholarly materials. It is multidisciplinary, with a good coverage of law, although with some US bias. It includes links to full-text documents including open access materials. To improve access, set Library Links to University of Warwick in the Settings. Google Scholar also includes citation information and allows you to find related literature.
WebBridge is a tool that helps you find and access full-text journal articles. If the full-text article is not available in your search engine, click on the WebBridge icon to see if it is available from another library database.
For journal articles not available in the library, use our document supply service to request digitisation of articles from our print journals, and to copies of journal articles using inter-library loan.