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Law: secondary sources

This guide will assist you in identifying and searching secondary sources of law.

Journals and journal articles

'Journal articles are published more quickly than books and can provide a depth of analysis and opinion that will inform your argument, especially when writing essays at law school, undertaking higher degree research, or preparing detailed policy papers. Articles are often peer reviewed and written by academics or practitioners expert in a particular area of law.'

- Jay Sanderson, Drossos Stamboulakis and Kim Kelly, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Thomson Reuters, 5th ed, 2021) 140.


Journal articles can be found through searching in a wide range of search engines and databases. 

The tables below present some recommended places to find and access law or law related journal articles, and show how to locate articles using each database.

Search engines and tools

Library Search is the Library's primary search engine - think of it as the Library's Google.

To search for journal articles, either type in the name of the article you are after, or type in your keywords to search. Once the search results screen loads, you can use the filter options on the right of the screen to select 'Articles' under 'Content Type'. This will filter your results to just journal articles. Other filters can be added to focus your results, such as 'Peer-reviewed Journals', 'Topic', or 'Creation Date'.

Although searching in Library Search will bring up many journal articles, and you can use it to locate journal titles and which database/s these journals are located in, not all law journals are searchable in Library Search at an article level. Going into a database will often give you more advanced search and refining options. To search articles from the databases AustLII, Lexis Advance, Lexis Advance Quicklaw, Westlaw Australia, Westlaw International and Westlaw UK, you will need to go into those individual database and search for the article in there.

For more on Library Search, including instructional videos, explore the Library Search page on our Library Orientation guide

 You can access items held by Bond Library by using the Library Links feature. To set this up:

  1. Go to Google Scholar
  2. Click on the 3 horizontal lines on the top left of the page
  3. Select 'Settings'
  4. Select 'Library Links'
  5. Type in 'Bond'
  6. Tick 'Bond University Library - FindIt@Bond
  7. Select 'Save'

Your search results will now display a 'FindIt@Bond' link for any articles that can be accessed through our Bond databases. This will prevent you being asked to pay for articles or being blocked by a firewall.

LibKey Nomad is a browser extension which allows instant PDF download of articles from hundreds of scholarly sites, as well as Wikipedia.

Once the LibKey Nomad extension is installed it will automatically search for PDF access from library subscribed electronic resources and Open Access content from Unpaywall. The Download PDF button will appear next to article citations or if full text isn't available an Access Options button will appear which will allow you to request the item from another library.

Use the link below to install the browser extension. After installation, open the extension and choose Bond University from the list of institutions to ensure you get full-text access.

Law databases

AustLII contains a large amount of legal journals, currently searching over 150 law journals and legal scholarship databases. One tip if you want articles on a particular case or piece of legislation is to use 'LawCite', accessed from the banner menu on the homepage. To search or browse for journal articles in AustLII, select 'Journals & Scholarship' from the banner menu on the homepage. 

AustLII banner menu screenshot

Then you can select which journals and collections to search, or leave all ticked to search everything. Put your search into the search bar at the top of screen (use the dropdown to access advanced search options). In the results screen you can tick the 'Show Excerpt' box to see the most relevant portion of the article to your search, with all your search terms showing in bold type.

Some of the journals in AustLII can also be found in HeinOnline, which has more advanced search and filtering options.

HeinOnline's 'Law Journal Library' includes around 3000 different law and law-related journals. To browse journals or for better article search and filter options, on the homepage select 'Law Journal Library' by either clicking the title under the 'Browse Databases by Name' content box, or selecting from the 'All Databases' dropdown. 


Then you can search in the box at the top of screen or select 'Advanced Search' for more options. HeinOnline provides multiple filters to further refine on the results screen. Watch the video below for a demonstration of some of HeinOnline's advanced search features.

There are a few ways to search for journal articles in Lexis Advance:

  • Click on 'Secondary Materials' in the 'Quick Find' box, then select the 'Advanced Search: Secondary Materials' for more search options (recommended).
  • Enter your search into the big search bar at the top of the page. Then in the results screen select 'AU Secondary Materials'.
  • Click on 'Secondary Materials' in the 'Quick Find' box, then enter your search to search across journal titles and headings.

After following either of the steps above, you can then select the 'Journals' filter to narrow to journal articles. It would also be useful to select 'Newsletters and Bulletins'.

There are a few ways to search for journal articles in Westlaw Australia:

  • Search in the big box at the top of the page. Then to narrow your results to journal articles, select the 'Secondary Sources' filter under 'Content Types', and then the 'Law Reviews & Journals' filter under 'Publication Type'.

  • From the home page, select 'Secondary Sources', then 'Law Reviews & Journals'. Select which journals to search across (we strongly recommend not selecting anything with "Out of plan" as you will not be able to access these) then put in your search.

Lexis Advance Quicklaw contains a number of Canadian legal journals. You can search in the big box at the top and then filter to 'Secondary Materials' and 'Law Reviews & Journals', or simply select 'Law Reviews & Journals' from the home page to browse and search through all of the journal content.


In Westlaw UK, click on the 'Journals' drop down, then select:

  • 'Journals Search' to search for journal articles.
  • 'Publications' to browse all the journal content in the database.



Westlaw defaults to only searching United States content. If you are searching for just US content you can use the search box at the top of the page and then refine to 'Secondary Sources' and further to 'Law Reviews & Journals'.

To find journal articles in Westlaw not published in the US, select 'International Materials' from the home screen. 

Then select 'Journals' under 'Content Type'.

You can then click on a country to browse the journal titles held, or simply search in the search box at the top of the screen to search across all journals.


Use the following resources to find the name of a law journal or report from an abbreviation:

Multidisciplinary databases

Informit contains a wide range of information besides journal articles, including news, current affairs, television programs, documentaries and movies.

To limit a search to only journal articles, click into the search bar at the top of the page and then select 'Advanced Search'. Then select the 'Journals' check box under 'Resource Type'. Selecting the 'Full Text' check box will only search for articles with full text access, and remove those that only provide abstracts.

To focus more on law related content you can use either of the links below to search sub-collections of Informit.

To search for journal articles, enter your search into the search box on the home page. Then in the results screen you can narrow 'Content type' to 'Articles' and 'Subject' to 'Law'.

To browse the law journals in Cambridge Core, select 'Browse by Subject' then 'Law'.

To search for journal articles:

  • Enter your search into the search box on the home page. Then in the results screen you can apply filters to narrow your results, including 'Article type' and 'Subject'.
  • Click on 'Advanced Search' to apply filters before you search.

To browse the law journals in Oxford Academic, select 'Journals by Subject' then 'Law'.

Search in the box at the top of screen or select 'Advanced Search' for more options.

Refine to journal articles by selecting the 'Peer reviewed' and 'Scholarly Journals' filters.

EBSCO presents you with a screen to choose which databases to search in before entering. It is easier to choose 'select all' then continue.

EBSCO will default to an advanced search. You have the option to search for terms a particular field, such as 'Abstract', 'Author' or 'Title', or leave these options as is to search across the full text of all the content.

Click on 'Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals' to narrow your search to just journal articles.