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Law Subject Guide (West Suffolk College): Journals


Accessing Journals

What is a journal?

A journal is a regular publication that is published weekly, monthly or quarterly. They are subject based and contain articles written by experts or professionals in that subject. University of Suffolk library has a wide range of journals, available both in hard copy or online as e-journals
Journals may also be referred to as periodicals and serials, they are just different words for the same publication.  Find out more

How do I find journal articles?

You can find journal articles by using our resource discovery tool, Summon. this tool will also highlight key databases for your search, and allow you to search them individually.

Key Journals

These journals are available in print in the University of Suffolk Bury St. Edmunds Library

There are many more available online

For further journals on the subject of Law, Politics & Government click here

Workshops & Events - Available at UCS Ipswich Library

Understanding Journals

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a summary of the research written in a small number of words (typically half a page at most)..

They're often found at the beginning of dissertations, theses, or journal articles.  The abstract should give the reader enough information about the research to make them recognise its significance and assess whether it is relevant to the particular area they are researching. 

This section is important because it potentially saves you time reading, by allowing you to get a feel for the contents of the article without having to read through it entirely.


What is peer review?

  • Peer review is an important process applied to research articles before publication. Peer review involves the article being read by professionals and experts in the field to assess the quality, significance and relevance of the research. 
  • This process can highlight errors in the research process, duplicated work and flaws in experimental design. If there are problems with the research then the article is returned to the original authors for further work.
  • Reviewers are selected based on their knowledge of a subject area, they will be specialists in their field, they will be expected to retain confidentiality about the paper that they are working on and be objective and fair.
    The time-scale for the review process is usually about two weeks.
  • Once a peer reviewed article is published it is 'recognised' as a piece of work of value and importance.
  • Post publication discussion about the work undertaken in the article usually continues through letters to the editor and further debate among the research or academic community.

What are Impact Factors?

The Journal Impact Factor is a method of ranking a particular title against others in the field. Ranking is undertaken annually and arrived at using a formula based on the number of times articles in a particular journal have been cited in the previous two years divided by the total number of articles published in the journal title in the last two years.

Journal Impact Factors are primarily used in the scientific publishing community, but are increasingly being applied to humanities journals

How do I find out the impact factor of a journal?

You can access Journal Citation Reports (JCR) through the Web of Science database

Once in Web of Knowledge select Additional Resources and search for the journal title that you want to find.

Where can I find print journals in the library?

The USC Bury St. Edmunds library provides students with a small number of print version journals. 

The current print journals are located on the ends of the aisles of the book shelves and back issues are in the quiet study room just off the University of Suffolk/HE study zone.

Whilst some students prefer to access print copies of journals, it is important to remember that the majority of journals available for access are online, and can be found using Summon, or the A-Z of ejournals link. 

Case Law

Understanding a case citation

A typical case citation:

Howell v Lees-Millais [2007] EWCA Civ 720

Cases are normally referred to by the names of the two parties concerned in the law case.  In this case the court action is brought by Howell (the client) who is in dispute with Lees-Millais (the respondent).  The remainder of the citation gives details of the law report series in which the case can be found - Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and the page number.

Understanding Neutral citations

Neutral citations were introduced in 2001 to the Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court and extended in 2002 to all divisions of the High Court. 

A typical neutral citation for the case R v Mirzais is:

 [2004] UKHL 2

This citation incorporates the year, in square brackets, followed by the court and case number of the approved judgement, the text of which can be found online:

Legal Abbreviations

Most legal citations use abbreviations for the law report series. For an explanation these abbreviations use the Cardiff Index:

To find a law report use the use the following database:

Lexis Library - Law Library