Locating International and Foreign Law Journal Articles

Introduction

Locating journal articles is an important part of international and foreign legal research because:

  • Articles provide a good introduction or overview to a topic, often with citations and footnotes to other sources.
  • Articles can give detailed analysis of legal issues.
  • Articles can supply missing pieces of information, such as a treaty citation, locate the text of a foreign law, or figure out the meaning of a term, phrase or abbreviation.
  • Journal literature from other disciplines (economics, political science, international relations, etc.) can provide factual information and further analysis for a legal issue.
  • Current articles and news stories can supply information on new legal developments, including dates and names.
  • Articles are good support for customary international law, including scholarly articles of leading publicists.

Many international and foreign law topics are cross-disciplinary in nature and require researching in law-related fields, such as social policy, international relations, economics, etc. The prudent researcher should not rely solely on full-text law reviews on Lexis and Westlaw. Thorough research demands using journal indexes to locate relevant literature. Keep in mind that you may find articles on your topic in both law and law-related journal indexes.

Keep in mind that each index operates in a slightly different manner. How to truncate words or the use of connectors (and, or, within, etc.) can vary from index to index. Be sure to consult the "help" screens for information on how to search properly.

In order to locate the text of articles you find using the indexes below, first search LawCat (by the title of the journal) to determine if the Law Library owns the print and/or provides access to the electronic. If the Law Library does not provide access to the print or the electronic version of the journal, search MELVYL (by the title of the journal) since the journal may be located in another campus library or may be available electronically through a campus-wide database. See also the Union List of International and Comparative Law Journals at Local University Law Libraries, compiled by Golden Gate University Law Library (may not be complete).

Legal Journal Indexes

The databases listed below may only be accessed by the UC Berkeley Community. Some of these databases are available through remote access. Be sure to set the proxy settings on your computer. Once the proxy settings have been set, you will be prompted for your CALNET user id and passphrase.

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (ILP). Contains citations from more than 820 legal periodicals from 1981 and an index to law books published since 1993 from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Updated monthly. The print edition covers 1908 on. Also Available in print [Reading Room K2 .I38 ILP] and on LEXIS and WESTLAW.

Legal Resource Index (LRI). Indexes approximately 800 legal publications from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. It also covers law related articles from more than 1,000 additional business and general interest periodicals. Coverage begins in 1980 and is updated monthly. Also available in print as Current Law Index [Reading Room K2 .C8] and on Lexis and Westlaw. Also available from the Law Library's list of databases as Legaltrac.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP). A multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in approximately 492 legal journals published worldwide. The print edition [Reading Room K2 .I38 IFLP] covers 1960 on and the electronic version covers 1985 to present. Available from the Law Library's list of databases.

Legal Journals Index (LJI). Indexes approximately 485 journals from the UK & Europe. Coverage is from 1986 on. The print versions of this index (Legal Journals Index and European Legal Journals Index) discontinued in 1999. Legal Journals Index is available on Westlaw.

Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP). Provides access to approximately 475 university legal publications and other law journals. Good way to update your research since it indexes journals 4-6 weeks before they are picked up by ILP and LRI. Available from the Law Library's list of databases.

Law-Related Journal Indexes

Other indexes that focus on law-related topics can also be of use when doing legal research. All of these indexes are available from the list of UCB Electronic Indexes and Abstracts or the California Digital Library.

EconLit (journals on economics). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

First Search (contains many different databases arranged by topic). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

International Political Science Abstracts (indexes journals related to political science). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

PAIS International (covers international relations, political science, and social sciences). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Other databases are available for periodical literature in many different disciplines, see the following:

ABI/Inform-Business Periodicals (indexes 1300 business & management publications). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) (indexes over 400 social science & humanities journals). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

JSTOR (full-text backfiles of many scholarly journals). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Social Science Research Network (electronic journal abstracts and working papers for law & social sciences).

Periodical Contents Index (indexes humanities and social science journals). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Project Muse (access to over 100 scholarly full-text journals in the humanities and social sciences). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Web of Science (Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities Citation Indexes. Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

More databases are available, so be sure to browse UCB Electronic Indexes and Abstracts or the California Digital Library.

Access from Off-Campus

Many of the databases listed above can be accessed from off-campus. Make sure the proxy settings on your browser are correct. Once the proxy settings are correct, you will be prompted to enter your CalNet Id and passphrase. Note that not all databases are available from off-campus.

Lexis and Westlaw

Some of these journals and indexes are available on LEXIS or WESTLAW. See the directories for LEXIS and WESTLAW for more information. Many journals are available full-text from LEXIS and WESTLAW, but keep in mind that the coverage is usually limited. Periodical indexes provide much broader depth of coverage. LEXIS provides access to Index to Legal Periodicals and Books and Legal Resource Index.  WESTLAW provides access to Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, Legal Resource Index, and Legal Journals Index. The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is available on WESTLAW, but not with an academic password.

Full-Text Journal Articles

The Law Library and the Main Library subscribe to many resources that provide the complete text of journal articles for a variety of research areas.

Cambridge University Press (The Cambridge University Press online journals Web site provides full-text access to leading CUP journals in a wide range of subject areas). Available from the main library's Journals, Magazines, and Newsletters page.

Contemporary Womens' Issues (provides information on women's issues around the world). Available from UCB Electronic Indexes and Abstracts or the California Digital Library.

Ethnic News Watch (collection of the newspapers and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Gender Watch (focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Hein Online (a retrospective collection of legal journals, generally pre-1980). Available from the Law Library's list of databases.

JSTOR (backfiles of many primary scholarly journals from a variety of disciplines). Available from the Law Library's list of databases.

Oxford University Press (full-text access to the full collection of Oxford University Press online journals). Available from the main library's Journals, Magazines, and Newsletters page.

Project Muse (access to over 100 scholarly full-text journals in the humanities and social sciences). Available from the UCB Indexes and Abstracts page.

Other Web Resources

There are some free indexes on the Web as well. Here are some of the more useful ones:

Inter-Library Borrowing Services

In the event we do not own or do not have electronic access to a journal you need, you may have to request an article from another library. If the journal is available at a law library, see the Law Library's page on borrowing Materials from Other Libraries & Storage. If it is available at another academic library or a California public library, try the Main library's Interlibrary Borrowing Service.

Prepared by Marci Hoffman, Foreign and International Law Librarian, UC Berkeley Law Library. Prepared September 2004.

Last edited by Michael Lindsey, 13 May 2009