Find a Case by Citation
Find a Case by Title Search
- Click Find on the toolbar or use the Find by Citation text box in the left frame of the Law School tab page.
- Enter the case's citation and click GO. For example:
- 86 S.Ct. 1602
- 237 N.W.2d 67
- Find an international case citation
- Click Find on the toolbar
- Select the country under the Publication Country drop-down list in the left frame. (This step is necessary as legal publications from different countries could have the same publication abbreviation.)
- Enter the citation in the Find this document by citation text box. For example: 1998 2 hklrd 12.
Finding a Case Law Database
- Click Find on the toolbar and then Find by Title in the left frame.
- Enter the name of one party in the first box and the name of the other party in the second box. Keep the names as simple as possible. Last names or a unique word in a corporate name are usually sufficient. Example:
- Miranda in one box, Arizona in the other.
- Select a jurisdiction and click GO. If you don't know the jurisdiction, select All U.S. Federal and State Cases.
Word Searches in a Case Law Database
- Type a description of cases that you want to search in the Search these databases box in the left frame of the Law School tab page and click GO. A list of possible databases will be displayed. Check the one(s) you want to search and click OK. For example: Type minnesota family law cases
- Click Directory on the toolbar.
- Click Cases under either U.S. Federal Materials or U.S. State Materials
- Drill through the Directory until you find the appropriate database
All case law databases on Westlaw can be searched using Natural Language or Terms and Connectors. All cases that are included in the National Reporter System reporters can be searched using Key Numbers. Contact your school's West Academic Account Manager or a West student representative about Westlaw training in formulating effective searches.
Field Searches are a very focused form of a Terms and Connectors search.
Knowing the fields in case law databases and what materials are contained in each field can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your Westlaw research. Some of the most common field searches in case law databases are:
Title field (when you know the names of the litigants):
ti(miranda & arizona)
Words & Phrases field (to retrieve judicial definitions of terms:
Synopsis/Digest combined field (to focus on central issues in the case law):
sy,di("student loan" /p discharge!)
Multiple field search in the Judge field, the Attorney field, and the Date field:
ju(warren) & at(marshall) & da(1966)