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How to search: WestLaw Advanced Search

This guide will show you how to search in the different Unisa Library resources to find relevant information for your research needs

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

If you are experiencing problems accessing the form, please use this link


Westlaw International is built on a vast global library of the world's best legal, news and business information and is designed to help you find information, fast. Case law, legislation, law reviews, treaties, directories and much more. Access content from providers such as Sweet & Maxwell, Sweet & Maxwell Asia, Ellis Publications, Carswell and Westlaw.

Countries covered include:

- Australia

- Canada

- European Union

- Hong Kong

- United Kingdom

- United States

Using the Advanced Search in WestLaw

The Advanced Searching option is available by clicking on Show Advanced Options on the searching screen of WestLaw.


For Terms and Connectors searching, use connectors to specify the relationships that must exist between the terms in your retrieved documents. For example,

"social host" /s liable /p injury /p intoxicated drunk /s guest & insurance

Connector Type this To retrieve documents that contain
AND & Both search terms in document: narcotic & warrant
OR a space Either search term or both terms: car automobile
/p Search terms in the same paragraph: hearsay /p utterance
  /s Search terms in the same sentence: design /s defect
  +s The first term preceding the second within the same sentence: palsgraf +s island
/n Search terms within n terms of each other (where n is a number from 1-255): personal /3 jurisdiction
  +n The first search term preceding the second by n terms (where n is a number from 1-255): 20 +5 1080
Phrase " " Search terms appearing in the same order as in the quotation marks: "attractive nuisance"
BUT NOT % None of the terms following the percent symbol: laminectomy % to(413)

Click on the Connectors/Expanders link below the Search box to see a more complete listing of connectors.

You can increase the power of a Terms and Connectors search by using appropriate expanders to the terms in your search.

The exclamation point (!) is the root expander. Place it after the root of a word and Westlaw will complete the root word with any extension. For example, drink! will retrieve drink, drinks, drinking, and drinkable.

The asterisk (*) is the place holder: it takes the place of any letter. For example, dr*nk will retrieve drink, drank, and drunk.

You can use more than one expander in a term: dr*nk! will retrieve drink, drank, drunk, drinking, drinkable, drunken, drunkard, etc. S****holder will retrieve both shareholder andstockholder.

"social host" /s liab!/p injur! /p intoxicat! dr*nk! /s guest & insur!

Adding Field or Date Restrictions 
You can restrict all or part of your Terms and Connectors query to a specific field, such as the digest field, and to a specific date or range of dates. 

To add restrictions:
  • Double-click a restriction in the Fields or Dates list below the Search box. The restriction (field or date) is added to your search in the Search box. 

    For example, if you double-click Judge JU in the Fields list, JU( ) is added to your search. Then type your terms in the parentheses, e.g., JU(black). 

    Notes: If you don't find the restriction you need in the Dates list, click the Dates link to use a template. 

    The Dates list is not available for multiple-database searches.
You can also use a restriction template. Click the Fields or Dates link and type the appropriate terms or dates in the text boxes, then click Add To Search. This is particularly useful when you are doing multiple field searches and need certain terms to appear in different fields, eg. ju(black) & at(white) & sy(affirm!). The template search automatically inserts the "&" between different fields.

 Taken from