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South African Law

Finding journal articles on South African Law

The following tools allow you to search for journal articles and case comments on your topic in hundreds of journals at the same time. These resources are either indexing / abstracting tools or full text databases. However, many of the indexing / abstracting tools listed below link to the full text articles.

Abstracting / indexing tools are the most effective and efficient way to find relevant scholarly law journal articles, as the databases are searched by title, keyword, subject and abstract etc, rather than the full text of the articles, so the results are going to be more relevant. 

When searching full text databases, your keywords may appear anywhere in the article, so you will get far more results, many of which will not be relevant, unless you construct clever searches using, for example, proximity operators, so that your words/phrases retrieve relevant articles. In full text databases we advise that you use field searching if available to eg: search for your words in the title, abstract, subject, keyword fields, rather than in the full text.

To find journal articles about South African law, we recommend the following South African and multijurisdictional databases. Although the multijurisdictional databases cover more jurisdictions than just South Africa, they do include coverage of South African journals. In addition, articles on South African law will be published in African law journals, as well as, for example, US, UK or Australian journals.

South African Full Text Law Journals & Index

Sabinet African Journals (UniMelb staff & student access) - the Library subscribes to Sabinet's Law Collection, and Juta's Law Journals. These collections contain full text professional and scholarly journals on South African and African law. The Law Collection comprises 48 journals (22 of which are open access). The Juta collection includes 18 journals. Journals in these collections include: Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law, Journal of South African Law, South African Law Journal, Southern African Public Law, South African Yearbook of International Law, Stellenbosch Law Review.

  • To search across all Sabinet content (not just law) use the Sabinet Advanced Search - this has a sophisticated search engine that allows boolean. proximity and field searching. It can be restricted to search just the law content. The results will include abstracts of articles in Sabinet journals to which we do not subscribe.

South African Law Journals Index

iSALPI: South African Legal Periodicals Index (open access) from the Library of the Constitutional Court of SA. Can be searched, or browsed by topic, author, article title or date. Indexes articles from South African journals only. No full text.

Journal Article Index (open access) - part of the online catalogue of the Johannesburg Bar Library. This has a sophisticated search engine. Indexes articles from South African journals only. No full text. 
Please note: there are currently (as at 6/9/22) issues accessing this catalogue from Australia and we are working with the Johannesburg Bar Library to resolve the issue. In the meantime, you can access the library catalogues available via these links:

Multidisciplinary African and South African Journals Index

Sabinet Advanced Search - see information above.

Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) South Africa contains numerous full text open access journals, mainly in the sciences, but also some arts, social sciences and 'human sciences' journals, including a few law journals. It has a fairly basic article search engine - no boolean searching, but it does allow field searching, so you can search in eg: title, abstract and subject fields. 

Multidisciplinary Full Text African Journals

Sabinet includes two open access full text collections:

Multijurisdictional Law Journal Indexes

  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals on HeinOnline (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • good coverage of South African and African journals
    • index only
    • multilingual 
    • includes articles from over 500 legal journals published worldwide from all jurisdictions outside the US - predominantly from civil law countries
    • coverage: from 1960 to current - updated quarterly

  • AGIS Plus Text on the INFORMIT platform (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • index / abstracts
    • Australasian articles
    • over 140 journals indexed
    • coverage: mid 1980s to current
  • HeinOnline Law Journal Library (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • full text
    • multijurisdictional
    • over 2,300 journals and law reviews - full text
    • coverage: from the first issue published for every journal to current  
  • Index to Legal Periodicals on the EBSCO platform (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • index / abstracts 
    • multijurisdictional - US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
    • over 1,100 law journals and reviews, yearbooks, bar association and university publications indexed; full text of over 480 journals
    • coverage: early 1980s to current
  • Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective: 1908-1981 on the EBSCO platform (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • index / abstracts
    • multijurisdictional - US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
    • over 400 journals indexed
    • coverage: 1908-1981
  • Legal Journals Index on Westlaw UK  (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • index / abstracts
    • UK and EU  articles
    • over 800 journals indexed; full text coverage of approximately 100 journals
    • coverage: mid 1980s to current
  • Legaltrac  (UniMelb staff & student access) 

    • index (no abstracts provided)
    • multijurisdictional - US, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. 
    • over 875 law journals indexed; and law-related articles from more than 1,000 additional business and general interest periodicals 
    • coverage: mid 1980s to current 
  • Index to Canadian Legal Literature on WestlawNext Canada 

    • index
    • coverage 1985 to current 
  • Articles and Newsletters on WestlawNext Canada 

    • full text
    • coverage 1990s to current
    • over 40 Canadian law journals and reviews, approximately 20 Law Report Articles that contain case comments, annotations and articles (coverage 1970s to current) and 20 newsletters.
  • All Canadian Legal Journals on Lexis + Australia

    • full text 
    • coverage 1989 to current
    • approximately 45 Canadian law journals 
  • SSRN (open access) via the Legal Scholarship Network  provides forthcoming articles, unpublished working papers in addition to published articles, book chapters and other law research outputs.

    • full text

    • multijurisdictional‚Äč

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