As promised, another post on Parliamentary sources – this time, a quick guide to using the official website of Parliament.

You will find most of the Parliamentary material you need hosted on the Parliament website. This post will focus on how to use the website, and therefore assumes a basic knowledge of different Parliamentary bodies and procedures. (You can see the Parliamentary dictionary if some terms are unfamiliar.)

Parliamentary business is most often found in Hansard, the official record of Parliament. This can be accessed through the homepage, or by using this link. From here there are a number of options. Some of those most likely to be useful are explored below:

  1. Commons and Lords Hansard

This can be accessed by clicking the link on the main page:


There are then a number of searches which can be performed. It is possible to do a general search within Hansard for a specific term – for example “benefit sanctions” – which will bring up a list of all items where this term is found:


The drop-down menus on the main page also bring up a number of ways to search which may or may not be useful to your research. For example, “Browse MPs/Peers” allows you to search for contributions from specific people:


  1. Written Questions and Answers and Written Statements

Again, this can be accessed by clicking the link on the main page:


This will then bring up a search box which offers various options for searching. Most of these are self explanatory:


It is also possible to search written statements, and the daily reports by date:



  1. Hansard archive

The Hansard pages discussed above only contain content for 2010 onwards. For pre-2010 content you will need to use the archives for the Lords and Commons.

  1. Other useful links

From the Parliament homepage, it is also possible to access a wide range of further documents and information. The easiest way to find these is simply to explore the website. If you are unfamiliar with Parliament, the ‘About Parliament’ section of the website may be a useful place to start:


You will also need to be familiar with the ‘Parliamentary business’ section:


Parliament is not always the most obvious resource to use in legal research, but it can often be a rich source of information for a number of different resources. For example, debates and Committee scrutiny of Bills may provide useful information on Legislation you are discussing in your research; Committee inquiries, debates and Early Day Motions can often provide analysis and examples of a law in operation; written answers are a good source for statistical data on specific subjects. It may be worth searching the Parliamentary website during your research to help provide secondary material and analysis.


Keyboard Shortcuts: A Quick Guide

Function Mac PC
‘Find’ COMMAND Command-F Ctrl-F
‘Copy’ COMMAND Command-C Ctrl-C
‘Paste’ COMMAND Command-V Ctrl-V
‘Undo’ last action COMMAND Command-Z Ctrl-Z
‘Redo’ last action COMMAND Command-Y Ctrl-Y
‘Cut’ COMMAND Command-X Ctrl-X
‘Insert footnote’ COMMAND Command-Option-F Ctrl-Alt-F
‘Save’ COMMAND Command-S Ctrl-S
‘Screenshot’ COMMAND Command-Shift-3 Print screen

The aim of this post is to introduce keyboard shortcuts for both Mac users and PC users. There are lots of different keyboard shortcuts you could use, but these are the most useful for research and studying.


This is a useful shortcut, when you know what you are looking for. It must be stressed that the ‘find’ function does not replace your reading of legislation, a case, book or article. It helps if you have read the source beforehand and merely want to check whether you have the correct citation/reference point.

You’re not expected to memorise every single article of law everywhere! Part of research and academic writing is about knowing where to find relevant parts of the law.

For example, when reading a long treaty and you remember that there is a specific article you need, the ‘find’ shortcut is really useful. When reading the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), and you remember that it has a definition for ‘reservations’ but cannot remember which article.


Then use the ‘find’ function. That means pressing ‘Command’ AND F simultaneously on a Mac, OR ‘Ctrl’ AND ‘F’ on a PC. Type in ‘reservations’ and the computer finds the phrase for you. If the first result is not what you needed, then press ‘Enter’ to find the next result.

It is also a useful way of checking your own work. I have a tendency to overuse the word ‘Therefore’ in my essays, so using the ‘find’ function is useful to check whether I’ve used it too many times in my work or even twice in one sentence!


‘Copy and paste’

I do NOT recommend using the copy and paste when using other people’s work. It is much better to summarise and bring in your own analysis. The ASC Team and staff at Bristol Law School will be running workshops on ‘Good Academic Practice’ and ‘Plagiarism’ but as a general caveat, do NOT copy and paste chunks of text.

The only time I use this is when editing my work. Having written my essay, I often want to check whether my introduction matches my essay structure, as it often needs honing and refining. To do so, I like having an an additional Word document open simultaneously. This document has only my introduction in, which is not only my own work but will be later incorporated into my essay. This is the only time I use ‘copy’ and ‘paste’.


‘Undo’ and ‘redo’

If you’ve made a mistake or accidentally ‘undid’ something you wanted to keep, these functions are quite useful. This is less of a problem with Word documents, but when it comes to designing posters with Powerpoint.  For example, when you’ve moved text or a picture somewhere but can’t remember where you had it last but preferred it that way, then these functions can be really helpful!



Remember our helpful blog post on footnotes and referencing? As a law student, you will need to familiarise yourself with OSCOLA format, which uses footnotes. One way to insert a footnote is with this shortcut.

If you’re still lost, it’s a good time to refresh your memory as it is quite tricky to get used to.

The blog posts can be found here:

and here:



Remember to regularly save your work. You’ll be very frustrated if you lose all your hard work!


‘Screen shots’

This is just a useful function to share a picture of your screen with friends or colleagues. If you’re trying to explain something and they don’t quite understand, sometimes a picture can help. This may be something you might want to use if planning group presentations and someone is stuck…


For further information regarding keyboard shortcuts

For PCS, see:

For Macs, see:



A Parliamentary Dictionary

This post is intended to give a brief overview with useful links to some of the terms which you may come across when using Parliamentary sources. There is a full glossary available on the Parliamentary website. The next post will give a guide to using the Parliamentary website.

Bill  – A series of proposals introduced to Parliament to amend, repeal or create a piece of Legislation.

See also:

Draft Bills 

Public Bills 

Private Bills 

Private Members’ Bills 

Hybrid Bills 

Cabinet – Leading ministers who are responsible for the operation, policy and running of government departments.

Committees – Committees of either the House of Commons, House of Lords or Joint Committees of both Houses perform a scrutinising role. They examine Bills and recommend amendments, hold inquiries to produce reports and scrutinise topical or specialist issues. Which work they undertake depends on the nature of the Committee.

See also:

Legislative Committee 

Select Committee 

Delegated Legislation – Regulations made by individual ministers under powers granted by primary legislation.

See also:

Statutory Instruments 

Devolution – A grant of limited power away from Parliament to other law-making bodies, for example the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly or Welsh Assembly.

Gunpowder Plot 1605 – A failed plot by Guy Fawkes and other conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Hansard – The official report of proceedings in the Houses of Parliament.

Henry VIII clauses – Clauses in primary legislation which allow for amendment or repeal without further Parliamentary scrutiny.

House of Commons – The elected chamber of Parliament. It is made up of Members of Parliament who belong to a certain political party or sit as an independent. The major parties in the Commons are: the Conservative and Unionist Party (Conservatives), the Labour Party (Labour), the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems).

House of Lords – The unelected chamber of Parliament. It is made up of Peers, who are nominated to the Peerage by the Prime Minister and ennobled by the Monarch. They may sit under the whip of any of the parties, or as an independent.

Legislation – Law which has passed through both Houses of Parliament and received Royal Assent.

See also:

Acts of Parliament 

Delegated Legislation 

The Parliament Acts 

Member of Parliament (MP) – A representative elected under First Past the Post to represent their constituency in the House of Commons.

See also:

AM – Assembly Member (Wales) 

MLA – Member of the Legislative Assembly (Northern Ireland) 

MSP – Member of the Scottish Parliament 

Opposition – The official opposition to the government, made up of the largest party other than the governing party.

Parliamentary Privilege – Certain immunities which apply only within the Parliamentary estate.

Royal Prerogative – The powers given to the Monarch under the constitution.

Shadow Cabinet – The opposition equivalent to the cabinet, who hold cabinet members to account.

Written Questions – Questions tabled by ministers in writing, to which written answers are given.

How to locate a journal article using the reference

This post aims to provide you with a helpful guide to finding journal articles using a reference, this will be most useful in locating your recommended reading you are directed to by your lecturers. Before you can find a journal using the reference, first you need to understand the reference:

Understanding the parts of the reference

[Author], ‘[Journal Title]’ ([Year]) [Volume] ([Issue]) [Name of Publication] [Starting Page Number]


R Cotterrell, ‘Subverting Orthodoxy, Making Law Central: A View of Sociolegal Studies’ (2002) 29(4) Journal of Law and Society 632

This journal article is written by R Cotterrell, the title of the article is Subverting Orthodoxy, Making Law Central: A View of Sociolegal Studies, it was published in 2002 in volume 29, issue 4 of the Journal of Law and Society, and the article begins on page 632.

This is a lot of information, delivered in a concise format, and understanding each piece of information helps us to locate the article, think of the reference as being the article’s address. The aim of this post is to demonstrate how each part of the reference may be used, in conjunction with the library resources, to locate the article.

Searching using the title

Many journals are retrievable directly from a search of the library using the title of the journal:


Simply enter the title of the journal in the search box, press search and…


If the article can be found, it will usually be the top result, as can be seen above, we can also see that the library has the full text online, so click on the link and you will be taken to the article.

Sometimes things are not as straightforward as this; searching using the library in this way involves the library searching databases for the title you have asked for, this saves you a lot of time, you then get the relevant result. Unfortunately the library search does not have the ability to search every database in this way, some databases do not allow the library search tool to search for titles within their database. If your title search fails, then you need to use the publication name in order to locate the correct database yourself.

Searching using the Publication Name

As you can see from the breakdown of the reference, we can use the reference to identify the name of the publication the journal is published in.

Sometimes the full name will be given, for example here highlighted in red is the publication name within a reference:

R Cotterrell, ‘Subverting Orthodoxy, Making Law Central: A View of Sociolegal Studies’ (2002) 29(4) Journal of Law and Society 632

Other times an abbreviation of the publication name will be given, for example here highlighted in red is the abbreviated publication name within a reference:

  1. Gomulka, ‘Will UBS mark the end of rogue trading or the beginning of regulatory collapse?’(2012) 12 (2) JIBFL 120

As you become more experienced, you will begin to recognise publications from their abbreviations, but when you are unfamiliar with the abbreviation can find the title using Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations; this useful resource allows you to search for titles using abbreviations, and vice versa. Taking the JIBFL as an example we can search the index like so:


The search will then return matching results, in some cases there may be more than one result, but in the example search, we get one result:


We now have the title of the journal, Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, and we can search for this title using the library search:


By entering this search term the library will provide result which will include databases where we can access this publication, if the library has access to the publication.


We can see from the results that the top two entries hold full text of the publication we are looking for, and the second result shows us that the publication is available from Lexis Library. The links provided by the library search results will take us directly to the publication, within the database:


From this page we can use the various sections of the reference to search for the article, we can enter the author and the title, which in this case takes us directly to the article:


Or we can use the reference to browse for the article, this will make use of the year or volume, the issue and the page number of the article to locate it. So in our example we can take the year and volume, then the issue and finally the page number

  1. Gomulka, ‘Will UBS mark the end of rogue trading or the beginning of regulatory collapse?’(2012) 12 (2) JIBFL 120


When using Lexis Library, browsing involves expanding the relevant section by clicking on the plus (+) sign. Once you have found the issue you are looking for, expand it and then you can view the articles by title, in page number order:


The interface you will meet at each database you use will be different, some are much easier to use than others, but the aim of this guide is to allow you to understand the reference you have been given, and be able to locate the journal using that information. My best advice is to keep practicing, you will learn to recognise abbreviations, so you will not need to use the abbreviations index as often. You will also learn which databases hold which publications. This guide will be most useful when do not have that experience, and you can fall back on this process. If you are still having trouble locating journals then come see us in the ASC. If you have followed this guide, and you are still unable to locate the article then contact the lecturer who set the reading.


Last week, the ASC LLM Team ran a workshop on referencing. This video is a brief overview of what was covered:

This post will particularly focus on how to cross-reference.

There will be a moment during the course of your work where you will want to refer back to an earlier citation. Bear in mind, that footnotes are numerically ordered e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 etc…

A long time ago, when I was an undergraduate student, I didn’t know this. I submitted a piece of coursework where every time I referred back to an earlier footnote, I would write 1, 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 1, 2, 1. Of course this is wrong and it’s terribly confusing for marker!!!

Learning to cross-reference is an important skill. So, how do you go about it? Imagine that you need to reference the following piece of text:


Step 1)

In footnote 3, you would like to refer back to the citation you made in footnote 1. Type in the surname, brackets with an ‘n’ in them, plus page number that you want to refer to. For



In the space before closing the brackets, click the cursor (I’ve highlighted this in yellow above). This will be where you want your cross-reference.

Step 2)

Then you will need to navigate to the ‘insert’ menu at the top of Microsoft Word and choose ‘cross-reference’.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 13.14.23.png

OR, if you navigate to the ‘Reference’ tab, and click the ‘cross-reference’ icon.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 13.14.18.png


A small menu will appear. It should look something like this (note: this will vary a little bit depending on the operating system you use e.g. Mac or Windows).

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 13.42.40.pngWhere it says ‘Reference type’ at the top of this menu box, you need to make sure you choose ‘footnote’ from the drop down menu, otherwise you will not be able to see the list of footnotes generated (this is where the top red arrow is pointing!)

The menu box will then show you the footnotes that you have made. Choose the footnote that you want in this little menu bar. This will then be highlighted in blue, as you can see from the second red arrow above. If you then click ‘insert’, the cross reference number will be generated for you.

Step 3)

This is handy for a lengthy piece of work because when you need to insert new footnotes, the numbers for the cross-references will change for you. Please note that not all computers do this automatically. You may need to ‘force’ it to refresh by clicking ‘print’ or ‘print preview’. However, you do not need to print the item, as long as you receive the printing menu up, you can press ‘cancel’ but Word will refresh these cross-references for you.

It’s a really cool function, as it means you don’t have to go back and put every number in manually afterwards! Hypothetically, if I added a new sentence which needed a new reference, it would look like this.


With the cross-referencing function in Word, it will change the footnote numbering. It should then look something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 13.51.10.png

A Final Note:

I like to keep rough drafts of coursework saved as different files. That way I can track my progress with work. Or I sometimes use a clean Word document to write a separate section of my work to copy and paste into the longer file at a later stage. If using cross-referencing, you will need to be careful because Word doesn’t always recognise these points and it is not foolproof!!! Within your footnotes you may receive the notification ‘n error bookmark not defined’. If that is the case, you will need to revise and check the citation manually, as you may have accidentally deleted the original footnote you were referring to!

For further information on cross-referencing, see:





Using HUDOC – a basic guide to searching for judgments from the European Court of Human Rights

HUDOC is the database of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). If you know the name of the case you wish to read, it is often quickest simply to run a Google search – you will often have to use “[case name] HUDOC” in order to get a result from HUDOC and not from other sources – but there are also a number of useful ways of searching HUDOC if you are beginning research or searching for new cases.

How wide you wish your search to be, how many sources there are, and any constraints on your search will often determine the best way to approach the resource. On the HUDOC home page are a number of different filters to begin searching, and it would be impractical to go through them all. The best way of learning to search HUDOC is simply to play around with it. But there are some basics which will make your research in HUDOC much easier.

  • Language filters

Judgments from the ECtHR are available in a variety of languages, predominantly English and French. Being monolingual, I always begin any search by selecting the English language filter – cases not available in English are, unfortunately, not going to help my research:


More than one language filter can be selected. Each time a filter is selected the list of cases will update itself automatically.

  • Article filters

As with language, it is also possible to filter by the Article of the European Convention that you are interested in:


Clicking on ‘More’ will bring up all of the possible filters:


For example, here is the list of cases where “English” and all of the “Article 4” filters are selected:


  • Other filters

There are a number of other filters under the left hand sidebar “Narrow Your Search”. These include by the court giving the judgment, by whether there was a violation found or not and by the country defending the case. All of these may be more or less important depending on the nature of your research. Language and Article are likely be the two filters you most frequently use, however.

  • “Sort by”

In the top right hand corner is a drop down menu for how cases are sorted:


Relevance is likely to be the most useful search for general research, but other options may be helpful. For example, if you know that domestic law fundamentally changed after a certain date, cases brought under the old law may not be relevant, so Sort by: -> Date (newest) might be a more helpful option.

  • Advanced search

Clicking the “Advanced Search” link in the top right hand corner brings up a number of further options to use alongside, or instead of, the filters:


There are small grey question marks next to each field, and hovering over these will bring up further information on what each field searches for. It’s worth becoming familiar with this before beginning research, as this is likely to provide the most focussed searches.

For any questions on how to use HUDOC, the best place to start is with their FAQs. But a knowledge of basic filters and searches should be enough to find relevant ECtHR judgments within HUDOC for your research.