Finding cases by topic

This tutorial will show you how to:

  • find cases by topic.

You may want to find cases by topic when working on an assignment question or looking into the case law of a new legal area.

To get started:

  • Use the arrows below to work through this tutorial.
  • How to use this tutorial


Let's begin!

A-Z Databases

How to access Lexis Advance (Research & US Research)

We are starting at the A-Z Database list.
• Click L
• Click Lexis Advance
• Enter your username and password
• You are now in Lexis Advance (Research & US Research)

* Note: A-Z Database list is found on the UOW Library homepage.

Your screen should look like this:

Lexis Advance home screen

First time logging in? Select Lexis Advance Research under "Where would you like to start?".

Trouble logging in? 

Example question

Let's look at this example question:

Discuss environmental protection in marine areas. 

First, identify the main search words and alternative terms. 

What are the main search words or phrases?

Alternative search words

Let's identify some alternative search words. Why?

Are there alternative words or phrases you could use for "marine protection"?

These words don't have to be exact synonyms for "marine protection." You could use this to focus on particular aspects of marine protection.

Check answer

Let's start searching!

We'll search using Lexis Advance Research's main search box for free text. (See the image below.)

We'll examine the search in more detail later.

Lexis Advance topic search

Enter the search words below into the search box, as depicted in the image above:

environment! and marine and (protection or pollution or policy or impact)


But wait!

Before we click search, we're going to refine the results.

Refine to cases

Before you search, notice the "Search: Everything" filter button to the right of the search box.

1. Click "Search: Everything." A filter section titled "Narrow By:" will open beneath the search bar.

2. Click Content Type from the left-hand sidebar.

3. Click AU Cases.

4. Click Search at the bottom of the section.


Check the image below if you're unsure.

Lexis Advance Advanced Search options


Let's look at the results!

How many did you get?

 Need help?

Search explained

We used the following search: 

environment! and marine and (protection or pollution or policy or impact)


The exclamation mark !

In Lexis Advance, the ! symbol after "environment" searches for different endings of this word. E.g. environment, environmental, environmentalist. 

Tip for using the ! exclamation mark


Using and, or, ( )

Combining words with and will find results containing all the search words.

Combining words with or will find results containing any of the search words.

You can use brackets ( ) to nest terms together when using or.

Tip: different databases use different symbols


Using "double quotation marks"

You can use double quotation marks for common phrases e.g. "communication skills".

These double quotation marks will find common phrases in your results and make your results more relevant.


Need more searching help?

Features of Lexis Advance

In your results list, you 'll see your search words highlighted in yellow.

This is a good way to test if your search is working well.


You can hover over the symbols next to the case names to determine how the case has been treated.

Hover over a green diamond icon. Its definition will pop up.

Check answer

Select a case

1. Click on the case name of any case that seems relevant to you.

When you open a case, you initially get the CaseBase record page. What is CaseBase?

2. Look at the type of information listed in the CaseBase record.

To ensure a case is still "good" law (i.e. not overruled by subsequent cases), check the judicial history of the case.

This may alert you to more recent judgments in your topic.

Tip: signals for judicial history

3. Scroll down or click "Cases referring to this case." (See the image below for reference.)

This will help you to ascertain whether the case has been overruled by subsequent cases or it is still being used.

Note: some cases may not have this section in the CaseBase section if they are very recent.

screenshot: cases referring to this case


Citations and full text

1. Scroll back to the top of the page.

Under the party name, you'll see a list of citations. This indicates that the case has been recorded in a number of publications.

2. Click on a hyperlinked citation. We recommend you use the official authorised version of a case if available.

Tip on authorised official versions

Clicking the hyperlinked citation takes you to the full text of the case.

You can also download a PDF copy.


Thank you for completing this Library tutorial.

So that we can evaluate and improve our tutorials, we would appreciate if you could provide anonymous feedback.

Further Help

Some cases are unpublished. Information on how to find unreported cases is available on the Cases page of the Law Guide.

Links to other tutorials:


Please enter your name to print a copy of your completed quiz.

Print or save your certificate as a PDF to keep for your records or to send to your instructor.