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Law and Legal Studies: Journals

What is a journal?

A journal (periodical) is a scholarly publication containing articles written by researchers, academics, practitioners and other experts. Journals usually focus on a specific discipline or field of study. Articles in journals often deal with very specific aspects of topics and in depth. Journals are like magazines: different issues or parts are published at regular intervals and each has the same title. Often each part has a number and all the parts for a year have a volume number. Usually several authors write articles per issue.

Law journals contain articles, comments, case notes and book reviews.

 Image result for stellenbosch law review   Image result for harvard law review  

There are about 26 law journals published in South Africa over 40 according to how Sabinet groups journals).

Not all journals or articles are available full text online. There are various ways to access online journals - see the centre column of this page or click on the Databases tab.

Newspapers are also periodicals although generally not scholarly but may be a useful source of information. Most newspapers have online versions. SA media / SA News on Sabinet provides scanned newspaper articles from a wide range of South African newspapers going back several decades and the Newspaper gateway provides access to a useful range of newspapers from around the world. Iolnews is a useful online source of South African news. See also the UKZN Library's newspaper page.

UKZN now subscribes to a service called Pressreader which provides access to a large range of newspapers from across the continent and globe. This service provides up to date coverage.

International journal collections

Click on the Databases tab at the top of this page for links to databases containing international journals.

Finding online journals and articles

Most academic journals are not freely available via Google or Google Scholar. Libraries pay for access and publishers / vendors put together collections of journals for multiple years in databases. These collections may be country or subject specific or multidisciplinary.

There are different ways to search for journals and journal articles:

1. The icatalogue includes titles of journals as well as articles in journals that are accessible to UKZN staff and students. Use the advanced search option if you want to limit your search to journals. (If an article is not accessible to UKZN you can request a copy electronically via the interlibrary loan facility on icatalogue. It is better to check with a subject librarian first in case there is a technical problem or the article is accessible via another means.)

2. Search an academic database by topic, author or journal title. From the toolbar on the UKZN Library homepage, under Resources, select Databases A-Z.

3. Search the journals collection of the Library for a particular journal and / or article where details are known.

4. Search GoogleScholar. GoogleScholar can only provide free access to articles if publishers allow it but where UKZN pays for access to an article, click on the article title to get to the full text.



Full text journal articles in South African law journals

South African law journals full text can be found in 3  South African databases and 1 over seas database:

1. SABINET Online provides access to South African journal articles in ALL subject areas, including some law journals.
    Click on SABINET ONLINE , then 'Search' on the toolbar, and from the right hand column of the drop down options click on the first option SA ePublications (full text since 2001). Once at the search screen you can also tick to search ISAP (index only from 1987).

The following journals are available full text in Sabinet's SA e Publications: Acta Criminologica; Business Tax & Company Law Quarterly; Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa (CILSA); De Jure (2011+); De Rebus; Fundamina; Institute for Security Studies; Journal for Juridicial Science; Law, Democracy and Development; Lesotho Law Journal; Malawi Law Journal; Obiter; Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PELJ); SA Crime Quarterly; SA Journal of Bioethics and Law; SA Yearbook of International Law; Without Prejudice

 2. Juta (2000+):  Acta Juridica (AJ); African Human Rights Law Journal; African Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law; African Nazarene University Law Journal; African Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law; CILSA: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa; Constitutional Court Review; Corporate Report: Facilitating Business in SA; iilwandle zethu: Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa; Industrial Law Journal (ILJ) (Located in the Labour library); Journal of Business Law; Journal of Comparative Law in Africa; Journal of Corporate and Commercial Law and Practice;   Juta’s Quarterly Review of South African;  Juta’s Tax Law Review; South African Intellectual Property Law Journal; SA Journal of Criminal Justice (SACJ);  South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR) (from 2016 SAJHR is available on the database Taylor and Francis); South African Law Journal (SALJ); SA Mercantile Law Journal; South African Yearbook of International Law; Stellenbosch Law Review; Tydskrif vir die Suid Afrikaanse Reg (TSAR)

3. LexisNexis (1996/1998+)De Rebus (1998+);  Employment Law Journal (1996+); Income Tax Reporter (1998+); Insurance and Tax Journal (1998+); Property Law Digest (1996+); Taxgram (1998+);

Open source

 4. The American database Heinonline provides full text access to a range of South African journals from their inception. Most recent issues not available -

Acta Juridica (AJ)  (1958-2017)
African Disability Rights Yearbook (2013-2018)
Annual Survey (AS) (1947-2014)  
Cape Law Times / SA Law Journal (CLT or SALJ) (1884-2016)    
Comparative & International Law Journal of SA (CILSA) (1968-2015)
Constitutional Court Review (2008-2019)  
De Jure (1972-2019)
Fundamina (1992-2019)
Industrial Law Journal (ILJ) (1980-2016) 
Journal for Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) (1937-2019)
Journal of Anti-Corruption Law (2017-2019)
Journal of SA Law (J SA L) (1976-2017)  
Journal of Business Law (JBL) (1993-2008)
Law Democracy and Development (1997-2019)
Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PELJ) (1998-2019)
South African Journal of Criminal Justice (SACJ) (1988-2016) 
South African Human Rights Yearbook (SAHRYB) (1990-1998)
South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR) (1985-2013)
South African Law Journal (1884-2016)
South African Mercantile Law Journal (SA Merc LJ) (1989-2016)
Stellenbosch Law Review (Stell LR) (1990-2016)
THRHR (1937-2019)


How to find print journals

     Using iCatalogue

  • From the Library website click on icatalogue and then the advanced search option.
  • Type in the title of the journal and from the format option choose journal/magazine.
  • From the results list click on the name of the journal and look at the holdings information.
  • Find the journal in the relevant section of the library. In the law libraries the journals are kept separately from the books and arranged in alphabetical order by title.


Accredited journal lists

The Department of Higher Education approves South African journals for SAPSE accreditation purposes and also provides links to all accredited lists. These are available from the UKN Research office home page.

Pay per View

This mainly affects postgraduates and researchers: if an article is not available via UKZN and is urgently needed, ask your subject librarian who will request a copy for you - at no charge to yourself.

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