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Basic Search

Advanced Search

Multidatabase Search

Term Expanders ("Stemming")

Term Connectors (Boolean and Proximity)

Using Parentheses ("Nesting")

Common words ("Stopwords")

Basic Search

Use the search box on BAILII's home page and type in your terms. BAILII will search for any document that contains ALL of your search terms. You can use the drop-down menu to restrict your search to one of the following jurisdictions: United Kingdom, England & Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland or Europe. You can use term expanders in a basic search, but you cannot use term connectors in a basic search.

Advanced Search

If you want to use a combination of term connectors in your search, use the Advanced Search page -- or choose the advanced query search box on the Case Law, Legislation or Other Materials search pages. See here for BAILII's term expanders and see herefor BAILII's term connectors.

Multidatabase Search

Using the Multidatabase Search form, you can select any combination of BAILII's databases for your search.

Use the tick-boxes below the search form to make your selection.

Use the drop-down menu to select which Search Method you want to use:

Note: For more flexibility searching by title, use Find by Title.

BAILII's Term Expanders

To expand your search terms: use the symbol *
For example: type discriminat* to find discriminate discriminatory discriminated discrimination, etc.

Plurals and possessives: You do not need to use the symbol * for regular plurals.

For example: if you type the word judge, the plural judges is automatically matched, and vice versa (i.e. if you type judges, the word judge is automatically matched).

But for irregular forms, you need to include both, e.g. wom?n to find woman and women; child* to find child and children.

Unsure of spelling or want variations of a word? Use the "wild card" symbol ? which will match just one letter.
For example: licen?e for licence or license, int??net for internet or intranet

BAILII's Term Connectors (Boolean and Proximity)

Use Boolean operators (and, or, not) and proximity connectors (/n/, near).

Use parentheses when you have more than one operator or connector in your query.


all search terms in same document, e.g. customary and right


either or both search terms in the same document, e.g. customary or ordinary


Terms within n terms of each other where n is a number, e.g. "statutory right" /10/ wages


Terms within 50 words of each other, e.g. age near discriminat*


to exclude documents with a specific term, e.g. customary not statutory

" "

For phrase searches, e.g. "cruel and unusual punishment"

( )

Terms placed within parentheses are processed as a unit and are processed before the terms and/or operators outside the parentheses, e.g.
("best interest" /10/ child*) and ("foster care" or adopt*) 

Using Parentheses  ("Nesting")

If you use multiple connectors in your search, use parentheses to resolve any ambiguity. Terms placed within parentheses are processed as a unit and are processed before the terms and/or operators outside the parentheses, e.g.

(terminat* or dismiss*) and statutory right /10/ wages
requires either the word root terminat* or dismiss* to be in the same document with the phrase "statutory right" within ten or fewer terms of the word wage(s).

"best interest" /5/ (patient or parent)
requires either the word patient or parent to be within five or fewer words of the phrase "best interest(s)"

(public /10/ recreation*) /5/ (purpose or use)
the word public within ten words or fewer of the word root recreation* , and that set of words must be within five words or fewer of the word purpose(s) or the word use(s).

Common words ("Stopwords")

Do not use common words in your search unless they are part of a phrase enclosed in double quotes, e.g. "cruel and unusual punishment". For a current list of these common or "stop words", see here.

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