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Journals on Sustainability Law

Journal articles provide analysis and opinion and can be useful for supporting your research of the primary materials.  They can also be a good source for up-to-date commentary on legal issues. Often relevant legislation and cases will also be cited. There may be cross over of jurisdictions, so the international databases may also contain relevant Australian issues. View the Law LibGuide for information about Australian legal journals.  

Note: Use the International Law databases for more links to legal journal databases. You can search for general concepts such as “sustainability” and “sustainable development”, or narrow your focus using terms such as “human rights”, “discrimination”, “poverty” and “environmental sustainability”.  

Database Description
AGIS: Attorney-General's information service Indexes and abstracts articles from published material on all aspects of law
Brill Online Access to journals in the fields of humanities, international law and biology
ECOLEX  Database combining the environmental law information holdings of FAO, IUCN and UNEP
HeinOnline  Access to full-text international legal journals and US legislation and cases
JSTOR Access to journals in the fields of arts, humanities, social sciences and some science areas
SAGE: Science and geography education A bibliographic database indexing popular journals on a broad range of subjects, including agriculture, environmental science, ethics and sustainability
ScienceDirect Contains the full text of Elsevier books, journals and reference works covering life, medical, technical, physical sciences and social sciences
SSRN An abstract database containing abstracts of scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers from social sciences research
Wiley Online Library Access to books and journals published by Wiley-Blackwell, covering earth and environmental science, education, law, life sciences, medicine and healthcare, social sciences and more 

Tip: Sustainability is an interdisciplinary topic. Try searching both general law and subject-specific databases to find relevant resources.  

Finding articles on a topic - Australia

Tip: Always check the Help section before using a new database to find out the correct way to enter your keywords.   

Westlaw AU – An online Australian legal information service published by Thomson Reuters, containing journal articles, looseleaf commentaries, legislation, cases and current awareness resources.  

Q. Find articles dealing with concerns of sustainability law and climate change 

Select Journals from the tick-boxes below the search bar. In the Search box type “sustainability” AND “climate change” > Run search and view results. 

Note: This search finds results from all the journals available on Westlaw AU. To retrieve more relevant results, you can also search within a specific journal title.  

From the results list, select Edit Search > Leave the search terms in the box > Under the Product heading select Environmental and Planning Law Journal > Run search and view results. 

Lexis Advance - Provides searchable access to law publications and databases, including journal articles, looseleaf commentaries, legislation cases and current awareness material. 

Q. Find articles dealing with concerns of sustainability law and human rights   

Click on Search: Everything to the right of the search bar.  Select Content Type > AU Secondary Materials 

In the Search box type “sustainability” and “human rights” > Run search and view results.  

Note: This search finds results from all secondary materials available on Lexis Advance. To retrieve more relevant results, you can also narrow Content Type to Journals and then to a specific journal title.  

From the results list, select Australian Journal of Corporate Law and view results. 

Finding an Article When You Have a Citation

Use MultiSearch to find the full-text of a journal if you already know the article you need. 

Before you can find a journal in the catalogue, you will need to work out its full title from the abbreviation using the abbreviation tools listed here 

Q. Find a full-text copy of the article ‘Sustainability and climate change: Liability of corporations’ (2007) 25 C&SLJ 427 

From the abbreviation tools list select Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations > Search by Abbreviation > Type C&SLJ > Take note of the full title Company and Securities Law Journal. 

Go to MultiSearch > Click on Advanced Search > In the Search box type Company and Securities Law Journal > Change the first drop-down from Any Field to Title and the Material Type drop-down to Journals > Run search and view results.  

This journal is available from Westlaw AU > In the drop-down lists expand Journals and check the box for Company and Securities Law Journal > In the search box type Sustainability and climate change: Liability of corporations > Change the radio button from Free Text to Title > Run search and view results.  

International Sustainability Commentary


Use MultiSearch to find library resources.  

Q. Do some background reading on sustainability in Australia 

 Go to Advanced Search > In the Search box type “sustainability Australia” > Change the drop-down from Any Field to Subject > Run search and view results.  

Tip: You can change the way the results are sorted using the Sorted by arrow, e.g. change the results to view the most recent books first.  For background reading, try limiting your search to Books using the link on the left-hand side of the page.  

Using a variety of search terms in MultiSearch will enhance your research. Try combining some of these terms as well for more specific results. For example try using “sustainability” AND “climate change” AND “energy”. 

Below are a few suggestions to get you started. Keep note of any additional terms you come across and try searching with them in MultiSearch. 

climate change climate action
conservation economic growth
energy law environment
inequality human rights
gender equality poverty


sustainable living sustainable development
waste water law

 Tip: Use quotation marks to search for specific phrases – this will keep the words together when searching (e.g. “climate change”). You may also like to truncate keywords (e.g. sustain*) when searching to increase your chances of finding relevant results.