BAILII [Home] [Databases] [World Law] [Multidatabase Search] [Help] [Feedback]

Search Help

You are here: BAILII >> About BAILII >> Help >> Search Help

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.

Advanced Search

If you want to make more complex queries, 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 word stemming 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.

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

BAILII's Word stemming

Search terms are automatically stemmed. For example: discriminate will also find discriminatory discriminated discrimination, etc.

If you want an exact word or phrase match, ignoring stemming of search terms, use the exact: search operator: exact:(customary AND recreation) will find documents containing those two specific words, but not "customarily", "recreational" etc.

BAILII's Term Connectors (Boolean and Proximity)

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


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 AND 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" AND wages
requires either the word root terminat* or dismiss* to be in the same document with the phrase "statutory right" and the word wage(s).

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

(public AND recreation) AND (purpose OR use)
the word public, the word recreation, and 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. To search for stopwords, use the exact: modifier. exact:("statutory and right") will find that exact phrase.

BAILII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback | Donors | Donate to BAILII