How to Search Practical Law

Start your search, refine your results and view advanced searching tips

Start Your Search

  • Start your search from the search box, which appears on every page of our website.
  • Search in allows you to limit your search to a particular practice area, or if you’re starting from our global site, a particular jurisdiction. From our What’s Market page or Brief Bank page, you can limit your search to those resource types. Select your chosen area, enter your search term and click Search. Once within a practice area, country or topic page, the search will only return results from that practice area or country by default.
  • You can use free text, exact phrases or other query modifiers you would use in a Google search. If you enter more than one search term, the search engine will automatically perform an "AND" search – meaning that it will only return a result if it contains all the terms you have entered. Use quotation marks around the phrase, for example "asset acquisitions", to limit your search to that phrase.

See Advanced searching tips (below) for more information on how to search.

View Your Search Results

  • The title, type of resource, relevant jurisdiction(s), maintenance status or publication date and abstract where available is displayed for each result. o Check if your resource is up to date: If the status of a resource reads "Maintained", it means Practical Law's team keep the document updated to reflect changes that have a practical impact on the work of frontline lawyers.
  • Your search results are presented in tabs. The default tab for most searches is Know-how. This tab displays practical guidance that is created and maintained by our team of experts. Know-how includes: standard documents, clauses and drafting notes, forms, practice notes, checklists, legal updates, glossary articles, and country Q&As.
  • If you want to search our database of public deals documents and agreements, click on the What’s Market tab (UK and US search only). If you search from the What’s Market page, this tab will open first as a default.
  • To search recently filed court documents reflecting current formatting and content requirements, click on Brief Bank (US search only). If you search from the Brief Bank page, this tab will open first as a default.
  • You can switch between the UK, Global and US search at any time using the tabs underneath the main search button.
  • If you are unsure where you are searching, check the breadcrumb trail above your search results. You can click your way back through the breadcrumb trail or return to home at any point by clicking on Practical Law on the top left of the page.
  • If you want to find articles from Practical Law: The Journal or our Country Q&A, click on the Resources tab on the MegaMenu.

Refine Your Results

  • Your search results are displayed by relevance to your search term. To view your results in date order, click Sort by date.
  • To refine your search results, use the filters to the left of the screen. For an explanation of filters see Using Filters below.
  • Expand and collapse the list of available filters in each group by clicking the plus sign to the right of the filter group name or by clicking the filter group name itself.
  • Clear all filters by selecting Clear all in the box above the filters.

Using Filters

Refine your search results using the filters to the left. Filters include:

Resource Type

This allows you to refine search results to a certain Practical Law resource type (for example practice notes, standard documents, legal updates). Some resource types have sub-filters. For example, under Standard Documents and Clauses you can further refine your results to show just Standard Documents or just Standard Clauses.

Practice Area

This allows you to refine search results to a practice area. Once you’ve selected your practice area you can use the filters to further refine your search results to a topic, for example Commercial > Outsourcing.


This allows you to refine search results to a particular jurisdiction.

  • The order in which the filters appear reflects the number of relevant results returned for each filter. If you'd like to see more Resource Type, Practice Area or Jurisdiction options, click More; if you'd like to see fewer, click Less. Filters will only appear if there are search results within that filter.

    Within each filter group, you may only select one filter at a time. Each time you apply a filter, your search results will automatically narrow to reflect the filter applied. Where you select more than one filter, the results displayed will only contain materials that fall within all selected filters.

  • Select filters by clicking on those that you wish to apply to your results. For example if you want to refine your results to practice notes only, click on Practice Notes under the heading Resource Type in the list of filters.
  • The breadcrumb trail above the search results displays all selected filters, so you can see what filters you have applied at a glance. Remove all filters here by clicking the Clear all button.
  • Remove individual filters by clicking All above the filter you have applied. To step back in your search, click back through the breadcrumb trail above your search results.

Advanced Searching Tips

OR search

Search for resources that contain either one word or another by entering "OR" between search terms. For example, "stock OR asset acquisitions".

Exact keywords

Search for an exact keyword by including a "+" immediately in front of a word, e.g. +contract.

Please note: The search engine automatically searches for synonyms and alternative forms of common words (e.g. a search for contract will include resources with the terms contracted, contracting, and contracts). The exact keyword modifier (+contract) and the exact phrase modifier ("asset acquisitions") will override this behavior.

Exclude words

Exclude resources from your search which contain a certain word by entering a minus sign before the word. For example, -asset means you won't return any resources that contain the word "asset".

Wildcard search

Perform a wildcard search by including an asterisk (*) in place of a missing word or words. This is most usefully used in combination with the exact phrase search, e.g. "share * agreement" will find both "share purchase agreement" and "share sale agreement", among others.

Search for a word in a title

Find resources with a particular word in the title by entering "intitle:" before the word. For example "intitle:securitization tax" will find results with securitization in the title and tax anywhere in the article. Note that you must not put a spacee between "intitle:" and the following word.

Search for all the terms in the title

Search for all terms in the title by entering "allintitle:" before the words. For example, "allintitle:companies bill" will return only documents that have both companies and bill in the title. Note that you must not put a space between "allintitle:" and the following word.

Keyword search within a resource

Once you are in a Practical Law resource, you can use the keyword search on the bottom right-hand side of the page to quickly find what you are loo king for.

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