Computer Based Legal Research for IBL students

Course Description: 

This course consists of one session of presentation combined with on hand practise in computer labs. The aim of the session is to teach students how to conduct a research online, within a reasonable time frame. During this course, the students will learn how to distinguish reliable and authoritative sources of information from the multitude of available online sources and also which are the most relevant official sources of information for their respective fields of legal interest.  The class will focus on the most useful online sources in the field of International Business Law such as   UNCITRAL, UNIDROIT, ICC, ECJ and more general ones such as Westlaw, Lexis Nexis, Heinonline, Jstor, SSRN and others.

The course has the following objectives:

- students should become aware of the existence of legal research tools, but being given a list of all databases that might be useful for legal research

- students should understand the purpose and limitations of each legal research tool and the importance of legal research in general

- students should learn how to use these online tools and conduct efficient and comprehensive legal research

- students should learn how to retrieve, print and save the results of their research in the format desired

Learning Outcomes: 

Core Learning Area

Learning Outcome (or Educational Objective)

Methods used for assessing learning


Interpersonal Communication Skills


Mastering the concepts and terminology specific to legal research.

  1. The instructor will describe all the steps and procedures for legal research, making sure students get familiar with and understand the terminology.


  1. Students are encouraged to ask questions and make comments to exercise their oral communication skills. 




Technology Skills


Students are expected to be able to find themselves any relevant statutes/laws, case law and scholarly materials whenever required or needed, throughout their coursework at CEU.


1. In class, students have to go through all the legal databases together with the instructor, being given assistance whenever necessary. They are taught how to use shortcuts and conduct effective research using names, dates, subject, topic.

2. After class, students have to work on a research-assignment that tests their ability to conduct efficient legal research using the Internet, as per instructions.



Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity


Students are expected to become aware of the type of materials (case law, legislation, scholarly articles) contained by different legal research tools, depending on the legal system they are based on (mostly regarding case law from the United States).


1. Students are shown a variety of databases, specific to Europe, United States, as well as international, that can be accessed and used regardless of the jurisdiction.

2. Instructors highlight the context and systemic specifics of each database to offer a relevant outlook of each tool and facilitate their use when making research.




Critical Thinking



Students should be able to assess the adequacy of each legal research tool available for the type of materials they need.

Students should be able to retrieve the most useful articles and materials from the list of results following their search in the most time-efficient manner.  

1. When presenting each research tool, instructors are showing their advantages together with their limitations to allow students to make informed and relevant decisions on whether and how to use them.

2. When conducting research using each research tool, students are shown how to set up certain parameters and use connectors to narrow their results, as well as to check different indicators in order to decide whether a specific material is relevant for them or not (e.g. abstract, key words, dates).


Students are expected to submit an assignment in due time and obtain at least a 50% completion in order to pass the course. The assignment will be announced during the first course and will consist of a series of research exercises based om the research tools discussed in class.