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CJS 208: Criminal Law (Zywiec): Navigating Westlaw

Social Sciences Librarian

Grace Allbaugh's picture
Grace Allbaugh
Office: Milner 415
Phone: (309) 438-5313

Library Office Hours: By Appointment (see "Book Appointment" button above)

Walk-In Office Hours:
Thursdays, 2:30-4:30, Schroeder Hall 432
(309) 438-5313

Law Librarian

Chad Kahl's picture
Chad Kahl
Office: Milner 311d
(309) 438-3454
Subjects:Law, Legal Studies

Reading Statute Citations

Illinois Statutes are published in a document called, "Illinois Compiled Statutes," (shortened to ILCS). Those who compile this list organize statutes by topic, and each topic is put into a chapter. Within each chapter, there are different acts, which specify subtopics within the chapter. Each section is broken down into different sections, containing individual statutes.

So, for example, the statute 750 ILCS 5/212 can be read as:

  • Chapter 750 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, which discusses issues regarding families
  • Act 5, which discusses the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
  • Section 212, which deals with Prohibited Marriages.

Below is a visual example of how to read statutes:

WestlawNext - Statutes

This page is going to show you how to find statutes for your class using Westlaw. You can get to the database by clicking here. If you are attempting to log into Westlaw from an off-campus computer, you may need to go through the Library Homepage, rather than just clicking the link above. To find Westlaw through Milner, click the "Databases" tab in the Milner search box, and search for Westlaw.

Once you get to the homepage for Westlaw Next, click the Statutes & Court Rules link.




Next, click the state for which the statute was written (In this case, Illinois).




Then, on the right side of the screen, there is a list of links called, Tools & Resources. Click the first link, which is called, Illinois Statutes Find Template.




Type the statute that you're looking for into the boxes. Then, click GO




The statute should now come up. If there is a flag located on the page, it indicates that somewhere in the legislative or judicial process it was decided that changes will most likely need to be made to this statute. In the example below, a court case has called the validity of the statute has been called into question, and may be eliminated or amended. There is typically a link to other files associated with the changes being proposed about a particular statute on the same line as the flag itself (see below).

Legal Citations

This will walk you through how to find a court case when you have the legal citation.

First, go to Westlaw

Next, click the "Cases" link in the Browse box.

This opens the Cases page. Copy and paste your citation into the search bar at the top of the screen. Make sure that the "cases" tab is selected, rather than "all content." You can then click the "search" button.

This should take you to the page for that unique case.