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Search Help

  1. Choose what you would like to search for
  2. How should we search for your text?
  3. What types of documents are you interested in?
  4. How many results would you like to display?
  5. Do you want to search only for documents which are in-force?
  6. Do you want to search only in the currently selected category?
  7. Search Results
  8. Alternative Suggestions
  9. Viewing and sorting search results

Search

1. Choose what you would like to search for  undefined       

This section of the screen allows you to identify the information we will use to search for the document(s) you would like to view.

Search Text is a free text box

Add * at the end of any word to represent any number of additional characters. For example searching for 'vehicle*' will find both 'vehicle' and 'vehicles' or searching for 'legislat*' will find 'legislate', 'legislation', 'legislated', 'legislator' etc.

Punctuation will be ignored.
Short words such as 'the' and 'and' will be ignored.

Document Reference

If you know the document reference you would like to search for enter it here for example H3125, D1, C3001

If you want to display a range of documents rather than find a single document you can include a 'wildcard' in the document reference. '%' replaces any number of characters and '_' replaces one only.

For example:

If you search for document reference H31 then only one document will be returned.

If you search for H31% then any documents which starts with H31 will be returned - for example H31, H310, H3154, etc.

If you search for H31_ then any documents which starts with H31 and has one additional character will be returned - for example H31, H310, H315, etc. (but not H3154).  Anchor


2.  How should we search for your text?  undefined

If you wish to find both single and plural versions of a word consider using an * at the end of the word - for example searching for 'vehicle*' will find both 'vehicle' and 'vehicles'.

If you select 'The exact phrase appears in the document' the search will return exactly the words you have entered in exactly the same order. This option should only be used if you are sure of the exact phrase - for example you have the title of an Act or the exact name of an offence.

If you select 'All of the words appear in the document' common words will be ignored, and the search will display any document which contains all of the other words you have entered even if they are unrelated to each other. This option should be used whenever you do not know the exact phrase you are looking for.

If you select 'Any one or more of the words appear in the document' common words will be ignored. The search will display any document which contains ANY of the other words you have entered. This option is best used when you have a relatively unusual word and wish to search for alternatives


3. What types of documents are you interested in?   undefined

This section of the screen allows you to limit the types of document which are returned as a result of your search.

If you do not change the selection we will search all documents selected. If you wish to limit the documents which are returned you can select or un-select any of these document types.

D Document - Legal Topic 
is a document which contains the law or guidance plus PNLD notes
Examples: Section, Regulation, Article, Schedule, Rule, Home Office/MOJ Circular, Legal FAQ’s 

H Document - Offence Wording
is a document which contains the wordings, points to prove and penalty for any offence 

S Document - Legislative Source
is a document which contains a basic description of a piece of legislation plus a list of contents with links to Legal Topics, Offence Wordings and Case Law 

C Document – Case Law
is a case summary of relevant cases, highlighting pertinent points.

You can also click on 'select all' or 'clear all' at the end of the list to reset your selections.


4. How many results would you like to display?   undefined

This section of the screen allows you to choose how many documents will be displayed.

If you choose a low number the screen will be displayed more quickly. If you choose a higher number the screen will be displayed slightly more slowly but you will have more documents displayed on one screen from which you can make your selection.


5. Do you want to search for only documents which are in-force?  undefined

This section of the screen allows you to choose whether to display only current documents or whether future or previous documents should be displayed.

In force
Only documents which are currently valid will be displayed.

Not yet in force
Only documents which have a start date in the future will be displayed.

Repealed
Only documents which have an end date in the past will be displayed.

These cannot be relied on as a statement of the current position but may be useful for research or historical purposes

Any not in-force/repealed document which is viewed will display a large red warning banner to ensure that there is no confusion over its status.


6. Do you want to search in the currently selected category?  undefined

This section of the screen allows you to limit where in the system you search for your documents.

Most documents in the system are assigned to 'categories'. On the left hand side of the screen is a menu which consists of a list of categories. Clicking onto these menu items shows sub categories and, once a lower level category is chosen, the documents in that category are displayed and can be viewed.

In most cases when you use this search screen all categories will be searched and documents will be displayed regardless of which category they appear in. However, if you have navigated through the categories in the left hand menu but have not found what you wanted and then click on the Search button this selection will appear at the bottom of the search screen.

If you take no action the search will look across all categories as normal. However, if you know that the document you require must be in the category you have a selected, or in a sub category underneath that category then select the 'Search category name only' option. When the search is carried out the system will look only in that category and any sub-categories underneath it. This can be a helpful way to reduce the number of results if your original search is too wide.


7. Searching  undefined

When you click the Search button at either the top or bottom of the screen the search will be carried out according to the criteria you have entered.

If only one document meets your search criteria it will be displayed immediately.

If more than one document is found new sections will appear at the bottom of the screen. The search criteria you have entered will be hidden but can be redisplayed by clicking the plus sign ('+') at the top left of the screen.


8. Alternative Suggestions  undefined

Some words and phrases are often used incorrectly or we have been advised that people use specific words and do not find what they are looking for. We have tried to cater for this by holding a database of common search criteria and alternatives which may be more successful. If any of these are available they will be displayed at the top of your search results.

For example, if you search for 'roadway' and we know that most legislation would use the word 'highway', when the search is carried out any documents which do contain the word 'roadway' will be displayed but we will also display the word 'highway' at the top of the results as a blue, underlined clickable link. If the displayed search results do not contain the information you were looking for click on the underlined word and the search will be repeated using the suggested word, with all other criteria remaining unchanged.

Not all searches will have alternative suggestions. We will continue to build up this database using the feedback from our users, so any suggestions you have for inclusion would be welcome.


9. Search Results  undefined

The search results are initially displayed in order of relevance.  It is possible to change the order of the display of the search results by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the screen.

Alphabetically - will list the documents in alphabetical order of the document title

By Document Type - will list the documents in the following order:

S Document - Legislative title/content
D Document - Legal Topic
H Document - Offence Wording
C Document - Case Law

Within these types the documents will be in order of document ID

By Document ID - will list the documents in strict numerical order of document id

By Category - will split the documents into the different categories under which they are listed in the system

As well as the document id and title the first 30 words of the main information in the document is displayed to help you to determine whether a particular document is the one you are looking for.

It is possible to move through the search results by using the Next and Previous buttons. If you wish to return to the first page of results you can either use the Previous button to move back through the screens or click the Search button again, which will redisplay the search results from the start.