The Law Library has purchased access to two new e-resources: Chancery Law Chronicles, which provides access to Bangladesh’s case law and Lexis Nexis South Africa, which provides access to legal materials from Ghana. Chancery Law Chronicles is the first online database to provide access to Bangladeshi case law. It currently offers access to Appellate and High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh since 1972. In addition to case law, it also includes several dictionaries related to legal practice and some statutes, though statutes are not yet searchable. The database remains under development with plans to offer access to additional legal documents in the future. Our other new e-resource, Lexis Nexis South Africa, is a valuable resource for students interested in researching the Ghana legal system. It provides access to law reports from Ghana as well as the constitution and laws of the country. To access either of these databases, ask a librarian at the reference desk for assistance during normal reference hours.
On November 26, 2010, the Supreme People’s Court of China promulgated a new provision stating that the Court would release selected cases as part of a new category of “guiding cases”. It was intended that other courts would refer to these “guiding cases” when deciding similarly situated cases. While not exactly equivalent to binding precedent, many legal practitioners who follow Chinese law believe that these cases will be given similar weight in future cases.
Last week, Stanford Law School initiated a program called the China Guiding Cases Project to collect and provide online access to both Chinese-language and English-language versions of these cases promptly after their release. The goal of the project according to its website is “to advance knowledge and understanding of Chinese law and to enable judges and legal experts both inside and outside of China to contribute to the evolution of Chinese case law through ongoing dialogue on “guiding cases” (指导性案例) released by China’s Supreme People’s Court”. Currently the site provides access to the four guiding cases that have been released to date in both Chinese and English as well as Chinese and English versions of the original November 26, 2010 provision that announced the new concept of “guiding cases”. The project’s Why Guiding Cases Matter page also includes quotes from legal experts and judges on the importance of these “guiding cases” and the site will include additional expert commentary in the future. As new “guiding cases” are released, they will also be added to the website and there are plans in place to offer “Question and Answer” sessions in the future as well. The China Guiding Cases Project will be an important resource for anyone interested in keeping up with future developments in this new concept in Chinese law.
The law school recently purchased access to two new foreign law e-resources, Juta Law and Hukuk Türk. Juta Law covers both South Africa and Zimbabwe. For South African legal research, it includes the country’s Law Reports from 1947 to the present and Appellate Division Reports from 1910 to the present and also offers access to statutes and regulations. For Zimbabwe, it includes access to both case law and statutes. Hukuk Türk is a Turkish legal database with a range of legal resources including annotated case law, statutes, regulations, and decrees. In addition to these primary resources, it also provides access to an extensive legal bibliography of both books and articles from 1930 to 2000 (with additional items published more recently being added all the time) as well as Turkish legal news and a legal dictionary. All resources are provided in the original Turkish. Both of these resources can be accessed both on and off campus by current law school affiliates.
Social media has been taking the world by storm for a number of years, but not all governments have been quick to embrace it. Iceland, however, has been responsive to the opportunities that social media can offer, particularly as they write a new constitution. To foster public engagement as the new constitution is drafted, Iceland’s government has already taken steps to include the citizenry in the process by hosting a forum of 1,000 randomly chosen Icelanders, who offered their views on the new constitution. But, in an effort to be even more inclusive, the government has decided to make use of all the openness that social media and the internet can offer. To facilitate the process of crowdsourcing the new constitution, the government has created a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Flickr photostream and a YouTube channel to allow open communication between the government and the citizenry. The public is encouraged to participate in each step of the process. And, as a bonus, those of us outside Iceland can also follow the process online!
A draft of the constitution is expected to be available in July and will then be presented to the citizens through a referendum. Check out Iceland’s web presence and the media attention they have been getting during this process, including coverage in The Guardian, The Washington Post and USA Today.
Interested in finding out the latest news in Lithuania? Or are you more interested in seeing a selection of online newspapers from Iceland? Either way, Newspaper Map can help.
Newspaper Map is a website that offers access to over 10,000 online newspapers from around the world. Newspapers are shown as pins on a map of the world representing where they are published. Users can click on any pin to get information on a newspaper, including title, publication location, language, and thumbnail of the website. The service also translates each newspaper into a host of languages with a single click using Google Translate and makes it easy to share newspapers using Facebook or another social media applications. The website is always being updated and users can even contribute corrections or information about additional newspapers on the organization’s website.
In case all of this isn’t impressive enough, the website also offers search functionality and access to a selection of historical newspapers as well. And, they are currently rolling out a Beta version of their mobile application.
Judgmental is a new website that aims to make UK case law more accessible by offering it free online and in a format that can be indexed by search engines, including Google. Currently, the website includes cases from a number of UK courts and from two European courts, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Communities, and coverage varies depending on the court. But, the number of cases available and the periods of coverage will likely increase in the future. For more information, you can also follow the creators on Twitter: @Judgmentals.
A recent press release announced:
“Proceedings of the Supreme Court . . . can now be watched live over the internet, in a significant development for the transparency and accessibility of the highest court in the land.”
“[Now] legal professionals, students and members of the public interested in the work of the Supreme Court do not have to travel . . . to see proceedings.”
Amazed? Okay, the ellipses replace “of the United Kingdom” and “to London,” but still, especially to an American, it is pretty big news. Live streaming of the UK Supreme Court’s hearings and judgments began on May 16, via Sky News.
According to the press notice, the Sky News site provides links to the Supreme Court’s case summaries for those being webcast. Check the Court’s Sittings Page to plan your UKSC viewing, being mindful of the 5 hour time difference.
UK colleagues recommend the UKSC Blog for excellent coverage of the Court and upcoming cases.
For commentary on this development, read Max Atkinson’s Blog (“The case for banning television from courts fell apart years ago”).
On March 16, 2011, Lord Neuberger presented the Judicial Studies Board Annual Lecture, entitled “Open Justice Unbound? It makes provocative reading for citizens of this New World nation.
A tip of the tricorne to The BIALL Blog.
Last November, the Prime Minister of the UK commissioned a review of the country’s intellectual property laws with a particular eye towards modernizing them in ways that would encourage growth and innovation in the internet age. This week, Professor Ian Hargreaves released his 123 page report detailing both the current issues with intellectual property law in the UK and his recommendations for change. (The full text of the report is available on the Independent Review of IP and Growth website.) Of note, the Report recommends creating a Digital Copyright Exchange to make it easier to clear copyrighted works and updating existing laws and “format shifting,” but does not advocate the adoption of the concept of “fair use” of copyrighted materials as is found in the US. The Labour Party has already voiced its support for implementing the Report’s recommendations.
Researching recent events in the Middle East? There are two new archives to consult. Blogs, news sites, and social media including videos, tweets, etc. have been selected by the Library of Congress, the Biliotheque Nationale de France, Stanford University, and the British Library, and crawled by Archive-It.
This collection consists of websites documenting the revolution in Tunisia in 2011. The sites are primarily in French and Arabic with some in English.
This collection documents the events in Northern Africa and the Middle East in 2011 after the Tunisian uprising. Content includes blogs, social media and news sites about Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and other African countries. These sites contain content in Arabic, English, and French.