News from Legislation.gov.uk, Bloomsbury Law and ICLR.
Legislation.gov.uk, managed by The National Archives, provides an essential – and free – public service. Millions of people use it to find and access the legislation they need, lawyers and non-lawyers alike.
Quick, easy to navigate and use, with an advanced timeline feature so you can see how legislation has changed, there has been one major snag with legislation.gov.uk: the revised versions of the legislation, which shows how it has been amended, is out of date. The National Archives has been working towards meeting the target that all of the primary legislation on legislation.gov.uk is up-to-date by the end of 2015.
Big data is big news. An estimated 90 per cent of the world’s data was created in the last two years (see www.ibm.com/big-data) and insights gleaned from large datasets are increasingly driving business innovation and economic growth.
What can the big data revolution do for law? One of the big data challenges for law is the statute book. It’s simply too big and it changes too quickly for any one person to comprehend. The big data revolution provides us with a real opportunity to understand how the statute book works, and to use those insights to deliver better law.What can the big data revolution do for law? One of the big data challenges for law is the statute book. It’s simply too big and it changes too quickly for any one person to comprehend. The big data revolution provides us with a real opportunity to understand how the statute book works, and to use those insights to deliver better law.
BAILII has been providing free access to case law for 14 years and legislation.gov.uk provides advanced (if not yet up to date) open access to all in force legislation. These resources have changed the ground rules for law publishing: smaller publishers are relying on them, adding their own value and developing new update services. We asked several independent publishers to describe their services and comment on the free primary sources.
Despite its sophistication, legislation.gov.uk fails to provide an adequate service inasmuch as its consolidation of primary legislation is only complete up to 2002 and secondary legislation is not consolidated at all. So, if you’re after an up to date statement of the law, you often won’t find it.
The launch in July 2010 of legislation.gov.uk to little fanfare (there was no marketing budget!) was a significant landmark achievement, both in terms of official legislation and of the whole Berners Lee inspired concept in Government of “linked data” and the semantic web. And, like many aspects of public sector information, it raises enormous issues about data quality, our expectations and priorities.
Since late July we have a shiny new official home of UK legislation at legislation.gov.uk. In due course this will completely replace the two current legislation services at OPSI and the Statute Law Database.
Since 2005 there have been many improvements in the OPSI legislation site, including a new page design, PDF versions of primary legislation back to 1800, directly addressable content fragments (specific sections and sub-sections can be directly referenced), improved search, RSS feeds for new legislation and for user-generated searches, and the incorporation of revised pre-1988 statutes from the SLD.
It is now 4 months since the Statute Law Database was released to the public. In the first couple of weeks following the launch there was a flurry of comment and criticism; but since then, near silence. Is everyone ecstatically happy with it, reserving their judgment or quietly cursing its shortcomings?
Significant developments in 2006 covered in this article include the Statute Law Database, growth and a new look for BAILII, a redesign of the Europa site, an OFT report on public sector information and substantial growth and development of blogs and wikis. Predictions for 2007 focus largely on so-called “social software”.