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Articles filed under Resources

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The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has as its central remit the promotion and facilitation of research and scholarship at an advanced level across the whole field of law. Though based in central London and attached to the University of London, IALS draws its primary membership from academic researchers and postgraduate research students from other institutions throughout the UK, and provides services to researchers in the wider legal community.

IALS has been involved in innovative online legal information delivery for many years, developing and promoting public access to materials on the web through the creation of a wide range of e-resources, digitisation and collaborative ventures. The arm of the Institute actively involved in this field has recently been renamed IALS Digital. Through the ongoing work of IALS Digital, the Institute is committed to extending the reach of digital provision of legal information by delivering specialist legal research tools and niche web services – maximising access to key or hard-to-find information to facilitate legal research, public understanding, and the promotion of justice and the rule of law.

Some of IALS Digital’s recent initiatives are highlighted below, along with several of its more well-established research tools. All of the resources are freely available at ials.sas.ac.uk/digital.

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A good way of keeping up to date with recent developments in law – and to collect quite a bit of free content – is to sign up for email alerts. But take care to choose wisely, lest your inbox be flooded with updates you don’t have time to read. It’s best to choose a few that deal with key areas of interest, and make sure you at least skim through them when they arrive, or transfer them to an “updates” folder in your email app so you can review them when you have time.

You can sign up to email alerts from official sources like government departments or NGOs, or from legal publishers anxious to share summary content in the hope you will subscribe to their full services. Nothing wrong with that; and the free content from solicitors’ firms or barristers’ chambers has a commercial justification too: they want to showcase their expertise in their areas of specialism. In addition, a number of legal blogs provide case comments and current awareness content.

The Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has launched OBserving Law, the IALS Open Book Service for Law, being developed as part of the School of Advanced Study’s Humanities Digital Library open access book publishing initiative.

OBserving Law aims to provide a new open access monograph publishing service for legal researchers. Titles will be made freely available in PDF and epub formats, with single volume and separate chapter versions. A print on demand paperback purchase option will be offered as standard with a hardback choice for libraries and others that may prefer that format.

This is a personal selection of blogs which I feel are of use to lawyers, derived from my 100 Best Legal Blogs page where links to all the blogs will be found.

See also Nick Holmes’ Lawfinder: Blogs which catalogues over 400 law blogs with associated feeds; and, as to what makes a good blog, see his article “Writing out loud” in Legal Web Watch February 2016.

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At a time when some other publishers are struggling to make the case for their law reports, ICLR is embarking on a massive expansion of its coverage. In a brace of new developments for 2016, we have begun publishing unreported transcripts on ICLR Online, and we will be expanding the leading general series, the Weekly Law Reports (WLR) with hundreds of extra cases each year.

The fact that these extra reports will appear only online has caused anxiety for some, particularly law librarians, and an explanation of our rationale may be helpful.

Here I look at the most important resources for free current awareness legal resources online, based on my web page www.venables.co.uk/aware.htm.

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UK Human Rights Blog arrived on the scene in 2010, when Adam Wagner of 1 Crown Office Row took over Chambers’ longstanding Human Rights Update website. He turned it into an interactive news-based platform and broadened not only its readership but also the range of contributors. It rapidly engaged a wide following, from law students and other legal practitioners, to journalists and editors and members of public alike.

Here is a selection of some of the most important resources for free case law online drawn from my web page www.venables.co.uk/caselaw.htm.

Following is a selection of some of the most important library resources available to lawyers in the UK. These resources are drawn from my “Legal Sites and resources for Lawyers” section at www.venables.co.uk/sitesh.htm#journals and all links are available there. Note that descriptions of free case law resources and current awareness resources are not included in this article but can be found separately on my site at www.venables.co.uk/caselaw.htm and www.venables.co.uk/aware.htm as well as information on legal publishers at www.venables.co.uk/publish.htm.

Law is a complicated subject and its effect on people’s lives can be hard to explain. But in certain areas the traditional media, particularly at the tabloid end of the spectrum, are notoriously prone to bias and misrepresentation.

Three areas of law where this is particularly noticeable are family, crime and human rights.

In all three areas, lawyers who are fed up of seeing cases misrepresented in the press have got together to provide a solution: websites which aim to clarify the issues, dispel the myths and help the general reader to understand what is really going on.

The UK’s first specialist employment law website – emplaw online – has been re-launched in January 2015 to provide authoritative, independent and up-to-date information to lawyers, advisors, HR professionals and anyone keen to stay on top of employment law.

Constantia Associates, of which Ian Perry and I are the major shareholders, bought the website after it went into liquidation in 2014 due to dated content and technical problems. I am an employment solicitor and former Head of Employment Policy and Freelance Legal Affairs for the BBC, while Ian is an IT programme manager, traditionally working with national and international organisations.

Between purchase and relaunch, we have completely updated and refocused the site both from a content and technology point of view.

The site now provides thousands of pages of comprehensive and up to date information, covering all aspects of employment law, from age discrimination to unfair dismissal, TUPE and data protection, as well as the latest employment law developments and cases. All content is provided by leading practicing solicitors and barristers.

The use of Drupal means the new site is much easier to update and an improved search engine function allows subscribers to easily find the information they need. There is a free version and an enhanced subscription service.

Since re-launch the site’s subscriber base has been growing steadily and includes government departments, judges and advisory agencies; employment lawyers in private practice; commercial businesses; unions and employer and employee advisory organisations.

The resources described in this article are mainly world-wide collections prepared by governmental, academic and other non-profit bodies. This type of resource is a good place to start if you are looking for something from a less well known country.