Articles filed under Resources

Delia Venables’ long-standing and, many would say, iconic Legal Resources website has been relaunched at www.venables.co.uk. First published in 1995 when the legal web was in its infancy, it has grown continually in scope and size and now contains several hundred pages of listings, describing tens of thousands of websites. It remains one of the most useful legal portal sites on the web for the UK and maintains very high authority and trust rankings.

This new incarnation of Venables Legal Resources is published and managed by infolaw, with me at the helm. As long-time publishing partners, Delia and I have collaborated on our respective websites since 1995 and jointly edited the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers and the Internet for Lawyers CPD service for barristers and solicitors for over 13 years.

A snapshot of the type of content provided by the Newsletter in its early days is reproduced below from an old page on Delia’s site, retrieved courtesy of the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine. It is notable that the range of topics covered is similar to today’s mix. The main difference is that the internet was all very new back then and there was more of a focus on new sites. Delia’s Newsletter served as an essential guide to the emerging wonders of the (legal) web.

The principal types of online law sources in the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

  • legislative material published by the State;
  • legal publishers’ materials pitched at the legal professions, subject to subscription;
  • general citizens’ rights and business information;
  • information and guides published by various statutory bodies on their activities;
  • a number of legal blogs on particular topics; and
  • articles on legal practitioners’ websites.

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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.