Resources provided by barristers

Many chambers provide useful resources on their web sites but most are a bit “occasional” in style. However, there are a few who have committed themselves to providing fully researched and managed ongoing resources which can be seen as a major free legal resource.

Garden Court Chambers have created a bank of specialist legal resources relevant to their practice areas. They have set up seven major headings: Civil Legal Resources, Crime Legal Resources, Community Care Legal Resources, Family Legal Resources, Housing Legal Resources, Immigration Legal Resources and Welfare Benefit Fraud Resources. Within each of these, they have set up around a dozen sub topics, for example, under Immigration Legal Resources, there are sections for Appeals & Judicial Review, Asylum & Refugee Law, Asylum Support (Community Care and Welfare Benefits), Deportation & Expulsion, and so on. They have then housed all of the resources (cases, relevant legislation and useful links) together under these headings. The site makes extensive use of the new Statute Law database, thus providing links to up-to-date versions of the legislation. The key reported cases cited in each section involving Garden Court Chambers make extensive use of BAILII. There are also links to the key official, government and European bodies relevant to each section as well as to Chambers’ current awareness bulletins on Employment Law, Housing Law and Immigration Law and other internal reports and materials.

One Crown Office Row provide the Human Rights Update. This is a database of around 1,000 reports and commentaries on human rights dating back to 1998 with a weekly update co-ordinated by Chambers Academic Rosalind English. The cases are taken from domestic courts and the Strasbourg court involving human rights points that demonstrate the impact of the European Convention on domestic law and also explores the practical impact of these cases for practitioners. This resource is made available free for all to use (you have to register on site but it is not too intrusive). There is a good search engine and it is possible to sign up for a weekly update by email. For less experienced users, it includes a practical guide to the Convention and the Act; what are “Incorporated Rights”, “Procedures and Remedies” and so on.

Current Awareness from the Inner Temple Library provides up-to-date information regarding new case law, changes in legislation and legal news, which Library Staff think will be of interest to lawyers practising in the UK. The content is selected and updated daily by information professionals from the Inner Temple Library in London with full links to the original source of the information. There are usually many entries on any one day. The site is constructed as a blog and makes full use of the powers built into blogging software with the archive of past posts; e.g. (for just “A”!) abortion, adoption, advertising, advocacy, age discrimination, agency, agricultural holdings, air passenger duty, airlines, alcohol abuse, animals, anonymity, appeals, arbitration, armed forces, artificial insemination, ASBOs, assault, assets recovery, assisted suicide, asylum and attorney general. You can subscribe with RSS and get alerts every day. You can also receive “normal” email alerts, follow the blog on Twitter, get the Widget or follow on Facebook.

11 KBW offer extensive case notes (often with full judgment available) of cases in which members have been involved, as well as seminar papers and other articles written by members of Chambers in the areas of employment law, public law and European and human rights law. These are kept well up to date. 11KBW also produce a blog called Panopticon 5RB provide over 300 case reports on the site covering Media and Defamation, Privacy and Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Sports Law, Intellectual Property and other areas. The case reports include very recent ones and in most cases, copies of the judgments are appended. The cases can be searched alphabetically, by date, or by subject area. You can also register on the site for email briefings with monthly round-ups of key issues and new cases covered on the site.

Religion Law UK created by barrister Neil Addison, provides practical information and relevant web links on the subject of Religion and the Law today. He covers the law relating to criminal and also civil situations where religion is involved and also has sections for case law relevant to religion, with links to the judgments if they are available. There are also reports and articles, a section on international declarations and a very comprehensive set of links to religious bodies under headings of Legal, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Eastern and General. He makes the distinction that the site contains information rather than comment but he also now writes a blog called Religion Law blog with comments on cases and religion law issues. Recent posts include “What do we mean by “A Secular Society”, “How do you solve a problem like Sharia?” and “What is a Jew?” – all major essays on the topics concerned.

The UK Supreme Court blog is a new blog from Matrix and the Litigation Department of Olswang LLP. The authors are solicitors and barristers specialising in litigation and with a particular interest in the work of the House of Lords and the UK Supreme Court. The introduction to the blog says “This blog is dedicated to the UK Supreme Court. The UK Supreme Court is the UK’s highest court; its judgments bind lower courts and thus shape the development of English Law. Since 1399, the Law Lords, the judges of the most senior court in the country, have sat within Parliament. From October 2009, however, they have moved to an independent court in the Middlesex Guildhall. To mark this historic development, this blog has been set up to provide commentary on the UK Supreme Court and its judgments.” There are frequent postings to this blog – often several a day on a variety of topics.

News bulletins from barristers

These are becoming a legal resource online in their own right. In most cases, they started as occasional news bulletins from individual barristers but some of these have developed to become scholarly and well edited legal resources originated by multiple barrister authors on particular legal areas. Four of these are:

Employment Law Mailing List from Daniel Barnett of 1 Temple Gardens. This has been running since 1999 and now has over 23,000 recipients. It provides breaking news in employment law matters and the email bulletins go out two or three times a week. There is an archive of past bulletins on the site. Daniel also offers web seminars from the site on age discrimination, and remedies in employment law.

Personal Injury Brief Update is a free email newsletter which gives a brief introduction to recent case law, news alerts and information of developments in the industry. This newsletter, which goes to over 13,000 people, is written by a team of barristers who specialise in personal injury.

Law Brief Update is a free email newsletter containing brief law reports from around 20 participating barristers on all major areas of law which goes out once a month.

Property Law Update comes from Gary Webber of 33 Bedford Row, together a panel of other legal property experts. Material is also available on the site. Parts of the site are free but there is a charge for some areas.

Delia Venables is joint editor of this Newsletter.