In October 2011 the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting launched the new ICLR Online service, for the first time publishing their own reports digitally: previously they had been available on CD and online only through third party publishers: Justis, LexisNexis and Westlaw.

ICLR Online includes all the reports published by ICLR for England and Wales since 1865 in each of the various reports series – The Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports, Industrial Cases Reports, Business Law Reports and Public and Third Sector Law Reports: over 77,000 case reports to date.

It also incorporates CitatorPlus – a database of information about the subject matter, history, judicial consideration and current status of over 83,000 cases, including not just cases reported by ICLR but also the All England Law Reports, Lloyd’s Law Reports, Criminal Appeal Reports, Local Government Reports, Road Traffic Reports and Tax Cases. References are linked wherever the reports are available within ICLR Online. CitatorPlus draws on all the data recorded since 1960 in the hard copy Consolidated Index to Leading Law Reports (the Red Index), as well as data on all ICLR’s reported cases between 1865 and 1959.

As one would expect there are simple and advanced ways to search for relevant reports. Users can navigate within reports using the toolbar links to catchwords, judgment, order etc, or by internal links to footnotes, paragraphs or individual judgments and external links to other case reports. Reports may also be viewed and printed as PDFs.

Whenever a report is viewed, the relevant CitatorPlus index card is displayed alongside, giving an overview of each case’s history, status and relevance.

Selected reports and CitatorPlus index cards may be added to a “briefcase” bundle. Reports stored in a bundle can be viewed together, or a PDF of the bundle can be opened, printed or saved to disk.

ICLR Online single user prices are from £245 for individual series, through £695 for the Law Reports and WLR, to £795 for the full suite of reports (all prices p.a. plus VAT). Chambers and firm licences are of course available and will work out substantially less per user.

ICLR have now withdrawn from their arrangement with Justis to publish the ICLR reports (though existing users will be serviced until their current subscription expires), but retains the licences to Westlaw (which includes all the ICLR reports series) and LexisNexis (which includes just The Law Reports).

The WLR Daily case summaries continue to be offered free (and they are also incorporated in the subscriber service). What’s lacking at present is an RSS feed.

ICLR regard their service as the “Rolls Royce” of the online law reports, offered at affordable prices. It certainly looks an attractive option for barristers in particular who perhaps have less need of the other materials offered by Westlaw and LexisNexis.

The service has been developed for ICLR by Catalysts using NXT4 software. This is a feature-rich publishing platform with a long provenance (from the Folio Views stable) though in 2012 its frames-based delivery feels decidedly retro.

ICLR have, imaginatively, co-opted BabyBarista to their cause. You can follow his ICLR-related exploits.

Nick Holmes is joint Editor of the Newsletter.

Email nickholmes@infolaw.co.uk.

BabyBarista cartoon image © Alex Williams (alex-williams.com).

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