Author archive

Daniel Hoadley

Daniel Hoadley, barrister, is Head of Marketing at the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales (iclr.co.uk). He blogs on design, literature, technology and some law at carrefax.com. Email Daniel.Hoadley@iclr.co.uk. Twitter @DanHLawReporter.

The most significant recent development at ICLR has been the launch, in March 2019, of our legal information lab, ICLR&D.

This was conceived as a space where ICLR, whose traditional role has been publishing legal information built around primary source materials such as case law and legislation, could experiment with case law data in fundamentally different ways. The launch of ICLR&D was to some extent itself a form of experiment. The results have been interesting.

Open access to case law in England and Wales is in a very poor state of health, both in terms of the amount of case law that is freely accessible to the public and in terms of the sustainability and development of the open case law apparatus in this jurisdiction.

It is true that the launch of BAILII in the early 2000s radically improved the public’s ability to access judgments and continues to provide a service of immense value. However, the simple fact is that nowhere near enough judgments from England and Wales’ superior courts are available on BAILII.

Efforts to increase public access to the decisions of judgments in this jurisdiction are being hampered by a range of systemic obstacles, including a general lack of awareness among judges, government, practitioners and commentators that a problem even exists, and a lack of understanding of how the judgment supply-chain in England and Wales works and why it is defective.