Articles filed under Resources

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.

10humanrightscases

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.

USA legal news sources

Since many of the legal issues of today were already active, yesterday, in the USA, it is often worth keeping up to date with USA legal news sources. Here are some of the key ones.

Europa is the official website of the European Union and the starting place for all information on the Institutions of Europe. It is a complex site, attempting to provide information for many different types of viewer – from children, students and adult viewers through to politicians and lawyers looking for the “nitty gritty” of the EU. Indeed, this is probably one of the most complex sites in the world, with so many types of viewer, so many institutions and so many languages – anyone else’s design problems pale into insignificance!

After choosing your language from the 24 available, you are presented with information on how the EU works (countries, facts and figures, institutions), Your Life in the EU, EU by Topic (agriculture, trade, economic affairs etc), Doing Business, and EU Law. The section on EU Law describes how decisions are made, the Application of EU Law, Treaties, Legislation and Case Law. Although headed “EU Law”, this section is designed for citizens rather than lawyers as such. For the full legal complexity of the European Union, see the Eur-Lex site, described later, below.

When we use e-resources in the law, there has been a tendency to value the paid resources over the free ones. Sometimes the free resources are not seen as truly comprehensive collections, whereas the purchased ones are; sometimes the linking and cross referencing is more sophisticated in the commercial databases; often the value-added editorial content of headnotes prepared by legal editors has been enough to justify the outlay for these reports and legislation online.

A recent example of providing the depth of functionality one would expect from a purchased resource is provided by the new version of Eur-Lex, which offers a set of legislative and case law resources that are core for many lawyers in the EU and beyond.

This is the second in our series on independent publishers providing law update services and their views on BAILII and legislation.gov.uk. In the last issue we covered CaseCheck, Law Brief Publishing and Daniel Barnett.

In the May/June Newsletter I considered some of the best websites for lawyers of general applicability. Here, I am covering resources focused upon specific practice areas.

Criminal law

It would be impossible to write any review of the legal web for criminal lawyers without referring to the truly excellent CrimeLine.