Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, February 25, 2008

Profile of the free access to law movement

Graham Greenleaf, Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement, Globalex, February 2008.  (Thanks to Michel-Adrien Sheppard.)  Part I is a detailed overview of the movement and Part II reviews 23 specific OA Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from around the world.  Greenleaf is a law professor at the University of New South Wales and Co-Director of AustLII.  Excerpt:

...The Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) is a loose affiliation of legal information institutes. It meets annually if possible during the ‘Law via Internet’ Conference, and by email between Conferences. The first sustained attempt to build some form of international network took place at the at the LII Workshop on Emerging Global Public Legal Information Standards hosted by the LII (Cornell) in July 2000, involving participants from the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The expression ‘WorldLII’ was first used there to describe a collaborative LII portal. The FALM was then formed at the 2002 ‘Law via Internet’ Conference in Montreal, and adopted the Declaration on Free Access to Law (Montreal, 2002), sometimes called the ‘Montreal Declaration’. The Declaration has had some amendments since then.  Membership of the FALM is by invitation, with members nominating new candidates, and consensus required. The membership criteria are not fixed but involve adherence to, and support of, the Declaration and activities similar to (but not necessarily identical with) a LII. All 23 LIIs listed in the gazetteer following are members of the FALM, except ZamLII (invited, but no reply). At the 2007 meeting in Montreal, initial steps were taken to turn the ‘Movement’ into a more formally constituted ‘Association’ (FALA), but these have not yet been finalised due some LIIs needing to refer the question back to management boards and the like. A website for the FALM is under construction....