Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

OA to UK common law

Free law pioneer will publish vital precedents free for the first time, OUT-LAW News, March 20, 2008. (Thanks to Simon Chester.) See also the accompanying podcast.

A free law publication charity will publish the UK's 3,000 most important legal decisions freely for the first time by June. The project will involve publishing vital rulings, dating back to the nineteenth century, on which UK common law is based.

English law and Scots law are based on acts passed by Parliament and by decisions made by courts which other courts must follow, which is called common law. But many of the rulings which make up the body of common law across the UK are very old and only published by commercial law publishers.

BAILII (the British And Irish Legal Information Institute) has said, though, that it will publish nearly 3,000 of the most important rulings, as chosen by academics, for free by this summer. ...

"What we have now is various publishers and transcribers claiming copyright interest in the bulk of judgments that go back into the nineteenth century," said Ury.

To provide access to these documents BAILII founded the Open Law Project with support from academic computing funding body the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). ...