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JILT 2004 (2) - Graham Greenleaf, Andrew Mowbray and Philip Chung

A New Home Online for Commonwealth Law: A Proposal for a CommonLII

 

Professor Graham Greenleaf, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales
Graham@austlii.edu.au
and
Professor Andrew Mowbray, Faculty of Law, University of Technology
Andrew@law.uts.edu.au
and
Philip Chung, Executive Director, AustLII, and Lecturer in Law, University of Technology
philip@austlii.edu.au

 

The authors are the Co-Directors of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) and World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII). They would like to thank Madeleine Davis and Takao Hasuike, Research Officers at AustLII, who prepared the Tables in this paper. The first version of this paper was presented at the Commonwealth Legal Conference, Melbourne, 2003.The revised conference paper is to be published by Cavendish Publishing Ltd in a book of selected conference papers for the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. This article is a slightly revised version of that chapter, with changes to part 3.2 and Table4.

Abstract

Eminent jurists have called for the development of a genuinely international common law which is more of a ‘two way street’ than in the past. This paper examines the contribution that access to law via the Internet can make to realizing that goal.

The World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) is the largest free access source of legal information available on the Internet, providing access to over 400 databases of case law, legislation, treaties, law reform and law journals. This paper describes WorldLII's origins and operation as a cooperative venture of Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from many countries, and outlines the advantages of the system.

We argue that a key element of the philosophy of free access to law is that it is not sufficient for governments and Courts to publish essential legal information for free access only on their own web sites. Provision to other publishers (both LIIs and commercial publishers) is also necessary for sound public policy, and is more important than official self-publication. Such policies will facilitate both free access to law within a country, and the development of an international common law.

We survey the current state of free Internet access to legal materials in Commonwealth countries, and show that significant quantities of legal information are available for free access online only from a minority of Commonwealth countries. We show that the bulk of this information is already provided by WorldLII and its cooperating LIIs. Because the core content of WorldLII is drawn from Commonwealth countries and other common law jurisdictions, WorldLII is already providing the first steps toward a new online 'home' for Commonwealth law.

A central independent access point for more comprehensive online provision of Commonwealth law would be a significant step toward the creation of a genuinely international common law. French-speaking countries have already taken this step with the development of Droit Francophone, a LII for the francophone world. We conclude with a proposal to develop, at modest cost, a comprehensive English language portal for the law of Commonwealth countries, which we dub ‘CommonLII’. As an interim step toward CommonLII, we invite governments and Courts in Commonwealth countries to publish their legislation, case law, treaties, and law reform reports on an appropriate regional LII (where available), or on WorldLII.

Keywords:E-commerce, Top Level Domains (TLDs), Second Level Domains (SLDs), country code TLDs, Electronic contracts.


This is a refereed article published on: 30 November 2004.

Citation: Greenleaf, Mowbray, and Chung, 'A New Home Online for Commonwealth Law: A Proposal for a CommonLII’', 2004 (2) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2004_2/greenleafmowbrayandchung/>.


1. Introduction - Free Access to Law and an International Common Law

1.1 The Need for Free Access to 'Essential' Law - Commonwealth Wide

Why should we value free access to legal information? Most obviously, access to legal information supports the rule of law. People should not be governed by laws to which they do not have effective access. Businesses have much the same needs as individuals. From a national perspective, attraction to foreign investment is enhanced by free access to information about the operation of a country's legal system. Transparency of a country's legal system is one of the three legal and administrative requirements for WTO membership, and this is enhanced by free access to at least regulatory materials.

Free access to the laws of one's own country is an important support for the rule of law, and free access to proposed laws is an important support for democracy. Free access should at least apply to ‘essential’ legal information, in the sense of primary legal materials (legislation, case-law, treaties etc) and some secondary materials (interpretative) legal materials (law reform reports, travaux préparatoires, investigative commission reports etc). The test we suggest for what should be freely available is something like 'legal information produced by public bodies which have a duty to produce it and to make it public'. This is also referred to as ‘public legal information’ [1].

In the particular context of the nations that make up the Commonwealth, most of whom share the common law as a source of law (often in conjunction with sources from other legal traditions), free access to the law of one's own jurisdiction is not sufficient. Historically, decisions of United Kingdom courts have had and still have significant persuasive value in most Commonwealth jurisdictions, including those from which there is no longer any avenue of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council [2]. As Lord Cooke of Thorndon put it, 'There was a time when the ideal of uniform common law dominated by English decisions held sway' [3]. If a more genuinely international common law is to develop, then the judicial influences must be more of a two-way-street than they have been in the past. As Lord Cooke observed, although it has long been recognised that the common law in other countries is 'not necessarily the same as English common law', ‘emancipation does not mean abandonment of cooperation to mutual advantage. Common denominators may be usefully sought, as long as the process is not compelled from outside and the national ethos is allowed its own weight.’ [4]

One reason among many for the past dominant position of English judicial decisions in the development of the common law is probably the relative ease with which lawyers and judges in other Commonwealth countries could access British decisions, compared with the difficulty of finding decisions of Courts from numerous other Commonwealth countries. It was a 'hub and spokes' model of a print-based information network, with English Law Reports flowing out to the rest of the Commonwealth. Lord Cooke has suggested another reason when discussing progress toward 'a common law of the world' [5]:

‘First, interaction between national jurisdictions in the use of precedents, a form of cross-fertilisation. It may be illustrated by what is happening in England. On the whole the common law of England has evolved in a markedly insular way, and there are still many English lawyers who believe that English Judges are gifted beyond all others. But then they might think that English cricketers are gifted beyond all others, but for the evidence of test matches against other countries, comparable evidence being necessarily unavailable in any judicial arena. Insularity in legal development is now, though, becoming distinctly less noticeable. In Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) only two overseas cases were mentioned in the speeches, both from New York, Cardozo J duly honoured. Whereas the speech of Lord Goff of Chieveley in White v Jones (1995) cites authorities from, inter alia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Australia, Israel and New Zealand.’ (citations omitted)

In this paper the expression ‘international common law' is only used in this sense of 'interaction between national jurisdictions in the use of precedents', and does not encompass different notions such as lex mercatoria [6] or customary international law.

One potential of the Internet is that it can provide the 'level playing field' of access to legal information (for which Lord Justice Brooke rightly argues [7]), not only in terms of better access to British law, but also in terms of more equal access by Commonwealth judges and lawyers to decisions and law reform from all Commonwealth countries. Lord Cooke, referring to the potential role of the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong SAR as 'a pioneering bridge between western and eastern legal systems', adds as a 'crucial addendum' that 'Traffic over the bridge should not be one way'. His words are equally apposite to interaction between jurisdictions with the Commonwealth.

Writing in 1996, when the provision of legal information via Internet was still in its infancy, Lord Cooke considered [8] that:

‘It is obvious that today in the main Commonwealth common law countries there is a judicial practice, much more noticeable that in the past, of drawing on authorities from a wide range of jurisdictions: treating them, moreover, as of persuasive force according to what are seen as their intrinsic merits of reasoning rather than their national sources.’

Has the availability of legal information via the Internet, first noted by the English Courts in Bannister v SGB in 1996 [9], accelerated this process of reciprocal influence? Later in this paper we will provide some post-1996 evidence of the extent to which it has, and a discussion of how it might do so further in future.

The advent of widespread Internet access in the mid-1990s made available a relatively inexpensive and sophisticated means of access to information. For the first time, the prospect exists of effective popular access to at least 'essential' or ‘public’ law. A side effect of this ‘popular access’ (free Internet access to a country's own law by its own citizens) is that Judges, law reformers and scholars in other countries also have such access. Government agencies, Courts, NGOs, Universities, law firms, and others have created numerous web sites in most jurisdictions in the world as a result. However, the proliferation of legal web sites has not provided a satisfactory answer: their existence may not be known to users, and they are likely to have inconsistent means of both browsing and searching (if searching is even possible). The problem is of course exacerbated if you need to find the law from more than one jurisdiction. What solutions are possible?

1.2 Legal Information Institutes(LIIs)

One answer to these problems [10] has been the attempt to create comprehensive law sites for all the essential law from a jurisdiction, country, region or group of countries with a common linguistic and cultural tradition. There is an occasional governmental attempt to create such comprehensive sites [11], but the attempt has been made more often and more successfully by independent, usually University-based, Legal Information Institutes (LIIs).

We use the term 'Legal Information Institute' (LII) to refer to a provider of legal information that is independent of government, and provides free access on a non-profit basis to multiple sources of essential legal information [12], including both legislation and case law (or alternative sources of jurisprudence). Ideally, a LII should attempt to provide comprehensive coverage of at least the most important sources of essential legal information for the jurisdictions that it covers, and should allow simultaneous searches of all its databases (so that it is not a collection of isolated databases). Systems which approximate these criteria can reasonably be called 'LIIs'.

Examples of LIIs (in order of historical development) include Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII (Cornell) - 1993) for US federal law, the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII -1995) for Australian law, the British & Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII - 2000) for the jurisdictions of the UK and Ireland; the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII - 2000) for Canadian law; the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII - 2001) for thirteen island countries of the Pacific, the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII [13] - 2002) for Hong Kong (and potentially other parts of China), the Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII - 2003) for South Africa (and potentially other Southern African countries), and Droit Francophone (2003) for many French-speaking countries (particularly those from West Africa). Other LIIs are in formation in New Zealand (NZLII) and Burkina Faso (Juri Burkina). As detailed in the third part of this paper, all of these Legal Information Institutes, and a large number of other legal information providers in other countries, are now cooperating to provide the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII - <www.worldlii.org>).

There are also a number of similar independent systems which provide information satisfying the definition of a LII [14]. Examples include the Unidad de Documentación de Legislación y Jurisprudencia in Mexico [15] and (on a lesser scale) the Nigeria Law system [16].

In many jurisdictions there are comprehensive sites run by the government. In civil law countries none of these contain case law but may contain other forms of jurisprudence. These include systems in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Austria, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Romania [17].

Throughout the world there are numerous free Internet sources of case law [18], legislation [19] and other essential legal information, but ten years after the creation of the first LIIs it is still only a minority of jurisdictions around the world that have accepted the need to provide comprehensive free access to essential legal information, either through creation of government sites, or by providing the data to independent free access publishers such as LIIs.

The current state of free online access to law in Commonwealth countries is reviewed later in this paper.

1.3 Policies of the Free Access to Law Movement

Over the last few years an international ‘free access to law movement’ has started to emerge out of informal cooperation that has developed for more than a decade between its leading participants and institutions. This development has been centred around the University-based Legal Information Institutes (LIIs), but is not restricted to them, and is now expanding beyond them.

In summary, the free access to law movement has the following characteristics:

• It is based on independent national, regional LIIs from both developed and developing countries;

• It involves the provision of assistance from the more established LIIs to jurisdictions that would like to establish new LIIs or otherwise improve local free access to law;

• It is creating global legal research facilities by creating networks of national, regional, or specialised free-access legal research;

• It is articulating its goals through the Declaration on Free Access to Law; and

• It has encouraging research and technical assistance through an annual Meeting of LIIs and the ‘Law via Internet’ Conference.

The Declaration on Free Access to Law

In October 2002 the meeting of LIIs in Montreal at the 4th Law via Internet Conference, made the following declaration [20] as a joint statement of their philosophy of access to law. There were some further modifications of the Declaration at the Sydney meeting of LIIs in 2003 [21].

Legal information institutes of the world, meeting in Montreal, declare that:

• Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law;

• Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge;

• Independent non-profit organisations have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published.

Public legal information means legal information produced by public bodies that have a duty to produce law and make it public. It includes primary sources of law, such as legislation, case law and treaties, as well as various secondary (interpretative) public sources, such as reports on preparatory work and law reform, and resulting from boards of inquiry.

A legal information institute:

• Publishes via the internet public legal information originating from more than one public body;

• Provides free, full and anonymous public access to that information;

• Does not impede others from publishing public legal information; and

• Supports the objectives set out in this Declaration.

All legal information institutes are encouraged to participate in regional or global free access to law networks.

Therefore, the legal information institutes agree:

• To promote and support free access to public legal information throughout the world, principally via the Internet;

• To cooperate in order to achieve these goals and, in particular, to assist organisations in developing countries to achieve these goals, recognising the reciprocal advantages that all obtain from access to each other's law;

• To help each other and to support, within their means, other organisations that share these goals with respect to:

• Promotion, to governments and other organisations, of public policy conducive to the accessibility of public legal information;

• Technical assistance, advice and training;

• Development of open technical standards;

• Academic exchange of research results;

• To meet at least annually, and to invite other organisations who are legal information institutes to subscribe to this declaration and join those meetings, according to procedures to be established by the parties to this Declaration.

The essential elements of the Declaration can be summarised as:

• The demand that governments do not exercise any monopoly control over ‘public legal information’, and that they make it available to independent parties who wish to republish it. This is discussed further below.

• The agreement between legal information institutes to cooperate with each other.

• The agreement between legal information institutes to adhere to the principles of the Declaration.

The emphasis is on the support for free access. The Declaration does not require participation in any networks, but does encourage such participation.

1.4 Public Policies to Maximise Access to Law

The Declaration states:

Independent non-profit organisations have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published.

To amplify that policy, we might ask whether it is sufficient if governments provide free access through government-run websites? We have argued since 1995 (on behalf of AustLII and WorldLII) that this is not enough [22], and that official bodies should accept that they have seven obligations in the provision of essential legal information if they are to give optimal support to the rule of law and other values:

1. Provision in a completed form, including additional information best provided at source, such as the consolidation of legislation, and the addition of catchwords (index terms) or even summaries to cases.

2. Provision in an authoritative form, such as use of court-designated citations for cases and (eventually) use of digital signatures to authenticate the versions distributed.

3. Provision in the form best facilitating dissemination, which should always now mean in electronic form, should in most cases be possible by email or more sophisticated forms of data delivery, and should be possible in a form facilitating conversion.

4. Provision on a marginal-cost-recovery basis to anyone, so that governments do not attempt to profit from the sale of public legal information, thereby creating artificial barriers to access to law. 

5. Provision with no re-use restrictions or licence fees, subject only to such minimal restrictions as are necessary to preserve the integrity of published data [23].

6. Preservation of a copy in the care of the public authority, so that an archive of the data is preserved to enable greater competition whenever a new entrant wishes to publish the data, whether or not the public authority publishes the data itself.

7. Non-discriminatory recognition of citations, so that Court-designated citations are not removed from ‘reported’ cases, ending the privileged status of citations of 'official' reports [24].

A corollary of these propositions is that it is not sufficient for official bodies only to publish essential legal information for free access on their own web sites. Provision to other publishers (including both LIIs and commercial publishers) is also necessary for sound public policy, and is more important than official self-publication. Such dissemination is necessary to ensure that free-access is not second-rate access. The spirit of these AustLII/WorldLII public policy principles is now reflected in the Declaration on Free Access to Law, but the detailed elaboration of what ‘full and free access’ implies is also worth undertaking if the full implications of the free access to law movement are to be understood. These wide-ranging propositions cannot be explored fully in this paper.

A Hong Kong Example

A good example of a jurisdiction (common law and ex-Commonwealth) that satisfies most of these criteria to a high degree is the Hong Kong SAR. An illustration of these policies [25] is the 'Yes you may copy and link ...' policy on the BLIS legislation web site [26] which states in part in relation to the whole of the Hong Kong Ordinances and other legislation:

1. It is the policy of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [HKSAR] that the electronic publications of the laws of Hong Kong should be freely available to all persons.

2. Visitors to this web site are permitted to

a. download, print, make copies of and distribute HKSAR legislation on this site, and
b. include the HKSAR legislation in a textbook or other educational materials, whether in electronic or paper form.

Few governments are as explicit as the HKSAR in their policies concerning rights to republish free access legal information, but there are good examples in both practices and explicit policies in many parts of the world

2. The World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)

The World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) - <http://www.worldlii.org> - is a free, independent and non-profit global legal research facility developed collaboratively by a number of Legal Information Institutes (mainly University-based) and Law Faculties around the world. It was launched in November 2002, though a prototype version was available during the previous year [27].

2.1 How WorldLII Works

The name 'WorldLII' was used to describe the challenge of developing a global free access legal research facility at a meeting of parties interested in free legal information at the LII Workshop on Emerging Global Public Legal Information Standards [28] held at Cornell Law School in July 2000. Various possible models were discussed at the Cornell workshop, the most detailed of which was a distributed search system described by Tom Bruce [29]. The current implementation of WorldLII does not rely as much on distributed searches as Bruce's model, but instead uses a combination of distributed searches and regularly synchronised databases.

Collaborating Parties

WorldLII is principally a collaboration between existing LIIs, with AustLII taking the leading technical and organisational role in its initial implementation. However, WorldLII is also developing as a LII in its own right, and includes a significant collection of databases hosted only on WorldLII and not on another LII. These are described later.



Collaborating Parties Banner from the WorldLII Front Page

Technical Development and Hosting

WorldLII's user interface, the WorldLII Catalog and those databases hosted on WorldLII (both discussed below), are all located on WorldLII's server located at AustLII in Sydney, and the WorldLII implementation is by AustLII with technical assistance from each LII in the provision of its data. It has been designed with an appearance and functionality similar to most of the other LIIs collaborating in its operation, to assist user recognition and ease of use.

Funding and Support

Like all LIIs, WorldLII is a low-budget operation. The combined budget of AustLII and WorldLII for 2003 was A$1,200,000 (£400,000). This funding is provided at present principally by Australian sources, the largest of which (over 50%) is funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) for the development of Australian and international legal research infrastructure. AustLII/WorldLII has had a steadily rising 'stakeholder' funding base for the past ten years, and we are confident it will continue, but the extent of expansion of WorldLII will be affected significantly by the availability of additional international sources of funding.



WorldLII Front Page (Extract) – www.worldlii.org

2.2 WorldLII Databases: The Largest Online Collection of Commonwealth Law

Databases located on the following LIIs (described earlier) are accessible through WorldLII:

• Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) - http://www.austlii.org/

• British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) - http://www.bailii.org/

• Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) - http://www.canlii.org/

• Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII) - http://www.hklii.org/

• Legal Information Institute (Cornell) (LII (Cornell)) - http://www.law.cornell.edu/

• Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII) – http://www.paclii.org/

• Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII) – http://www.saflii.org/

• Droit Francophone - http://portail.droit.francophonie.org/

In addition, databases hosted on WorldLII (but not on any other LII) include the decisions of twenty international Courts and Tribunals (ICTs). Together with the decisions of five ICTs hosted on other LIIs (BAILII, SAFLII and Droit Francophone), these twenty-five sets of decisions make up WorldLII’s International Courts and Tribunals Project [30], the largest searchable set of ICT decisions available. Decisions of ICTs are at present the largest component of WorldLII’s own content. The ICT Project also illustrates how WorldLII is able to integrate the contents of its collaborating LIIs so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts:

There are significant collections of legislation from Cambodia and Timor-Leste, ‘least developed countries’ (LDCs) where WorldLII is undertaking projects to assist in the development of national legal information resources.

Abstracts of over 17,000 law journal articles in the Legal Scholarship Network (LSN) are also searchable via WorldLII, but are not hosted on WorldLII. LSN data on WorldLII forms a third category: high quality legal data obtained via a web spider.

WorldLII already provides access to over 400 databases (a 33% increase in the last year) from over 70 jurisdictions in 43 countries in 5 continents (particularly those from the common law tradition and the francophone civil law tradition), and from international organisations. It is already much larger than any other free-access Internet law facility. The current databases come from the following sources: (i) National databases hosted on collaborating LIIs: AustLII (134); BAILII (44); PacLII (84); CanLII (78), HKLII (14), the LII (Cornell) (3), SAFLII (5) and Droit Francophone (33); (ii) Databases hosted on WorldLII (32).

2.3 Cooperation Between LIIs - Decentralised Hosting

The approach that WorldLII and other LIIs take to the location of databases is that the preferable home for any database is the LII with which it has the greatest jurisdictional affinity (as is the case with some regional Courts and Tribunals) or alternatively a linguistic affinity where a LII with an appropriate linguistic basis exists. Where there is no appropriate ‘local’ or language-specific LII, or where the otherwise appropriate LII would prefer not to host the database at present due to reasons of resources or priorities, then the database can sensibly be hosted on WorldLII, at least on an interim basis. WorldLII is thus the logical host for databases of global scope (at least those in English), and the default host for any other databases required for the Project in the absence of another appropriate LII host. For example, databases in the International Courts and Tribunals Project are located on WorldLII, BAILII, Droit Francophone and SAFLII. Other LIIs may be involved in future. Subject to this decentralized approach, and to limitations of resources, we are willing to host on WorldLII significant databases made available to us by legislatures, Courts, law reform agencies and the like from jurisdictions where there is currently no other LII that can act as a host, particularly from Asian countries and from Commonwealth countries.

2.4 Facilitating a Commonwealth Jurisprudence in WorldLII

A number of aspects of WorldLII’s technical features are worth mentioning as they not only assist its general usefulness as a research tool, but can also be used to create a more coherent body of Commonwealth jurisprudence.

Search Options

The most obvious strength of WorldLII is that it already allows over 400 databases from 43 countries to be searched simultaneously, and this is in fact the default scope of searches. However, the most valuable search feature of WorldLII will often be that it allows narrower searches over particular types of materials, but across a wide range of jurisdictions. This is illustrated by the range of selections already provided.



An Extract from the WorldLII Search Options (Full Search Form)

Some of the search options that have been implemented are:

WordLII: All Databases [Default] - All cases, legislation and secondary materials from all jurisdictions.

WorldLII: All Legislation- All legislation from all Australian jurisdictions (10), 9 Canadian, six Pacific Island jurisdictions, Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste.

WorldLII: All Case Law - All courts and tribunals available, both national and international.

WorldLII: All National Highest Courts - including High Court of Australia; NZ Court of Appeal; Supreme Court of Canada; Privy Council; House of Lords; Supreme Court of Ireland; Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal; the highest Court of each of fifteen Pacific Island countries, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Court of Appeal of England and Wales; Scottish Court of Session; Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

WorlldLII: All International Courts and Tribunals – discussed earlier.

WorldLII: All Law Reform - Law reform databases from seven jurisdictions: Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand.

WorldLII: All Law Journals – Twenty law journals from five countries, plus the 17,000 law journal articles in the Legal Scholarship Network.

These options are important because they provide WorldLII with a logical structure within which to place databases which become available from jurisdictions which do not have a separate LII providing a 'home' for databases. We hope that these options will encourage leading Courts, Law Reform Commissions, Law Journals and the like to consider possible inclusion of their databases in WorldLII. We expect that some databases will be included in WorldLII's own databases only temporarily, and that WorldLII will act as an 'incubator' for the development of separately operating LIIs.Geographically-based search options will become particularly interesting when WorldLII expands to include databases from more than one LII or other source in a region. For example, the option ‘Asia: All databases’ gives a search over legal materials from Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste.Similarly, a search option can be created to only include decisions, legislation or law reform from Commonwealth countries, or from any particular groupings of Commonwealth countries where this would be useful.An interesting inclusion is that the Privy Council's decisions in WorldLII include appeals from so many geographically disparate regions. Those listed above are only from regions where we already have other databases, but when appropriate they can also be added to regional collections from the Caribbean and from the Indian subcontinent.Finally, users may choose their own combinations of the 400 databases accessible from WorldLII: 'customised' searches. It may also be valuable to provide for users a selection of the most obviously useful subject- specific customisations, such as 'All administrative review Tribunals' or 'All unfair competition tribunals' or 'All anti-discrimination tribunals'. In some cases such as the ‘Privacy & FOI Law Project’ [31] we have created a ready-made search option for these selections.

Court-Designated Citations in Commonwealth Countries

From January 1999 the High Court of Australia adopted a new method of 'Court-designated' citation of its decisions, a citation provided by the Court from the moment the decision was made available to the public [32]. That case is Parsons v The Queen [1999] HCA 1 - indicating that it is the first case published by the High Court in 1999. The High Court also adopted paragraph numbering of its decisions (sequential throughout all judgments in a decision), so that paragraph 95 of Parsons has the 'pinpoint citation' Parsons v The Queen [1999] HCA 1 at [95]. This method of citation is sometimes called 'vendor-neutral and medium-neutral', but we prefer the expression 'Court-designated' to indicate that it involves the Courts taking control of how their cases are cited.

Following the lead of the High Court and the Council of Chief Justices, almost all Australian Courts and Tribunals have now adopted the same method of citation, and have adopted an agreed set of Court designators (such as 'HCA'). It has been implemented on AustLII as the method of citing the decisions of the more than 70 Courts and Tribunals on that system, and is in use by other publishers as a method of parallel citation to their own 'publisher-specific' means of citation. The same citation method has been implemented for the decisions of the Courts of Pacific Island countries on PacLII, and the decisions on HKLII and SAFLII.

With the creation of BAILII in 2000, a similar method of citation and set of Court designators was used to identify the decisions of the Courts and Tribunals on that system [33]. The English Courts, assisted to a very large extent by the efforts of Lord Justice Brooke, quickly took up the challenge of adopting a method of Court-designated citations suitable for electronic publication. The same citation method was adopted as had been adopted by the Australian Courts, and trailed on BAILII, but with a number of progressive modifications to the Court designators used, as the preferences of the Courts became clear. These changes were then 'retro-fitted' to the BAILII databases. Since than, the English Courts have continued to make advances, as Lord Justice Brooke points out [34], by adopting paragraph numbering in their decisions, and through Practice Directions in 2001 [35] and 2002 [36] implementing and consolidating the new system. The first Practice Direction states:

‘The neutral citation will be the official number attributed to the judgment by the court and must always be used on at least one occasion when the judgment is cited in a later judgment. Once the judgment is reported, the neutral citation will appear in front of the familiar citation from the law report series. Thus: Smith v Jones [2001] EWCA Civ 10 at [30]; [2001] QB 124; [2001] 2 All ER 364, etc. The paragraph number must be the number allotted by the court in all future versions of the judgment.’

The second Practice Direction concludes ‘Although the judges cannot dictate the form in which law publishers reproduce the judgments of the court, this form of citation contains the official number given to each judgment which they hope will be reproduced wherever the judgment is republished, in addition to the reference given in any particular series of reports’. By these means, the English Courts have made it clear their intention that the Court-designated citation should not be used and not ignored, both by those who are citing cases before a Court, and by those who are re-publishing the Court's decision.

Illustrations are given below of how Courts in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are using these Court-designated citations to refer to decisions from other jurisdictions.

In Canada a very similar neutral citation method has been adopted, and is used on CanLII. For example, the third decision of the Supreme Court of Canada for 2003 has the citation '2003 SCC 3'. PacLII, HKLII, SAFLII and databases hosted on WorldLII also use the same citation system as AustLII and BAILII, but this method has not yet been adopted as an official citation by the Courts of those jurisdictions.Court-designated citations are therefore now in use in many jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, both officially and unofficially. This will make it easier to develop citation linkages between decisions of Courts in different Commonwealth jurisdictions, as explained below, facilitating a Commonwealth common law jurisprudence.

Cross-LII Hypertext Links to Cases and Legislation

The development plans for WorldLII include the creation of mark-up software which automates the creation of hypertext links where cases (or other documents) from one national jurisdiction cite case or legislation from another national system.

In WorldLII and its collaborating LIIs, cross-national hypertext links are only implemented to a limited extent as yet. For example, on WorldLII and BAILII in the database 'England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions', the decision Yasin Sepet and Erdem Bulbul v. Secretary of State for Home Department (UNHCR Intervening) [2001] EWCA Civ 681 [37] contains two automated hypertext links to Australian High Court decisions on WorldLII (and AustLII), as shown in the following extract (at para 88).




Extract from a UK Court Decision with Hypertext Links to Australian Cases

This example also shows a UK court citing an Australian decision by its Court-designated 'HCA' citation, rather than a publisher-designated citation. Because AustLII and BAILII identify all cases by their Court-designated citations, these links can be created automatically between and within national collections on WorldLII.

For examples of such cross-LII hypertext links on HKLII, the decision in Sin Hoi Chu & others v. The Director of Immigration [2002] HKCFA 3 [38] (10 January 2002) includes hypertext links to cases on BAILII (eg, at [90], R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Bajram Zeqiri [2001] EWCA Civ 607)), to legislation on BAILII (eg at [131], UK Education (Schools) Act 1997) and to cases on AustLII (eg at [323], to University of Wollongong v. Metwally (1984) 158 CLR 447).

Where Courts cite cases by use of publisher-designated citation, the task of recognising the location of cases on WorldLII from the citation is much more difficult, as it requires the development of comparative citation tables that equate the various publishers’ citations with the Court-designated citation, so that hypertext links to the decision on a LII can be created. This is a major development task for WorldLII and for national LIIs which is only now starting. Once implemented, such cross-LII links would embody the emergence of an international common law.

2.5 WorldLII Catalog: The Largest Online Index of Commonwealth Law

WorldLII also includes the WorldLII Catalog and a web-spider search facility for sites listed in the Catalog, covering law sites not on WorldLII ('WorldLII websearch'). It is probably the largest law catalog on the Internet [39], and is one of the very few web-spider-based law-specific search engines. The Catalog contains links to over 15,000 websites categorised under more than 5,000 categories with most sites indexed under multiple categories. The Catalog lists law-related websites for every country in the world from its 'Countries' page, but also groups countries into special groupings such as the Commonwealth.



WorldLII Catalog Front Page for the Commonwealth

The front page in the Catalog for the Commonwealth lists Commonwealth institutions, and also links to the 'Member Countries' page below which conveniently links to the indexes for each Commonwealth country. A search from the front page with the 'Only WorldLII Catalog >> Commonwealth' option checked will search law websites from all Commonwealth countries and institutions but not from other countries.



The Commonwealth Member Countries Page in the Catalog

For each Commonwealth country listed, there is a substantial index of legal information available, illustrated below by the entries for Nigeria.



Nigeria Front Page (Extract) in the WorldLII Catalog

As well as these specific catalog links, the Stored Search 'Search all World Law: Nigeria' finds 5788 web pages of legal material referring to Nigeria by use of WorldLII's Websearch facility. The Catalog can be used in this way to find large amounts of legal materials relevant to any Commonwealth country, no matter how small or with few websites of its own.

2.6 Systematic Global Legal Research Using WorldLII

WorldLII provides for the first time a working model for systematic global legal research over free Internet law resources. Such research involves the following five separate steps, each of which is now possible using WorldLII and its collaborating LIIs:

 

Research task

Implementation in WorldLII

1

Start search on the most relevant law site

Start with local LII (eg PacLII))

2

Expand search to cooperating standardised law sites

Repeat over WorldLII and collaborating LIIs

3

Expand search to non-standardised law sites by a law-specific web spider

Repeat over WorldLII Websearch facility

4

Expand search over general (non-law) search engine

Repeat over WorldLII’s ‘Law on Google’

5

Browse and search a global catalog of legal web sites to find sites the content of which cannot be searched from any central facility

Search/browse WorldLII Catalog for sites

This systematic approach to legal research is implemented in two different ways in WorldLII and its collaborating LIIs, outlined below: (i) invitations in search results to repeat searches over different collections; and (ii) the WorldLII Catalog interface which provides search options of different scope over different collections. A facility for such systematic research is valuable for the development of an international common law, as it is just as applicable to common -law-wide or Commonwealth-wide research as it is to global research, and can be adapted to that purpose.

Repeating Searches for Comprehensive Research

The presentation of search results for searches over the WorldLII Databases, WorldLII Catalog, or over some of the collaborating LIIs, all invite users to broaden their research by automatically repeating it over the other relevant systems. In addition, users are invited to repeat their search over Google, and their SINO search (from any of the systems) is translated into the most suitable search over Google.

Where a user starts research from a single LII (eg PacLII), search results appear headed by a message such as the following:

Repeat search over WorldLII Databases; WorldLII Websearch; Google

The user is therefore invited to broaden their research by repeating the search automatically over WorldLII Databases (represented by the bold lines in the diagram below). When the search is repeated over WorldLII Databases, the search results invite the user to repeat the search over the World Catalog. When the user repeats the search over World Catalog, the search results then invite them to repeat the search over Google (and translate the search into Google syntax). Similarly, anyone who commences research on the WorldLII Catalog is invited to repeat their search over WorldLII Databases (represented by the lighter lines in the diagram below). Both the WorldLII Databases and WorldLII Catalog searches invite a further search over Google.



A Systematic Research Path, Starting from a Single LII (In Bold)

Our aim is therefore to assist (and encourage) users to do comprehensive searches over a local LII, WorldLII Databases, WorldLII Catalog/Websearch and Google without having to re-key searches or learn different search commands for each system.

An Interface for Comprehensive Research

Inviting users to repeat searches is not as intuitive as an interface which provides search alternatives. It also does not so easily allow for searches of limited scope. We are attempting to solve this through the WorldLII Catalog interface, as shown below for the 'Legislation' page. Where equivalents to the fourth option 'Only WorldLII Legislation' are implemented, the user's context in browsing the catalog (eg 'Legislation') will determine the scope of the second and fourth options offered. So, for example, if the user is at the WorldLII Catalog page for all 'Law Reform' then the available options will include 'Only WorldLII Catalog - Law Reform' and 'Only WorldLII Databases Law Reform'.

This approach, when completed, will make it easy for WorldLII to provide an intuitive interface to all combinations of data that it wishes to provide which are of less than global scope, such as the Commonwealth.

2.7 Future Development of WorldLII

Although we have set out some of our development priorities for WorldLII in this paper, systems like WorldLII tend to develop something of a momentum of their own, depending on the wishes of data providers, the collaborative LIIs, users and funding organisations. Some desirable technical developments include:

• methods for faster inclusion of search results from fully distributed databases;

• development of case citation tables for all cases on all LIIs, and tools to utilise them;

• automation of cross-LII hypertext linking irrespective of the jurisdiction the case comes from and the citation used to identify the case;

• utilising the above development to enable 'global noteups' of cases;

• legislation citation standards which would assist automated linking to point-in-time legislation;

• 'global noteups' of legislation so that cases in any LII database are found whenever a noteup of a section of legislation is done (development has commenced);

• refinement of the methods of integrating the different types of searches available via WorldLII; and

• search engine improvements to provide the same functionality as SINO over non-European languages [40].

Work is proceeding on all of these potential improvements but depends on resources available. All of them are relevant to the contribution WorldLII can make to the development of a more global common law.

3. Commonwealth Law: How Much Free Access?

3.1 Legislation, Case Law and Law Reform – A Survey

To what extent do Commonwealth countries provide free access to their legal information via the Internet? The three tables following summarise the known online databases of legislation, case law, and law reform reports that are available for free access from Commonwealth countries. The tables are derived from the Commonwealth pages of the WorldLII Catalog [41], where details of the databases mentioned, and links to them, may be found. Due to the large number of countries involved, it is likely that we are unaware of some databases that should be included [42]. Only a limited attempt has been made here to summarise the comprehensiveness of the databases concerned, but databases are not included unless a significant number of Acts, cases, or reports are included in them. There are of course many hundreds of websites in Commonwealth countries with small useful sets of Acts or cases, and details of these may also be found in the WorldLII Catalog.

In relation to legislation, 24 of 56 Commonwealth countries have legislation collections online. The most comprehensive collections are from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. WorldLII (through its collaborating LIIs) is by far the largest single source of legislation, with legislation databases from 38 Commonwealth jurisdictions (15 countries) covering all Australian jurisdictions, most Canadian jurisdictions, most UK jurisdictions, most Pacific jurisdictions, South Africa, and in addition the historically related jurisdictions of Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland. Permission has also been given to WorldLII to add New Zealand legislation. Other than from countries represented in WordLII, the only significant collections of free-access legislation are from India, Singapore and Belize (though it is out of date). There are no significant free-access legislation collections available on the Internet from the remaining 32 Commonwealth countries.

Case law shows a similar pattern: 24 countries have significant online case law collections, but 32 countries do not. By far the largest single source of Commonwealth case law is WorldLII which through its cooperating LIIs and its own databases has 226 case law databases from Commonwealth jurisdictions (15 countries), many of these being databases containing thousands of decisions. The number of case law databases on WorldLII is increasing by 25% per annum. In addition, WorldLII now includes the INTERIGHTS [43] database of human rights decisions from almost all Commonwealth countries, and many decisions from International Courts and Tribunals [44] which affect the law of Commonwealth countries, as discussed earlier. Other than in countries already represented in WordLII, the only online free-access case law collections from Commonwealth countries are from India and Cyprus (in Greek). WorldLII's national and international case law is already a valuable tool to assist in the creation of a more international common law, but its value would be enhanced greatly by the addition of decisions of senior Courts in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and other parts of the Commonwealth not well represented as yet.

The situation with law reform online is rather different. There are extensive reports available online from 23 jurisdictions in 9 countries (plus a small number in other countries). Many countries do not have formal law reform bodies, so it is difficult to state how many Commonwealth countries' reports are 'missing'. WorldLII (via its collaborating LIIs) covers five jurisdictions in five Commonwealth countries: the Law Reform Commissions of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland, and the United Kingdom, plus the historically related jurisdictions of Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland. Outside these countries, there are major free-access online collections of law reform from Canada, India, Pakistan, Singapore and Tanzania. During 2004-05 the LIIs are attempting to expand significantly the scope of their law reform coverage.

The countries with significant legislation online are very similar to those with significant case law: 20 countries are on both lists (more than half in the Pacific Islands), leaving eight countries on one list only. If we add law reform reports to this consideration, two additional Commonwealth countries (Pakistan and Tanzania) have some significant online representation. This leaves 26 of 56 Commonwealth countries – just under half - with no significant online legal presence. Only six countries appear on all three lists of legislation, case law and law reform [45]. All of these except India are countries represented in WorldLII.

This survey supports one of the contentions of this paper: that WorldLII can be seen as a new 'home' for Commonwealth law, in the sense that it is already the largest single source of free-access law on the Internet for Commonwealth countries (and for the common law). WorldLII’s structure and policy allows for development toward being a more comprehensive instrument. This potential, and alternative ways it may be developed, is discussed in the concluding part of this paper.

3.2 Citation of Decisions by Other Commonwealth Courts - A Survey

Lord Cooke compared the citations in two important cases decided by UK Courts in 1932 and 1995, and detected 'distinctly less' insularity. Since then decisions have started to become available via Internet. In Table 4 'Citation of decisions of other Commonwealth Courts' we set out a similar analysis for the two most recent decisions of the most senior Courts in Commonwealth countries where free access decisions are available online. It treats the Privy Council as a separate jurisdiction rather than as a UK Court [46]. There are obvious limitations in this Table, so it is presented only as a very inadequate example of the type of analysis that needs to be done if we are to assess whether there is generally increased 'interaction between national jurisdictions in the use of precedents' (as Lord Cooke hoped) across the whole Commonwealth. Is the Internet producing the international 'level playing field' that Lord Justice Brooke hopes to see?

The obvious limitations of this Table are that it only includes a statistically insignificant two cases per jurisdiction, and it does not include details of non-Commonwealth cases cited. A distinction may also need to be made between civil and criminal matters.

Bearing in mind these limitations, the Table suggests that the decisions most frequently cited by Courts in other Commonwealth countries are those of Courts of the UK (78) [47], Canada (8), Australia (24), and New Zealand (6), plus the Privy Council (9), but decisions from 10 other countries are also cited. Decisions from the majority of countries involved some citation of cases from other Commonwealth countries. A table prepared for the Commonwealth Legal Conference fifteen months earlier showed a roughly similar result. A more comprehensive study could show quite a different result.

The Table also shows that quite a few of the overseas cases cited are able to be found on the various Legal Information Institutes comprising WorldLII, particularly BAILII, CanLII and AustLII, even though those systems only cover cases decided in recent years, and cases cited are often much older. In this sense, WorldLII is already becoming a 'home' for emerging Commonwealth jurisprudence.


Table 1: Commonwealth Free Access Legislation Collections Online

Key: HMSO = Her Majesty's Stationery Office; Brackets ( ) indicates number of different databases available

COUNTRY

LEGISLATION ONLINE

LOCATION

Australia

AustLII 22

Cth (4), ACT (4), NSW (2), NT (2), QLD (2), SA (2), TAS (2), VIC (2), WA (2)

AustLII/WorldLII

Others 52

Cth & Territories (30), ACT (2), NSW (6), NT (2), QLD (1), SA (2), TAS (2), VIC (4), WA (3)

Government sites

Bahamas

Lex Bahamas (2000-02: 53 docs)

Lex Bahamas

Bangladesh

Law Translation Project (1985-95: 163 docs)

Heidelberg University

Belize

Laws of Belize (1980-90: 563 docs)

Belize Legal Information Network

Canada

CanLII (26)

Federal (3), Alberta (2), Manitoba (2), New Brunswick (2), Newfoundland & Labrador (2), NW Territories (2), Nova Scotia (2), Nunavut (2), Ontario (2), Québec (2), Saskatchewan (2), Yukon (2), Constitutional Documents (1)

CanLII/WorldLII

Others (32)

Federal (2), Alberta (2), British Columbia (2), Manitoba (2), New Brunswick (2), Newfoundland & Labrador (3), NW Territories (2), Nova Scotia (2), Nunavut (2), Ontario (2), Prince Edward Island (1 ), Québec (3 ), Saskatchewan (2), Yukon (2), Constitutional Documents (3 )

Government sites

Cook Islands

Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

Fiji

Fiji Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

India

Laws (1860-2000: 131 docs)

Vakilno1.com

 

Maha Library (1838-2001: 612 docs)

Network Publishing Ltd

 

INCODIS (full set from1834)

Ministry of Law and Justice

Kiribati

Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

Lesotho

Government Bills and Acts (1967-2000: 124)

Lesotho Government

Nauru

Nauru Legislation (2)

(PacLII/WorldLII

New Zealand

Public Access to Legislation Project (full set of statutes and regs)

NZ Parlt. Counsel Office

(AustLII/WorldLII approved)

Nigeria

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990-2003: 75)

Nigeria Law

Niue

Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

Papua New Guinea

Legislation (2)

PacLII/WorldLII

Samoa

Samoa Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

Singapore

Singapore Statutes Online (full set)

A-Gs Chambers of Singapore

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

South Africa

Legislation (1993-2003: full set)

Legislation (37 docs)

S. Africa Government Online

SAFLII / WorldLII

 

Online Hypertext Series (from 1955 on: 96 docs)

Acts Online

Tonga

Tonga Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

Tuvalu

Tuvalu Legislation (3)

PacLII/WorldLII

United Kingdom

BAILII 6

United Kingdom statutes & instruments, Northern Ireland statutes, Welsh instruments, Scottish statutes & instruments

BAILII/WorldLII

Others 4

United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales legislation & instruments

HMSO

1

Wales Legislation Online (full set from 1853)

Cardiff Law School

Vanuatu

Legislation (4)

PacLII/WorldLII

Zambia

The Acts of Zambia (from 1996 on: 115 docs)

Zambia Legal Information Institute (ZamLII)

Countries with no known significant free online legislation collections omitted from this table (apologies for any inadvertent omissions): Antigua & Barbuda; Barbados; Botswana; Brunei; Cameroon; Cyprus; Dominica; Gambia; Ghana; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; Kenya; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Pakistan; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent & Grenadines; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Sri Lanka; Swaziland; Tanzania; Trinidad & Tobago; Uganda; Zimbabwe.



Table 2: Commonwealth Free Access Case Law Collections Online

Key: Brackets ( ) indicates number of different databases available

COUNTRY

CASES ONLINE

LOCATION

Multi-jurisdiction

Human rights cases (980 cases)

WorldLII

also on INTERIGHTS

Australia

AustLII 86

Commonwealth (23), including High Court, Family Court, Federal Court, Industrial Relations Court, High Court Transcripts and Bulletins), ACT (5), NSW (18), NT (4), QLD (13), SA (9), TAS (2), VIC (6), WA (5), Supreme Court of Norfolk Island (1)

AustLII/WorldLII

Others 41

Commonwealth (7), ACT (4), NSW (12), NT (1), QLD (4), SA (1), TAS (5), VIC (4), WA (3)

Mainly government

Belize

Privy Council Decisions, Belize Domain Name Decisions

BAILII/WorldLII

 

Supreme Court , Court of Appeal

Belizelaw.org

Canada

CanLII 67

Federal (9) Includes Supreme Court, Federal Court, Tax Court and Competition Tribunal; Alberta (3), British Columbia (4), Manitoba (3), New Brunswick (3), Newfoundland and Labrador (3), Northwest Territories (4), Nova Scotia (6), Nunavut (2), Ontario (9), Prince Edward Island (2), Québec (10), Saskatchewan (4), Yukon (5)

CanLII/WorldLII

Others 31

1

Canada (8), Alberta (3), British Columbia (6), Manitoba (1), Ontario (6), Prince Edward Island (1), Québec (5), Saskatchewan (1)

Canadian Native Law Cases (1763-1978: full set)

Mainly government

Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan

Cook Islands

High Court, Court of Appeal

PacLII/WorldLII

Cyprus

Cypriot High Court (Appellate, Administrative and Supreme Court) (full set in Greek from 1997)

CyLaw.Com (Uses WorldLII's SINO Search Engine)

Fiji

Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Fiji Magistrate's Court, UK Privy Council Decisions

PacLII/WorldLII

India

Supreme Court, Delhi High Court, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Orissa High Court, Bombay High Court, Madras High Court

Judgement Information Service (JUDIS)

 

Supreme Court; Companies Act Judgements; Income Tax Judgements (selected decisions)

Vakilno1.com

Jamaica

Privy Council Decisions

BAILII/WorldLII

 

Supreme Court (56 docs), Court of Appeal (25 docs)

Supreme Court of Jamaica

Kiribati

Court of Appeal, High Court of Kiribati, High Court of the Gilbert Islands

PacLII/WorldLII

Malta

Constitutional Court (1965-1993: 165 docs in Maltese)

Uni. of Malta Faculty of Law

 

19 Courts of Justice of Malta (1944-2000: summaries) (from 2001on: full text)

Sentenzi Online

Nauru

Supreme Court

PacLII/WorldLII

New Zealand

Court of Appeal, NZ Privacy Commissioner

AustLII/WorldLII

 

Court of Appeal (from 1995 on: full set)

Brookers (Thomson Group)

 

Refugee Status Appeals Authority, New Zealand High Court and Court of Appeal (refugee cases only)

RefNZ

Nigeria

Supreme Court (from 1972 on:107 docs)

Nigeria Law

Niue

Court of Appeal, High Court

PacLII/WorldLII

Papua New Guinea

National Court, Supreme Court

PacLII/WorldLII

Samoa

High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, District Court

PacLII/WorldLII

Solomon Islands

High Court, Court of Appeal , Magistrates’ Court

PacLII/WorldLII

South Africa

Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, Land Court; Eastern Cape Div. of the High Court

SAFLII/WorldLII

Wits Law School

 

Supreme Court of Appeal (from 1998 on: full set)

High Court - OFS Division (from 1994 on: full set)

Uni of the Orange Free State

Uni of the Orange Free State

Tonga

Supreme Court , Court of Appeal, Land Court, Tonga Privy Council

PacLII/WorldLII

Trinidad & Tobago

High Court and Court of Appeals (from 1997on : full set)

Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Tuvalu

High Court, Tuvalu Domain Name Decisions

PacLII/WorldLII

United Kingdom

BAILII 34

United Kingdom: House of Lords, Privy Council, VAT & Duties Tribunal (5), Employment Appeals Tribunal ,Financial Services and Markets Tribunal, 

Immigration Appeals Tribunal ,Social Security and Child Support Commissioners' Opinions ,Special Commissioners of Income Tax Decisions

England & Wales: High Court (9) and Court of Appeal (2), Care Standards Tribunal

Northern Ireland: Court of Appeal, High Court, High Court of Justice (3), Fair Employment Tribunal, Industrial Tribunals

Scotland: Scottish Court of Session, High Court, Sheriff Court

BAILII/WorldLII

1

House of Lords (from Nov. 1996 on: full set)

United Kingdom Parliament

1

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (from 1914 on: full set)

Privy Council

2

Judgments (from 1996: various courts, selected) Judgments (various tribunals, selected)

Court Service (Eng. & Wales)

Court Service (Eng & Wales)

1

Court Opinions (from 1998 on: various courts, selected)

Scottish Courts Website

1

Judgments (from 1999 on: various courts, 694 docs)

Northern Ireland Court Service

Vanuatu

Supreme Court of Vanuatu , Supreme Court of New Hebrides , Court of Appeal, Islands Court of Vanuatu, Magistrate's Court

PacLII/WorldLII

Zambia

Supreme Court , High Court, Industrial Relations Court (selected decisions)

ZamLII

Countries with no known significant free online case law collections omitted from this table (apologies for any inadvertent omissions): Antigua & Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Botswana; Brunei; Cameroon; Dominica; Gambia; Ghana; Grenada; Guyana; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Pakistan; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent & Grenadines; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zimbabwe.



Table 3: Commonwealth Free Access Law Reform Collections Online

Key: Brackets ( ) indicates number of different databases available (includes final reports databases and discussion/consultation/issues/position papers databases)

COUNTRY

LAW REFORM ONLINE

LOCATION

Australia

AustLII (7)

Australian Law Reform Commission (5) (98 reports)

NSW LRC (2) (7 reports)

AustLII/WorldLII

Other 31

Cth (5) (98 reports); ACT LRC (2) (20 reports); NSW LRC (9) (97 reports); NT LRCmttee (2) (7 reports); QLD LRC (3) (8 reports); TAS LRI (3) (4 reports); VIC (5) (4 reports); WA LRC (2) (118 reports- summaries)

Government sites

Canada

Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan Law Reform Commissions

Government sites

 

Uniform Law Conference of Canada (4) (12 reports)

Uniform Law Conf. of Canada

India

Law Commission of India (2) (14 reports)

Law Commission of India

Kenya

Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (2) (2 reports)

Constitution of Kenya Review Commission

Malawi

Malawi Law Commission (1) (1 report)

Malawi Law Commission

New Zealand

NZ Law Commission (1) (85 reports)

NZ Law Commission

AustLII / WorldLII

Pakistan

Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (1) (52 reports)

Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan

Singapore

Law Reform and Revision Division, A-Gs Chambers (2) (14 reports)

A-Gs Chambers of Singapore

South Africa

South African Law Commission (2) (36 reports)

WITS Law School

SAFLII / WorldLII

Tanzania

Law Reform Commission of Tanzania (2) (12 reports)

Law Reform Commission of Tanzania

United Kingdom

Law Commission for England and Wales (3) (52 reports)

Law Commission

BAILII / WorldLII

 

Office of Law Reform for Northern Ireland and Law Reform Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland (2) (3 reports)

Office of Law Reform

 

Scottish Law Commission (3) (81 reports)

Scottish Law Commission

BAILII / WorldLII

Countries with no known significant free online law reform collections omitted from this table (apologies for any inadvertent omissions): Antigua & Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Botswana; Brunei; Cameroon; Cyprus; Dominica; Fiji; Gambia; Ghana; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; Kiribati; Lesotho; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Nauru; Nigeria; Papua New Guinea; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent & Grenadines; Samoa; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Swaziland; Tonga; Trinidad & Tobago; Tuvalu; Uganda; Vanuatu; Zambia; Zimbabwe. Some of these jurisdictions may not have law reform agencies.



Table 4: Citation of Decisions of Other Commonwealth Courts

Country

Judgment

Other Cth Cases Cited

Privy Council

Watson v R (Jamaica) [2004] UKPC 34

0

Potter v Potter (New Zealand) [2004] UKPC 41

0

Australia (High Court)

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs v Al Khafaji [2004] HCA 38

3 UK

Al-Kateb v Godwin [2004] HCA 37 (6 August 2004)

15 UK; 1 NZ; 2 Canada; 1 India; 1 SA; 1 PC

Bahamas (Supreme Court)

Financial Clearing Corp. v. Attorney General (27/11/01)

1 SA; 2 UK (1 BAILII); 1 PC; 1 Gambia; 1 Trinidad & Tobago; 1 Mauritius

Glinton and Esfakis v. Ingraham et al (30/0702)

3 UK (2 BAILII), 1 NZ, 1 Bermuda, 1 Antigua & Barbuda, 2 Canada (CanLII)

Belize ( Supreme Court)

Brian Brown v A-G (25/07/03)

5 UK

Selgado v A-G et al (18/12/02)

2 UK

Canada (Supreme Court)

Gilles E. Néron Communication Marketing Inc. v Chambre des notaires du Québec, 2004 SCC 53

0

Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Ontario 2004 SCC 54

0

Cook Islands (High Court)

Police v Tutakiau [2001] CKHC 1

1 NZ

Matua v Manarangi [1998] CKHC 1

0

Cyprus (Supreme Court)

KRYPΤO SECURITY (CYPRUS) LTD ν. Κ

0

Fiji (Supreme Court)

Tarakinikini v Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces [2004] FJSC 8

1 UK; 1 AU (on AustLII)

Native Land Trust Board v Narawa [2004] FJSC 7

5 UK; 8 AU (4 on AustLII); 1 NZ

India (Supreme Court)

Dasari Siva Prasad Reddy v Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P.

0

State of U.P. Vs. Kishan Chand & Ors

0

Jamaica (Supreme Court)

Hon.Edward Seaga & Ors v A-G of Jamaica & Ors

2 PC

Robert Apgar vs Sharon Howell-Davis & others

1 UK

Kiribati (Court of Appeal)

Tawaia v Attorney General [2001] KICA 21

0

Kum Kee v Attorney General [2001] KICA 22

0

Malaysia (Federal Court)

Tan Geok Lan(P) Lwn La Kuan@Lian

1 UK

Tan Ewe Huat Lwn. Pendakwa Raya

2 UK

Malta ( Court of Appeal)

Buttigieg Emanuel vs Cauchi Anthony Pro

0

Brincau Maryanne vs Galea Edward Noe

0

Nauru (Supreme Court)

In re Article 55 of the Constitution [2003] NRSC 1

2 AU (on AustLII)

Harris v Director of Public Prosecutions [1998] NRSC 2

1 AU

New Zealand (Court of Appeal)

Newman v Lee [2004] NZCA 192

0

Wilson v White & Ors [2004] NZCA 191

3 UK

Nigeria (Supreme Court)

Attorney-General of Abia State & Ors V A-G of the Federation (2002) 3 NILR 28

1 UK

A-G of the Federation V A-G of Abia State & 35 Ors (2002) 4 NILR 5

7 UK; 1 Canada; 2 AU; 1 West Africa; 1 PC

Niue (Court of Appeal)

Attorney-General v Pioiva [1999] NUCA 1

0

Kalauni v Jackson [1996] NUCA 1

1 Zimbabwe; 1 Canada

Pakistan (Supreme Court)

Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharief v Pakistan

1 India

All Pakistan Newspapers Society v Pakistan

1 India; 1 UK

Papua New Guinea (Supreme Court)

Re Bill Skate MP (No 2) [2002] PGSC 1

0

Re Bill Skate MP [2001] PGSC 1

0

Samoa (Court of Appeal)

Police v Mareko [2003] WSCA 1

0

Pulu v Police [2003] WSCA 2

0

Solomon Islands (Court of Appeal)

Kimitora v Marovo Council of Chiefs [2003] SBCA 3

0

Shell Company Ltd v Morris [2003] SBCA 2

1 AU; 3 UK

South Africa (Supreme Court of Appeal)

Premier Van Die Gautengse Provinsiale Regering v Myburgh [2004] ZASCA 18

0

Meeg Bank v Waymark and ors [2004] ZASCA 17

0

Sri Lanka ( Supreme Court)

Centre for Policy Alternatives et al

0

A.M.E. Fernando v Attorney-General

3 UK

Tonga (Court of Appeal)

Miller v Gorce [2003] TOCA 9; CA 17

0

Edwards v Pohiva [2003] TOCA 8

9 UK; 2 NZ; 3 AU (2 on AustLII)

Trinidad & Tobago (Court of Appeal)

Wayne Rodriguez and Thomas Nimblett

1 UK; 3 PC

Rahaman Alie-Cassim and Feroza Alie-Cassim

7 UK

Tuvalu (High Court)

Amasone v Attorney General [2003] TVHC 4

3 Solomon Islands

Martin v Martin [2003] TVHC 15

0

United Kingdom (House of Lords)

Uttley, R v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL 38

0

USA v Barnette & Anor [2004] UKHL 37

0

Vanuatu (Court of Appeal)

Hehei v ANZ Bank (Vanuatu) Ltd [2004] VUCA 7

0

Neel v Blake [2004] VUCA 6

9 AU; 3 UK; 1 PC

Zambia (Supreme Court)

Nyampala Safaris v Zambia Wildlife authority

0

Betty Kalunga v Konkola Copper Mines Plc

0

Table includes only two most recent free access online cases by a country’s highest court. C’wealth countries with no cases available online omitted. NZ=New Zealand; PC=Privy Council; SA=South Africa; UK=United Kingdom


4. A Proposal for a CommonLII

We commenced this paper by arguing that the Internet presents the potential for the development of a more genuinely international common law. Developments in the common law in all Commonwealth countries could be more easily known in all other countries and have the potential to influence the growth of the common law. It can provide a ‘level playing field’ for influence.

We then demonstrated that, insofar as free access to legal information from Commonwealth countries is concerned, there is not yet a ‘level playing field’. Free access is necessary because Courts, academics and law reformers in less-developed Commonwealth countries will not have access to pay-for-use services. About half of all 56 Commonwealth countries do not have any significant collections of legal materials (legislation, case law or law reform reports) online for free access. Of those that do, the most comprehensive collections are from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, some of the Pacific Island countries, and India. South Africa and New Zealand are increasingly comprehensive. The laws of the most developed countries of the Commonwealth are disproportionately well-represented on the Internet, in contrast with the poor representation of the majority of Commonwealth countries, particularly less-developed countries. Under these circumstances, the laws of Australia and Canada are likely to play a disproportionate role in the growth of an international common law, but a level playing field has not been achieved.

In those countries with a strong Internet presence (except India) the most comprehensive collections of laws are located on the Legal Information Institutes that collaborate to provide WorldLII. The only location on the Internet which provides an effective facility to search across the laws of different Commonwealth countries is WorldLII.The final question for this paper is therefore to ask how the approach taken by Legal Information Institutes, and the role played by WorldLII, can best be used to improve the presence of the laws of all Commonwealth countries on the Internet.

4.1 The Example of Droit Francophone

A good example of what is possible exists. The French-speaking countries and their international organisations have already created Droit Francophone, which brings together databases of legislation from 20 francophone countries and case law (jurisprudence) from twelve countries (particularly those in Africa), plus a catalog of legal websites from every francophone country. It was developed by LexUM at the University of Montreal (the operators of CanLII) in 2003 and uses the SINO search engine developed by AustLII and used by WorldLII and most other LIIs. As it develops over time, the francophone world may achieve a ‘level playing field’ for countries whose legal systems are derived from French civil law. It is a significant achievement, and a timely one for the 2004 bicentenary of the Code Napoleon.



Extract from the Droit Francophone Opening Screen

Funding and other assistance for the development of Droit Francophone comes from L'Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie [48] and L'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie [49], leading international organisations of the French-speaking world.

4.2 An Interim Step: Commonwealth Institutions in WorldLII

As yet there are no Legal Information Institutes in many regions of the world with concentrations of Commonwealth countries, such as the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, and East Africa. AustLII and WorldLII do not have any specific funding which would support a pro-active Commonwealth-wide project of including databases on WorldLII and assisting development of national or regional free-access LIIs.

However, within the constraints imposed by our financial resources [50], we are willing to use WorldLII, and seek the cooperation of other LIIs, in creating a more comprehensive source of Commonwealth law. There are three aspects to this. First, we are actively seeking to include on WorldLII (or more appropriate regional LIIs) law reform reports from any Commonwealth countries, and are now contacting law reform agencies in as many Commonwealth countries as possible. We will also actively seek to include any regional Courts or Tribunals affecting Commonwealth countries, and any non-commercial law journals on Commonwealth legal affairs.

Second, we are willing to include in WorldLII’s databases, if requested, the decisions of any senior Courts, or legislation collections, from any Commonwealth countries. We will not contact Courts and governments to solicit such databases directly, but will accommodate those who express an interest to us in the inclusion of their data in WorldLII, and are able to provide it in a suitable form [51]. We welcome expressions of interest.

Finally, and of most long-term significance, we are willing to assist appropriate partner institutions in Commonwealth countries (particularly academic institutions) to create national or regional Legal Information Institutes, through the provision of AustLII’s software and expertise, where we can find resources to do so. In the last five years we have done so in the creation of BAILII, PacLII and SAFLII.

For example, SAFLII commenced as a result of an agreement in 2002 with Wits Law School that a number of South African legal databases provided by Wits could be included on WorldLII. Over the following eighteen months Wits collected data and established procedures for provision to AustLII, while AustLII converted the data for use with its search engine and inserted hypertext links, and provided it as the collection of South African databases on WorldLII. The Southern African part of the WorldLII Catalog was also built up. When sufficient databases and Catalog were established, SAFLII was launched as a separate LII in late 2003 (but also still available via WorldLII). The SAFLII server is still operated by AustLII, but as soon as Wits has the resources for a server and at least one staff member, all development and maintenance work will be handed over to them, with AustLII merely operating a mirror server for backup, and providing technical assistance as needed. This is the ‘incubate and migrate’ approach which has proven to be effective: WorldLII as an incubator of LIIs.

4.3 A Longer-Term Solution: Creation of a ‘CommonLII’

A long-term Commonwealth-wide solution to the problem discussed above would be for the Commonwealth Secretariat and other Commonwealth institutions to provide resources and support for the establishment of an Internet legal portal for Commonwealth law: a Commonwealth Legal Information Institute or ‘CommonLII’. This would be similar to the approach that the institutions of the Francophonie have taken to the establishment Droit Francophone.

AustLII would be willing to provide its software, expertise, and experience in the development of CommonLII. The existing LIIs of BAILII, AustLII, PacLII, SAFLII and (by then) NZLII could, by collaborating with CommonLII as they do with WorldLII, ensure that it provides a huge collection of common law from inception. The Commonwealth countries component of the WorldLII Catalog would also provide the largest English-language catalog of legal website links for Commonwealth countries from inception.

CommonLII would then systematically approach legal institutions and governments in all other countries of the Commonwealth (with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat and other Commonwealth institutions) to obtain for republication databases of legislation, decisions of superior Courts, law reform reports and law journals. Law librarians in each Commonwealth country would be requested to become contributing editors to their countries’ pages in the CommonLII Catalog.

In some cases, the inclusion of databases on CommonLII might be the first step toward the development of independent national or regional Legal Information Institutes, as discussed above. CommonLII could serve as an 'incubator' of other Legal Information Institutes in the Commonwealth. We expect that this could become its most important function, rather than being the primary location of databases in itself.

LIIs (whether called by that name or not) may develop independently, using different software, in Commonwealth countries, and still be able to participate in the CommonLII ‘network’. There are a number of ways in which data may be made available for provision by WorldLII (and on the same model, CommonLII), without the necessity for the institutions providing the data to use the same search engine on their own sites. In most cases a desire to participate and a willingness to maintain a number of technical standards in the provision of data, is all that would be required. Cooperation with existing national free-access law systems of substance, where possible, is the most desirable path toward the creation of CommonLII. However, there are only a limited number of existing systems which are candidates for possible cooperation in Commonwealth countries not already part of WorldLII. This may prove to be less important than encouraging and facilitating the development of new national or regional LIIs.

English would be the only language in which legal information is provided via CommonLII, as the lingua franca of the Commonwealth (so to speak), thus reducing the cost and complexity of its operation. National LIIs may however be bilingual (as are CanLII and HKLII).

Creation and maintenance of CommonLII need not be a costly operation in either the short or long term. Where independent national or regional LIIs are formed, it is possible for them to become self-funding within a year or two (on experience to date), and at that point the costs of providing their data via CommonLII becomes very low. The legal materials included in a country’s databases while they are located on CommonLII might be limited to its most senior Courts and other key legal materials, and only be expanded to the full range of legal materials once an independent LII was formed.

While a modest level of funding for equipment and a number of staff would be essential, the key ingredients needed for success in the creation of CommonLII would be goodwill on the part of national data providers, encouragement and assistance from Commonwealth institutions, a commitment to free access to the law by all parties, and a determination to create a better Commonwealth and common law jurisprudence. Technical and resources questions can usually be solved when these ingredients are present.

4.4 Conclusion: Realising the Dream of an International Common Law

Achieving the goal of facilitating the development of a more international common law will involve overcoming many obstacles. Creation of a free-access ‘level playing field’ where the law of all common law countries may be found is only one step, necessary but not sufficient, which will facilitate the multi-directional flows of influence that this goal implies. We are a long way short of having a single technical infrastructure for free-access Commonwealth law. Perhaps Lord Cooke's words (in another context) will be accurate [52]: ' One does not collect jurisdictions like postage stamps, and the possibilities of any increase at all in my own modest collection are by no means evident ...' WorldLII and the LIIs cooperating in it have already become 'home' to the law of a significant portion of the common law world. Can this cooperating network be expanded, perhaps through the creation of CommonLII, to include more or even most Commonwealth countries? We have sketched above one path via which this could be realized. As Lord Justice Brooke concluded, 'We will have to wait and see.' [53]

Notes and References

[1] See part 1.3 following for further discussion.

[2] Lord Justice Henry Brooke 'Publishing the Courts: Judgments and public information on the Internet' (paper at this Conference, 2003) describes one motivation for the creation of BAILII as the needs of 'the countries of the Commonwealth particularly in Africa and the Caribbean, which are desperate to obtain access to UK law texts', and the need for quick download of Privy Council decisions when you are in countries with very slow Internet connectivity.

[3] Lord Cooke of Thorndon ‘The Dream of an International Common Law’ in C Saunders (Ed) Courts of Final Jurisdiction: The Mason court in Australia, Federation Press 1996.

[4] Lord Cooke ‘The Dream of an International Common Law’ op cit.

[5] Lord Cooke of Thorndon 'The Judge in an Evolving Society', address to Judges and Judicial Officers of the High Court of Hong Kong, 17 December 1997, available at <http://www.upf.pf/recherche/fichiers%2520RJP4/01Cooke.doc&e=673>.

[6] As to which, see Lord Cooke ‘The Dream of an International Common Law’ op cit Part I.

[7] Lord Justice Brooke op cit.

[8] Lord Cooke op cit 1996, Part II.

[9] See Lord Justice Brooke op cit p5 for an explanation of the significance of this case.

[10] Another answer to providing comprehensive access is to have all significant legal websites in a jurisdiction adopt a standard format for their materials, and to return results of distributed searches to a centralised search facility. There are no successful examples of this approach yet known.

[11] LawNet in the Australian State of New South Wales is one example, but even it lacks the capacity for users to search all of its databases in one search..

[12] We are not suggesting that LIIs should only provide essential legal information. They are likely to be involved in the provision of other types of secondary materials such as law journals, in the provision of 'plain English' guides to the law and in other approaches to improving public access to the law. These sources require different considerations from 'essential' legal information, particularly because their publication is less likely to be pursuant to a duty to publish, or public subsidies to do so.

[13] HKLII is pronounced 'H K Lee'.

[14] The Zambian Legal Information Institute (ZamLII) <http://zamlii.zamnet.zm/> (1996) no longer seems to be updated; There is a list of LIIs at <http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/52806.html>.

[15] See <http://www.juridicas.unam.mx/infjur/leg/> - It is maintained by the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas (Legal Research Institute) de la UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).

[16] <http://www.nigeria-law.org/>

[17] Links to these key government sites, and to LIIs, can be found at <http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/52806.html>.

[18] See <http://www.worldlii.org/links/2172.html> for a global list.

[19] See <http://www.worldlii.org/links/2027.html> for a global list.

[20] See <http://www.worldlii.org/worldlii/declaration/>

[21] The amendements were: .(i) in the title of the Declaration, ‘public’ was changed to ‘free’; (ii) the words ‘where possible’ were deleted from the second bullet point ‘where possible,, free of charge’; (iii) addition of the description of a legal information institute and the encouragement to participate in networks; and (iv) addition of the final bullet point about an annual meeting to the list of areas of agreed cooperation.

[22] See Greenleaf, G, Mowbray, A. King, G and van Dijk, P (1995) Public access to law via internet: the Australasian Legal Information Institute (1995) Journal of Law & Information Science, Vol 6 Issue 1 (Originally presented at Sixth Asian Pacific Specials, Health and Law Librarians Conference, Sydney, 30 August 1995) ; G Greenleaf, A Mowbray G King ‘New directions in law via the internet - The AustLII Papers’ Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT), Issue 2, 1997, University of Warwick Faculty of Law, at <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/issue/1997_2> , and G Greenleaf 'Free the Law: How the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) Achieved the Free Availability of Legal Information on the Internet' 2000 (1). The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) at <http://www.law.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/00-1/transcript.html>.

[23] Poulin (2003) takes a similar position: ‘In order to be truly open, publication must not be restricted by any conditions as to subsequent use or republication of the documents, except for conditions needed to ensure accuracy.’

[24] This seventh element was not included in our original list in 1995, but the importance of citations has subsequently become more obvious.

[25] The existence of the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII - <http://www.hklii.org/> is another demonstration of this.

[26] See <http://www.justice.gov.hk/index.htm#>.

[27] It was first demonstrated at the Third Law via Internet Conference, held at AustLII in Sydney in November 2001, and has been available for public access since then.

[28] See <http://barratry.law.cornell.edu/Summit/index.htm>.

[29] Tom Bruce 'WORLDLII: A sketch for a distributed search system' at <http://barratry.law.cornell.edu/Summit/worldlii.htm>.

[30] <http://www.worldlii.org/int/cases/>

[31] <http://www.worldlii.org/int/special/privacy/>.

[32] Since 1996, AustLII had been advocating the adoption of a Court-designated citation by Australian Courts, and had proposed a similar method of citation to the Council of Chief Justices in 1998. For a history of these developments in Australia and elsewhere, see A Mowbray, G Greenleaf and P Chung 'A Uniform Approach for Vendor and Media Neutral Citation - the Australian Experience' Citations Workshop: strategies for accessing law and legal information Edinburgh, Scotland - 11th & 12th March 2000.

[33] See Mowbray, Greenleaf and Chung op cit Part 8 for discussion of the implementation on BAILII and the original set of designators used.

[34] Lord Justice Brooke op cit 'Advances in England and Wales in the last five years'.

[35] Practice Direction (Judgments: Form and Citation) [2001] 1 WLR 194 available at <http://www.lawreports.co.uk/civjan0.3.htm>

[36] Practice Direction (Judgments: Neutral Citation) [2002] 1 WLR 3 available at <http://www.lawreports.co.uk/othjanb0.1.htm>

[37] <http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2001/681.html>

[38] At <http://www.hklii.org/hk/cases/HKCFA/2002/3.html>.

[39] See, for a detailed description, Graham Greenleaf, Philip Chung and Russell Allen 'World Law: Finding law after Google' Proc. AustLII Law via Internet 2001 Conference, AustLII, Sydney, 2001.

[40] See G Greenleaf, P Chung , A Mowbray, Ka Po Chow and KH Pun 'The Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII): Its role in free access to global law via the Internet [2002] Hong Kong Law Journal Vol 32, Part 1 for a discussion of the general issues involved.

[41] <http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/54572.html>, as discussed earlier in this paper.

[42] We apologise for any inadvertent omissions, and if informed of them will add the databases to the WorldLII Catalog.

[43] <http://www.interights.org/>

[44] See back to the discussion of WorldLII's existing and proposed databases.

[45] Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The historically related jurisdictions of the Republic of Ireland and Hong Kong also meet all three criteria.

[46] It is arguable that the Privy Council should be considered as a separate jurisdiction, particularly in light of the surviving rights of appeal to it from some jurisdictions, which may make it more likely that Courts in those jurisdictions will cite its decisions since they are binding on local courts.

[47] At least half these decisions are by the Privy Council, and need to be noted separately from other UK Courts.

[48] <http://agence.francophonie.org/>

[49] <http://www.francophonie.org/>

[50] Thanks to funding from the Australian Research Council, as described earlier, AustLII/WorldLII is able to undertake this inclusion of Commonwealth/common law material at present, but long-term continuation or expansion of this will require additional funding from new stakeholders.

[51] We cannot convert data from paper, with our current resources. It must already be available in some computerised form.

[52] Lord Cooke, op cit, p2.

[53] Lord Justice Brooke, op cit, final words.

Bibliography

A Mowbray, G Greenleaf and P Chung 'A Uniform Approach for Vendor and Media Neutral Citation - the Australian Experience' Citations Workshop: strategies for accessing law and legal information Edinburgh, Scotland - 11th & 12th March 2000.

G Greenleaf, P Chung , A Mowbray, Ka Po Chow and KH Pun 'The Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII): Its role in free access to global law via the Internet [2002] Hong Kong Law Journal Vol 32, Part 1; presented at 4th Law via Internet Conference, Montreal, October 2002, available at
<http://www.lexum.umontreal.ca/conf2002/actes/greenleaf.html>.

G Greenleaf 'Free the Law: How the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) Achieved the Free Availability of Legal Information on the Internet' 2000 (1). The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) at
< http://www.law.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/00-1/transcript.html>.

G Greenleaf, A Mowbray G King ‘New directions in law via the internet - The AustLII Papers’ Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT), Issue 2, 1997, University of Warwick Faculty of Law, at
< http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/issue/1997_2>

Lord Justice Henry Brooke 'Publishing the Courts: Judgments and public information on the Internet' (paper presented at this Conference).Lord Cooke of Thorndon ‘The Dream of an International Common Law’ in C Saunders (Ed) Courts of Final Jurisdiction: The Mason court in Australia, Federation Press 1996.Lord Cooke of Thorndon 'The Judge in an Evolving Society', address to Judges and Judicial Officers of the High Court of Hong Kong, 17 December 1997, available at< http://www.upf.pf/recherche/fichiers%2520RJP4/01Cooke.doc&e=673>.

 

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