[Fsf-friends] Free the Law

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Wed Jun 9 19:47:07 IST 2004

  Free the Law: Initiative needed to have indlii.org

I  was  recently searching  for  some  legal  material and  landed  at
http://www.austlii.edu.au/  -   the  website  of   Australasian  Legal
Information Institute.   The website allows  _free_ access to  most of
the Australian legal resources, including legislation and decisions of
the High  Court of Australia  [the Highest court in  Australia].  They
have devised standard  notation for citing case law  that is uniformly
followed througout Australia,  with most of the Courts  sending in the
judgements  and  transcripts of  proceedings  to  austlii in  standard
formats.  Legislation  is reported  to the site  by the  attorneys who
represent the state.

Austlii has also led initiatives in England that led to www.bailii.org

Free access is available to all to the legal resources at austlii

In  India,  NIC  has  taken  several  initiatives,  and  a  wealth  of
information relating  to legislation  and case-law are  available, but
not everything is  free.  AFAIK, there are no  standard notations that
enable citing case-law published at the NIC servers before the courts.
Again, AFAIK,  many proprietary software  tools are used in  India, in
sharp contrast  to Austlii  that uses  GNU C and  has created  its own
in-house software to index information.
[ http://www2.austlii.edu.au/%7Egraham/Slides/London/technical.html ]
[ http://causelists.nic.in ]

Austlii  also  has  a  worldlii   site  to  provide  access  to  legal
information  in other  jurisdictions.  An  initiative to  have  a site
named indlii on the lines of austlii may help to standardise reporting
of legal information on the internet.

Details about how the austlii project was created, funded and works is
available  at:  http://www.lawonline.cc/accesslawright.htm  under  the
title "Free the Law"

Having free  and easy access to  legal information would  be the first
serious step in e-governance  efforts.  Probably, FSF-India, and a few
law universities  in India  could take the  initiative to move  NIC to
create indlii on the lines of austlii, possibly by teaming up together
along with austlii.


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