[Fsf-friends] Free the Law

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Thu Jun 10 10:25:31 IST 2004

  Mahesh T. Pai wrote:

>Ramanraj K said on Wed, Jun 09, 2004 at 07:47:07PM +0530,:
> > Information Institute.   The website allows  _free_ access to  most of
> > the Australian legal resources, including legislation and decisions
> > of
>Yes, and in many respects, the US of A is very back in this.
Not  really  -  much  legal   information  on  USA  can  be  found  at
http://www.law.cornell.edu/ . But, AustLII has been able to evolve and
frame better vendor neutral standards.   AustLII is believed to be the
world's largest legal database with about 7 GB of textual information,
and most probably Cornell might be the next.  If IndLII ever comes up,
with our volume of legislation,  litigation and case-law, we will beat
every other legal database in no time at all :)

> > have  devised  standard  notation  for  citing  case  law  that  is
> > uniformly followed througout Australia,
>To a large extent, this is  because Australia has a well developed and
>formalised research  and citation  system within _public_  control. In
>the US, this  is done by private bodies, like  (IIRC), LEXIS or NEXIS,
>and they have  a vested interest in that  an alternate citation system
>does not come up.
The  free public  access  based  on vendor  neutral  data formats  and
notations are fundamental  to a democracy, and now  private bodies can
no longer  monopolise or  capitalise on the  intellectual work  of our
legislatures  and  courts. The  private  bodies  will  not go  out  of
business, but they  will have to build their  business around the free
access  material -  say  providing more  exhaustive  head notes,  case
summaries,  cross-linking  or other  features.   Of  course, we  could
expect some private bodies to  do everything in their power to prevent
the introduction of vendor neutral citations.

> > not  everything is free.   AFAIK, there  are no  standard notations
> > that enable citing case-law published at the NIC servers before the
> > courts.
>Wait a minute. Is any case law published on any of NIC servers? I have
>not seen any. May be I am missing something?
Please  visit:  http://causelists.nic.in -  Marked  judgements of  the
Madras  High Court  and  few others  are  available on  line from  NIC

> > available  at:  http://www.lawonline.cc/accesslawright.htm  under  the
> > title "Free the Law"
>Great link.
>If  you  have the  time  or inclination  look  into  the situation  in
>Singapore. last time  I went there (the sites,  that is) they required
>software of a particular brand and version.
>And there  is a proposal to  implement something along  those lines in
Do you mean on the style of Singapore? Are there any links?


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