The IALS Blog | News, views and info from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

Library Survey and Statement of Standards

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The most recent report on the annual SLS / BIALL academic law library survey has just been published in Legal Information Management and is also available on the IALS website at: http://ials.sas.ac.uk/library/SLS_BIALL_survey.htm.

The comprehensive report, which I wrote on behalf of the UK’s Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) and British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL), provides a useful snapshot of the staffing, funding, collections and range of services provided in 2013/2014 by university and college law libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Comparative year-on-year data and analysis is provided on student numbers, provision of seating and workstations, law library usage, opening times, support services for distance learning courses, acquisitions expenditure, sources of income, contributions from law schools, staffing levels, qualifications of library staff, the location of the law library within the university library and subscriptions to legal databases, e-journals and e-books. In addition the most popular law databases, e-book publishers, suppliers of library management systems and free websites with legal content and are also identified.

The SLS / BIALL academic law library survey has been running since 1996 and has established itself as the leading survey of its kind for the UK and Irish academic legal communities. It provides authoritative and trusted data which academic law library managers use to benchmark their own services, collections and funding requirements, and law course validation bodies note when appraising the provision of institutions seeking to run law courses. The report also greatly assists the UK’s Society of Legal Scholars in monitoring the continuing influence of its 2009 Statement of standards for university law library provision in the United Kingdom: http://www.legalscholars.ac.uk/documents/SLS-Library-for-a-Modern-Law-School-Statement-2009.pdf.

 

David Gee
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

 

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) makes Case Papers from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council freely available on BAILII

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In a letter of July 19 1950 now in the IALS Archives, George Curtis (Founding Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada) sought help from Professor David Hughes Parry (Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) in obtaining case papers from two notable Canadian Appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Judgment 11, 1916 Bonanza Creek Gold Mining Co. v The King (Appeal 61 of 1915) http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1916/1916_11.html

and

Judgment 2, 1925 Toronto Electric Commissioners v Colin G. Snider (Appeal 99 of 1924) http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1925/1925_2.html

George Curtis, a friend and host for Professor David Hughes Parry’s lecture tour of North America in the autumn of 1949, drew special attention to the current and future research value of the case papers generally: “Their value to us would be so very great that I would like to make an effort to collect as many as possible” … “I think that as the years go by this sort of material for research and teaching purposes would be very valuable indeed”.

The Judicial Committee of The Privy Council is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies and for those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. Historically it was the supreme appellate court of the British Empire, whose decisions also provided valid precedents for British courts. It has decided cases across a wide range of legal topics such as: admiralty, constitutional and ecclesiastical matters, contract, murder, status of persons; and had a key role in the export and assimilation of common law around the world.

In drafting its Statement of Development Policy for the Quinquennium (1952-1957) the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies made provision to acquire the Canadian Law Library – a large library which included many papers from the Canadian Appeals to the Privy Council and was owned by the Canadian Government and had been maintained in London for many years for the use of Counsel appearing before the Privy Council. Once Canadian Appeals to the Privy Council ceased, a purchase was made and the library was added to the Institute’s collections in 1953. The purchase drew on a £3,000 reserve of funding from a £10,000 Nuffield Foundation grant made to the IALS to help in developing a unique national collection of Commonwealth law.

Subsequent arrangements over the years with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council itself built a comprehensive collection at the Institute of JCPC Appeal case papers for many former colonies and Commonwealth jurisdictions including: Aden, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Basutoland, Bermuda, Canada, Ceylon, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Gibraltar, Gold Coast, Great Britain, Guernsey, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Lesotho, Malaya, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palestine, Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somaliland, Tanganyika, Trinidad and Tobago and Uganda.

Now, in 2015, case papers held in the collection at IALS from both the key Canadian Privy Council Appeals highlighted by Dean Curtis are being made freely available online – included in an important project at the IALS which is making case papers from more than 1,400 Privy Council Appeals from many Commonwealth countries available on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) service alongside the judgment texts http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/

Thanks to an award from the School of Advanced Study’s Strategic Development Fund, IALS has been able to digitise many of the additional case papers it holds relating to historic Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decisions. Over 5,000 searchable PDFs have been created involving more than 317,000 page scans.

Case papers from the IALS collection from 1935 -1985 (effectively a full paper set from 1950 to 1985) and some selected papers from earlier judgments of special interest to researchers have been included in the project. http://ials.sas.ac.uk/library/pcdocs/pcddd_project.htm

These substantial papers (case for the appellant, case for the respondent, record of proceedings, factums and appendices) are often extensive documents giving far more detail than the judgment text itself. They are records of the law in action, providing an insight into a wide range of public, personal, social, and human issues. They also reveal the foresight of the JCPC in a practical commitment to the recognition of diversity in culture and religious belief; in seeking to ensure environmental protection; to safeguard individual dignity and support the wider international legal order.

We plan to add brief notes highlighting, as examples, the significance of some case papers to particular research and legal development and share those examples through linked public events at IALS – highlighting thematic interests and ways in which the more readily available case papers will form a basis on which further work can be built. Professor Catharine MacMillan and Dr Charlotte Smith of the University of Reading and Dr Nandini Chatterjee of the University of Exeter are kindly helping us as research advisors to the project.

We believe that this project will benefit the research community and public knowledge on several levels and make a valuable contribution to facilitating further initiatives in the UK and overseas in the areas of Commonwealth legal and cultural development, and additionally extend the scope of wider open access information delivery.

The IALS project and development on BAILII also serves as a pilot project for a potentially larger collaborative initiative that LLMC and partners are planning if necessary funding can be secured in the USA. That will build on the collection of images created here and aim to create a comprehensive online collection of JCPC case papers.

For further information please contact Steven Whittle, Information Systems Manager, IALS steven.whittle@sas.ac.uk

 

 

LawPORT online resources survey

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The Academic Services team at IALS are developing some free online courses with the School of Advanced Study. The first phase will cover the following topics:

1. Citing references with OSCOLA

2. Public International Law

3. Database Searching

If you are a PhD or MPhil student, we would like to hear from you to find out what online resources are available, what kind of courses you feel you would benefit from, your level of experience of each of these topics and how you keep up-to-date with changes in the law. You will also have the opportunity to put forward your own suggestions. Please follow the link below to access the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LawPORTUserNeeds

LawPORT is for you! The more information you give us, the more valuable the resources will be. We want it to offer short courses for essential skills and support for your PhD research. The content will be engaging and varied, by offering different methods of delivery (e.g. video, interactive content) and support (e.g. discussion forums, social media). The hope is that LawPORT becomes your first port of call to pick up new skills or refresh your existing knowledge.

Please contact me at james.parker@sas.ac.uk if you have any problems with the survey or any questions about this project. Follow us on Twitter @LawPortTeam and keep up-to-date with the development process. Get involved in Twitter discussions about LawPORT by using the hashtags #LawPORT and #PhDStudents. Thank you for your help in creating what will be a very useful resource both for IALS PhD students and PhD students in other institutions.

Paid student placements over the summer – come and find out more!

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The National Archives (who are responsible for legislation.gov.uk) are offering paid student placements over the summer. The hours are flexible, and the pay will be the equivalent of £18,000 per annum, pro rata.

You will help The National Archives to update primary legislation. Full training and support will be provided, and once you’ve been trained you can either work from Kew or from home. The editorial tools you’ll be using are online and they’re easy to use. And don’t worry – all of your work will be checked before it goes live! It’s a great opportunity for you to get some paid work experience.

What you need is excellent attention to detail, a passion for getting things right, and a real interest in helping citizens to access up-to-date law. You’ll be able to point to the legislation on legislation.gov.uk you’ve helped to update and you’ll receive a certificate after you’ve completed your training.

If you’d like to find out more, come to the drop in session at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies next week, on Thursday 9 July. The session will be held in room L102 between 11.30am and 12.30pm.

To help manage numbers it would be great if you could let us know if you’re planning to attend. Just email judith.riley@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk to let her know.

Getting to the IALS

A Berlin Diary

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In early February I was lucky enough to visit the exciting and vibrant city of Berlin in my role as the IALL Board Liaison Officer for the forthcoming Berlin Conference from Sunday 20th September to Thursday 24th September 2015. I have only visited Berlin briefly once before on a wonderful day trip from Hamburg. However my appetite was whetted by this whirlwind trip and I was very much looking forward to a chance to see more of the city as part of the process of finding out more from the local organisers about their detailed plans for the conference.

I arrived on a direct flight from London to the modern medium-sized Berlin Tegel Airport and very quickly passed through the efficient passport control and baggage claim. I had various cheap options to travel into central Berlin including using either the TXL Express Bus  (for the Zoo station in the west of the city) or the Express Bus X9 (for Alexanderplatz in the east of the city), but instead decided to treat myself and pay for one of the many taxis waiting at the airport to take me directly to my hotel. Door to door the cost was 23 Euros, an option to think about if you arrive with heavy suitcases.

For the purposes of the IALL BLO visit, I had booked myself into the modern and comfortable Maritim Hotel Berlin. This will be the official IALL Conference hotel and has the distinct advantage (particularly if you are running late over breakfast) of being just a ten minute walk from the Berlin State Library which will be our main venue throughout the conference. As usual, hotel rooms have been reserved for IALL Conference attendees at a special lower rate including breakfast.

On the main day of my review it was my great pleasure to meet with Jeroen Vervliet (IALL President) and Ivo Vogel (IALL Local Conference Organiser) and his enthusiastic local team at the Berlin State Library. This enormous and rather beautiful 1970’s building is the largest academic library in Germany and has a spectacular reading room which I liked very much. Jeroen, Ivo and I then spent a busy day from 9.00am to 8.30pm running through the preliminary conference academic programme, visiting the proposed venues around central Berlin and clarifying the interim conference budget. Here’s a few highlights which have been arranged by the Local Organising Committee so far:

  • The thought-provoking extensive academic programme will be focused primarily on the German legal tradition in a challenging international context. The transnationalisation of law, the role of Germany in EU decision-making, reassessing the Nuremberg trials, human rights, constitutional law, real property law, legal blogs and access to libraries for researchers with special needs will all be themes.

  • The venue for the Opening Session on Sunday 20th September is already booked and will be held at the stylish Microsoft Atrium in central Berlin.

  • The Otto-Braun Hall will be the main lecture venue and is also booked. This impressive conference facility is conveniently attached to the Berlin State Library and has a capacity of 400. There is deliberately plenty of space outside of the hall entrance for our usual interesting trade exhibition and for refreshment and lunch breaks.

  • Afternoon cultural visits are also being planned to the German Bundesrat and the Sanssouci Palace and Gardens, as well as an evening Berlin City Tour.

  • The IALL Annual Dinner will be held at The Auster in central Berlin on the evening of Wednesday 23rd

  • The Berlin-(+)-Tour is the name for the Optional Day in Berlin on Thursday 24th The educational focus of the day will be on the Research Services of the German Parliament and the Library of the German Bundestag. After the lectures you will receive a special guided tour of the Library which is situated within the magnificent modern architecture of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus. The German Parliament and library are not normally open to the public, so this is a rare chance to see inside and learn about their activities first hand. Additionally, the day will provide a scenic boating tour on the River Spree to discover the City of Berlin by river and to enjoy a buffet lunch and coffee break in beautiful surroundings.

Both Jeroen and I were very impressed with the progress of the Local Organising Committee so far and assured that everything is being done to deliver a wonderful conference in September.

Please do join us! Full details available on the conference website.

David Gee, IALS Deputy Librarian and Academic Services Librarian

IALS website and databases Redevelopment Survey 2015

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Since the advent of the web, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London has been actively involved in innovative legal information delivery – developing and promoting public access to materials capable of supporting legal research on the Internet. IALS is committed to extending the reach of digital provision of legal information by delivering specialist legal research tools and niche web services – maximising access to key or hard to find information to facilitate legal research, public understanding, and promote justice and the rule of law. The IALS website includes a portfolio of award-winning national online services for law and research tools that have resulted from IALS projects and are made freely available to all.

 The Institute is now working on a redevelopment of the IALS website and web databases http://ials.sas.ac.uk/

We would like to understand what you think about the current design, content, and functionality of our website and databases. This will help us to ensure that we deliver the best possible experience for visitors in the future.

The survey includes 11 questions and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Please do share your feedback and help us improve our website and databases.

 http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/IALS-redesign/

Narayana Harave
Computing Services Librarian

Stolen vehicles

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If you’ve read recent stories highlighting the role of handheld electronic devices and EU laws in vulnerability to car theft:

The Times http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/motoring/article4324743.ece and The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11348791/Pull-over-expensive-cars-after-midnight-police-told.html and would like more background, see Stephen Mason’s article predicting the issue:

‘Vehicle remote keyless entry systems and engine immobilisers: do not believe the insurer that they are perfect’, Computer Law and Security Review, Volume 28 Issue 2 (April 2012), 195 – 200

Sas-space: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/5701/

Elsevier: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/computer-law-and-security-review/

Stephen Mason (Barrister, author and IALS Associate Research Fellow) http://www.stephenmason.eu/

Welcome

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Welcome to the official blog of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, to be launched in 2015. In the meantime please visit our website for information about the Institute, the library, events and training.