As the Centre’s first director, Dr Judith Townend, moves onto a new post at the University of Sussex, we thought it would be an opportune moment to offer you a brief summary of some of the Centre’s activities so far.
The Centre was launched in February 2015 with a remit to provide opportunities for academics, lawyers, policymakers, journalists, NGOs, charities and other parties to explore the way information and data is controlled, shared and disseminated.
As well as a small academic staff, its members include a number of associate research fellows based at various UK universities, and visiting fellows from around the world. An expert Advisory Board has helped us develop our programme of research.
At the launch event, presentations were given on topics as diverse as institutional data sharing, privacy vigilantism and cybersecurity. In the evening, Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, barrister at 11KBW and specialist in information rights, gave an informative and entertaining talk entitled ‘Does Privacy Matter?’
After an encouraging start, the Centre pursued a variety of inter-related research avenues.
One of the Centre’s main areas of interest during this period has been the progress of the Investigatory Powers Bill. During 2015, a team led by Professor Lorna Woods sought to establish the legal provenance of as many clauses in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill as possible. The Centre also collated commentary and other materials related to the Bill. These online resources support research into issues raised by the Bill around privacy, security and data sharing.
The Centre has also taken an active interest in the government’s Prevent strategy and the potential impact on freedom of expression and academic freedom brought about by the enforcement of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. In October 2015, in collaboration with the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, the Information Law and Policy Centre held a one day event considering how the Act might affect universities, their staff and students. The keynote was delivered by the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable.
Speakers have included the Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew, Heather Rogers QC, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression Frank La Rue, Dominic Grieve QC MP, Jessica Simor QC, and investigative journalists Heather Brooke and Ewen Macaskill. Numerous academics have joined discussion panels or led seminars; among these were Dr Judith Bannister, Professor Eric Barendt, Professor Ian Cram, and Professor Lilian Edwards.
We believe the Centre has had a strong start over the last 18 months and we would like to thank you for all your support of the Information Law and Policy Centre during this time. The Centre is only successful because of those of you who have attended events, given presentations, written guest blog posts, contributed to our research activities and encouraged us in the Centre’s work. We are especially grateful to our excellent advisors – both official and unofficial – and to all the external organisations and institutions with which we have partnered.
Looking ahead, we hope the Information Law and Policy Centre has an important contribution to make in the future bringing together academics, policymakers and practitioners in this field to discuss and research these issues.
As such, we are looking forward to seeing how the Information Law and Policy Centre develops under a new Director who will be appointed in the near future: the post will be advertised shortly via the University of London website.
For inquiries about the Centre’s activities, please contact our part-time research assistant Dr Daniel Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.