Free-Access Case Law Enhancements for Australian Law
FREE ACCESS, QUALITY OF INFORMATION, EFFECTIVENESS OF RIGHTS, G. Peruginelli, M. Ragano, eds., European Press Academic Publishing, 2009
11 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 18, 2009
Sophisticated use of case law is essential to the work of Courts, Tribunals and the legal profession. A major problem is to identify all subsequent cases which have considered an earlier case, which is essential in order to assess how authoritative that earlier case is now. This is difficult because subsequent Courts do not refer to earlier cases consistently. The names given to the same case have considerable variation depending on the publisher. Furthermore there may be multiple law reports by commercial publishers each with its own citation system (‘parallel citations’), so the same case may have numerous unrelated citations. Finally the same case may have been published online by the Court, AustLII or a government, using yet other citations.
This paper describes a research project which aims to automate the extraction of many types of data from case law available through collaborating free access services, so as to create various types of enhanced case law facilities. A prototype case citator (LawCite) developed by automated means is described, one of the first outputs from the project. This paper focuses on enhancements to free access Australian case law on AustLII, but LawCite has been extended to include international data from collaborating LIIs and also data from other databases maintained by AustLII on AsianLII, CommonLII and WorldLII, making it a free access international law citator.
Keywords: AustLII, free access to legal information, legal information systems, legal information institutes, LIIs, citations, case law
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