September 10, 2009
IALL 2009 Website Award Contest
The International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) is seeking nominations for its annual website award contest. Here is the announcement:
This is an opportunity to nominate your favourite legal information website. The winner will be announced at the 28th Annual Course in International Law Librarianship in Istanbul (Turkey), 11th - 15th October, 2009.
With this Award, the Association seeks to recognise and promote free legal information websites that are authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date, useful, and user-friendly. The selection panel will make its decision based on these criteria. The websites nominated may be those designed specifically for researchers, information professionals or librarians, in a national or international context. Websites that have a connection to the members of the selection panel cannot be nominated. The Association also wishes to emphasise that selection is not restricted to English language websites; sites in all languages are welcome (check the previous winners of the Award).
The selection panel for the 2009 Award is Ligita Gjortlere (Riga Graduate School of Law), Xinh Luu (University of Virginia), Teresa Miguel (Yale Law School) and Mirela Roznovschi (New York University).
Please send (1) the names and web addresses of your recommended websites and (2) your comments by the closing date of 14 September 2009 via E-mail or mail to:
Riga Graduate School of Law
I will submit my nominee (Audiovisual Library of International Law - http://www.un.org/law/avl/) in the next day or two. What will you nominate? [RLS]
July 16, 2009
Country Reports on Habeas Corpus Rights
The Law Library of Congress has published country reports on the right of habeas corpus in Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. Hat tip to Library Boy. [JH]
June 19, 2009
New Articles and Updated Research Guides on GlobaLex
Luxembourg: Description of the Legal System and Legal Research by Nicolas Henckes
REGARD SUR LE SYSTEME JURIDIQUE ET JUDICIAIRE DU NIGER par Bello Mahamadou Boubacar
Updated Research Guides
More articles on international, comparative, and foreign law research on GlobaLex. [JH]
June 15, 2009
Map of Disputes Between WTO Members
The World Trade Organization has created an interactive map that depicts disputes between its member states. The web page display also includes hyperlinks to enable the user to access dispute documents, a chronological list of disputes, lists of disputes by country and by subject, and GATT disputes. Hat tip to LC's Wendy Zeldin. [JH]
June 04, 2009
ICC Legal Tools on International Criminal Law and Justice
May 21, 2009
UN Launches Diplomatic Conferences for Treaties Website
The UN Office of Legal Affairs has launched a website that provides access to the official records of 12 UN diplomatic conferences that were held to to negotiate and adopt treaties. The user is provided access by individual document, and the entire collection of proceedings is searchable in full-text format. The website covers the following UN conferences:
- Law of the Sea, 1958
- Conference on Elimination or Reduction of Future Statelessness, 1959-1961
- Law of the Sea (Second Conference), 1960
- Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities, 1961
- Conference on Consular Relations, 1963
- Conference on the Law of Treaties, 1968-1969
- Law of the Sea (Third Conference), 1973-1982
- Conference on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations, 1975
- Conference on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties, 1977-1978
- Conference on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives and Debts, 1983
- Inference on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations, 1986
- Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, 1998
Hat tip to Resource Shelf. [JH]
May 20, 2009
DRM and Copyright Exceptions for Libraries: Empirical Assessment of Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive
Article 6(4) of Information Society Directive made illegal the circumvention of DRM, while attempting, simultaneously, to ensure that the legal protection of DRM does not prevent certain entities (such as, libraries, the visually impaired, teachers, students and researchers) from carrying out certain acts of copying. Studies devoted to DRM under Article 6(4) and these copyright exceptions have noted, theoretically, its legal implications.
In Technological accommodation of conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM: the first empirical assessment, Patrícia Akester (Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge) fills an existing gap by unveiling, through empirical lines of enquiry, (1) whether certain acts which are permitted by law are being adversely affected by the use of DRM and (2) whether technology can accommodate conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM - linking, thus, policy conclusions to empirical findings. The answers to these questions were studied in the context of the UK legislation implementing the Information Society Directive. Based on a series of interviews with key organisations and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, Akester provides a sober assessment of the current state of affairs.
Although DRM has not impacted on many acts permitted by law, certain permitted acts are being adversely affected by the use of DRM;
This is in spite of the existence of technological solutions (enabling partitioning and authentication of users) to accommodate those permitted acts (privileged exceptions);
Beneficiaries of privileged exceptions who have been prevented from carrying out those permitted acts (because of the employment of DRM) have not used the complaints mechanism set out in UK law;
Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive put an onus on content owners to accommodate privileged exceptions voluntarily. Voluntary measures have emerged in the publishing field, but not all content owners are ready to act unless they are told to do so by regulatory authorities.
See Akseter's proposed solutions and recommendations starting on page 100 of her report. [JH]
May 15, 2009
Should Developers Be Liable For Their Code? New EC Proposal Says "Yes"
Software companies could be held responsible for the security and efficacy of their products, if a new European Commission consumer protection proposal becomes law. Of course the industry's Business Software Alliance (BSA) is critical of the proposal but BSA spokesperson, Francisco Mingorance, does make points for why "digital content is not a tangible good and should not be subject to the same liability rules as toasters." The performance of a piece of software depends on the environment it operates in, how the code is updated, whether it is possible to adapt and modify the software, and whether the code is attacked. For more, see EC wants software makers held liable for code. Hat tip to Slashdot. [JH]
May 11, 2009
Access to Court Records in the UK and Europe
“[T]rans-European research on civil or criminal justice would appear to be impossible given” a lack of access to court records, and inconsistent regulation respecting that access, “in the various European member states,” argue Philip Leith and Maeve McDonagh in their new article, New Technology and Researchers’ Access to Court and Tribunal Information: The Need for European Analysis, 6 SCRIPTed 33 (2009). The authors call for a European-wide study of access to court records, in order to thoroughly document access barriers faced by researchers, and to develop a basis for policy recommendations.
In exploring this topic, the authors provide an enlightening discussion of the public/private status, physical/administrative accessibility, and regulation (particularly respecting article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Data Protection Directive, the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the UK Freedom of Information Act, and cases and administrative materials interpreting them) of court documents in the UK and Europe. For example, the authors observe that
“judgments from most European courts are copyright of the relevant government or agency. In the UK . . . there is some dispute over whether the judge or Court Service owns the judgment, and frequently the only text version of a judgment is copyright of the privately employed court stenographer.  Is, then, [UK and European] court based information public? Answered in toto, it certainly is not.”
The article is of potential interest to those conducting research on UK or European law, librarians who assist them, those engaged in public policy work respecting access to court records, and those who build or administer digital law collections. [Robert Richards]
April 21, 2009
New Transnational Commercial Law Website
Hat tip to Mirela Roznovschi, Reference Librarian for International and Foreign Law at New York University Law Library for calling attention to TransLex via law-lib. TransLex is a free research and codification platform for transnational commercial law that was recently launched by The Center for Transnational Law (CENTRAL) at Cologne University. TransLex can be used in different ways. You can search the entire website or browse through any of the four Sections of TransLex: Principles, Bibliography, Materials or Links. From the site description:
The TransLex-Principles contain more than 120 principles and rules of transnational law, the New Lex Mercatoria. Go through the list or use the "Jump to"-box to get to a specific Chapter. Click on the Principle of your choice and get its black letter text and access to many full-text references such as domestic statutes, legal doctrine, uniform law instruments, court decisions and arbitral awards.
TransLex-Bibliography is a selected collection of bibliographic references on transnational law organized in alphabetical order. If a text is contained in TransLex, you can click on it and you will be directed to the respective TransLex-document.
TransLex-Materials is a collection of domestic statutes, international conventions, model laws, restatements and other soft-law instruments which are of relevance for anybody doing research in transnational law and international business law.
TransLex-Links are a selected collection of links to sites which are relevant for anybody doing research in transnational law and international business law.
CENTRAL’s research activities are devoted to the law and practice of transnational business law, to the new Lex Mercatoria and to international dispute resolution. By launching this site, CENTRAL now makes available its expertise on resources available for researchers. [JH]
April 19, 2009
IALL Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey
The International Association of Law Libraries's (IALL) 28th annual course on international law librarianship will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 11-15, 2009. Titled "Turkey in a Global Context: Law & Legal Information," it will examine: (1) Turkey's legal system & legal literature; (2) digital developments & the legal system; and (3) Turkey & the European Union. Registration opens in early May. I am unsure whether I will be able to attend. But I did attend IALL's 26th annual course held in Mumbai, India, in 2007 along with around 100 other law librarians from all over the world. I learned much and was impressed greatly with the course host, organizers, and participants. I am confident that this year's course will be just as instructive and impressive. [RLS]
February 02, 2009
New Online Legal Research Tools from the UN
The UN Office of Legal Affairs, Codification Division has launched several new online resources:
- Official Records of Diplomatic Conferences;
- A new portal for all legal publications;
- UN Legal Publications Global Search; and
- RSS feed for the Audiovisual Library of International Law.
Source: UN Pulse. [JH]
December 16, 2008
New GlobaLex Research Guides
Patrick Overy is Academic Support Consultant for Law and Business at the University of Exeter, and has managed the European Documentation Centre at Exeter since 1991. He is involved in European information networks at national and international levels, especially through the European Information Association, which published European Information: a Guide to Official Sources in 2005. A new edition will be published at the end of 2008. He also compiles a weekly digest of new EU documents which is available online and distributed as an e-mail by the European Commission Office in London.
Joe Leeds is the manager of the Thailand law firm of Chaninat & Leeds. He has been working as a consultant and manager in Thailand since 1995 and is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Federal District.
The Lebanese Legal System and Research by Firas El Samad
Firas El Samad graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1994 with a BA in political science and public administration, obtained a law degree from the Lebanese University in 1995, graduated from the University of Montpellier I in 1997 with a DEA (Masters Degree) in Economic Law, and graduated from the University of Montpellier I in 2000, receiving a Doctorat en Droit Prive, (PhD). He served as lecturer at the Lebanese University in Beirut from 2001 through 2007. He is serving as Partner at Shalakany Law Firm, the Egyptian sole member of LEX MUNDI since 2000. He has participated in many conferences and completed several training courses in IT law, Anti-trust, leadership and management (Cairo- Montpellier- Cambridge- Monterey CA). Firas El Samad had been elected to the executive committee of Shalakany Law Firm in 2007 and still serving. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Business Development Committee at Shalakany Law Firm.
Scottish Legal History: A Research Guide by Yasmin Morais
Yasmin Morais is Resident Librarian at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Edward Bennett Williams Law Library. She obtained her MLIS from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and her MSc in Government from the University of the West Indies.
Petal Kinder is Court Librarian at the High Court of Australia. Prior to her commencement at the High Court Petal was the Manager of the Library and Information Services at the Federal Court in Melbourne. Before that she lectured in the Law Faculty at Monash University where she designed, implemented and taught legal research courses at undergraduate and graduate levels for over five years. Petal has written articles on legal research and also designed an interactive web based legal research program
UPDATE: An Overview of the Egyptian Legal System and Legal Research by Dr. Mohamed S. E. Abdel Wahab
Dr. Mohamed S. E. Abdel Wahab (MCIArb.), Licence en Droit -LLB (CAI), LL.M (CAI), MPhil (MAN), Ph.D (MAN), CIArb Dip. International Commercial Arbitration (Balliol College, Oxford University) is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, Cairo University, Egypt, and Assistant Director of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law (Cairo University). He has taught part-time on the LL.M, LL.B, and BA programs at Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan Universities in England. Dr. Abdel Wahab holds a number of visiting positions in Egypt and abroad where he teaches English Contract law, Introduction to Anglo-American Law, Comparative Law, and Conflict of Laws. Dr. Abdel Wahab is currently a Fellow of the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. Dr. Abdel Wahab is an Adjunct Professor of Law and International Commercial Arbitration (Indiana University, USA), and Faculty Coordinator for the Indiana Univers ity LL.M Program in Business and Comparative Law in Egypt. Dr. Abdel Wahab is also a Partner at Shalakany Law Office and serves as co-head of the Firm’s Arbitration and Project Finance/PPP Groups. Dr. Abdel Wahab was appointed vice-president of the Cairo branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 2005, and Assistant Director of the English Section at the Faculty of Law at Cairo University in 2008. Dr. Abdel Wahab also works as a Legal Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, and Counselor for International Legal Affairs and International Contracts to the Information Technology Industry Development Agency of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Egypt.
UPDATE: Finnish Law on the Internet by Sami Sarvilinna; Update by Erika Bergström
Mr. Sami Sarvilinna presently works as city counsel for the city of Helsinki. He has prominent experience from legislative work having worked as a Senior Officer for Legal Affairs in the Finnish Ministry of Justice. He holds law degrees from the University of Helsinki [LLM] and the University of Oxford [MJur], as well as a public policy degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University [MPP]. He also has a second degree from Helsinki - an MA in English, Economics and Computer Science. He is a licensed translator between Finnish and English [and vice versa] and the author of the chapter on Finland in Winterton and Moys’ Information Sources in Law [Bowker-Saur, London, 2nd ed, 1997].
Erika Bergström works as a Chief Information Specialist at the Library of Parliament of Finland. She graduated from the University of Helsinki Faculty of Law in 1997 (LLM) and obtained a post-graduate degree of law in 2006 (LL.Lic), also from the University of Helsinki. Prior to joining the Library of Parliament she worked for ten years as a lawyer and legal information specialist at one of Finland's leading law firms.
UPDATE: Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan: A Guide to Web Based Resources by Oleg Stalbovskiy & Maria Stalbovskaya
The authors of this article work as librarians at the Tashkent Open Library for Legal Information. They have been involved in important projects in the Republic of Uzbekistan, including the development of the Digital Library on Human Rights, providing organizational and methodical support for regional public law centers, providing legal information and support for people under judicial investigation, creating the website of the Open Library for Legal Information, and the development of electronic legal resources at the Open Library for Legal Information.
UPDATE: Guide to Legal Research in Norway by Pål A. Bertnes
Pål A. Bertnes has been the Director of the Law Library (Law School Library) at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo from 1983-2008. He is now a Senior Adviser at the library. As an author, editor and publisher of books and articles, and as a lecturer, his main professional interests have been related to matters concerning remedies for the retrieval of sources of law. A list of his publications is available online.
UPDATE: A Research Guide to the Turkmenistan Legal System by Oleg Stalbovskiy & Maria Stalbovskaya
The authors of this article work as librarians at the Tashkent Open Library for Legal Information.
December 10, 2008
60th Anniversary of the Most Translated Document in the World
Today is the 60th anniversary of the "most translated document" in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records -- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And hat tip to Mark Wojcik (John Marshall, Chicago), International Law Prof Blog, for calling attention to yesterday's 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. [JH]
Committee Against Torture Report
The Committee Against Torture (CAT) has issued it's report on its 39th and 40th session. The report covers the various activities of CAT as well as several discussions related to reports submitted by various government entities. [RJ]
November 22, 2008
Does the US Detention of Asylum Seekers Violate International Law?
This video, produced by NIJC intern Kevin Koll, explains how the U.S. immigrant detention system violates key international human rights standards.
Hat tip to Kevin Johnson (Dean, UC Davis School of Law), ImmigrationProf Blog. [JH]
U.N. Security Council Report 2007-2008
The Report of the U.N. Security Council to the General Assembly is now available (A/63/2). Highlights of the report include:
- Peace and security in Africa
- Middle East peace process
- Kosovo’s independence
- Protection of civilians in armed conflict
November 07, 2008
Human Rights Council Report
A new report of the Human Rights Council has been released. The report (A/63/53 + Add.1) spans the 6th-9th sessions and 5th-7th special sessions (2007-2008) and covers the activities of the Council for its sessions and includes the text of all resolutions adopted by the Council. [RJ]
October 31, 2008
Promoting Women’s Human Rights: A Resources Guide for Litigating International Law in Domestic Courts
"Promoting Women’s Rights: A Resource Guide for Litigating International Law in Domestic Courts was designed as a practical tool to help lawyers and other legal advocates use international law to advance the promotion and protection of women’s human rights in their daily lives. This guide considers how lawyers can integrate international human rights standards into domestic litigation and legal policy advocacy involving women’s rights; seeks to encourage lawyers to undertake such advocacy; and provides practical strategies on how lawyers might go about doing this. Specifically, this guide aims to be a resource for lawyers who are using or wish to use international human rights standards as a part of their litigation strategy to advance the human rights of women."
Hatip to Legal Research Plus. [RJ]
October 15, 2008
Electronic Resources from the United Nations
For the legal researcher focusing on international law, the UN has put together a fine collection of digital resources including:
- Yearbook of the United Nations (1946-2005): The Yearbook is the principal reference work of the United Nations and provides a detailed overview of the Organization's activities. Each Yearbook is fully indexed and includes all major General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council resolutions.
- United Nations Demographic Yearbook: The United Nations Demographic Yearbook collects, compiles and disseminates official statistics on a wide range of topics. The Demographic Yearbook disseminates statistics on population size and composition, births, deaths, marriage and divorce on an annual basis. Demographic Yearbook special topics issues cover a wide range of additional topics including economic activity, educational attainment, household characteristics, housing, ethnicity and language, among others.
- United Nations Statistics Division: The Statistics Division is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system. We compile and disseminate global statistical information, develop standards and norms for statistical activities, and support countries efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems. We facilitate the coordination of international statistical activities and support the functioning of the UN Statistical Commission as the apex entity of the global statistical system.