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Sources of legal information - Maria Mawson and Peter Smith)

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A presentation from the Legal Information training day held by SINTO on 8th April 2010.

A presentation from the Legal Information training day held by SINTO on 8th April 2010.

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  • A frequent problem is that the SI number isn’t quoted, making them slightly harder to find.
  • OPSI site covers all jurisdictions, Acts & SI’s. Also legislation in original and revised format, and explanatory notes for some more recent acts in original form. SLD quite clunky! Some revisions since 2002 not yet incorporated into the database – must be checked separately.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Sources of legal information Maria Mawson, University of Sheffield Pete Smith, Sheffield Hallam University SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 2. Outline
      • Understanding and finding legislation
      • Understanding and finding case law
      • The European dimension
      • Sources for general legal enquiries
      • How can academic libraries help?
      • Practical exercises (after lunch!)
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 3. Understanding and finding legislation SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 4. The first stage – consultation
      • Consultation documents (Green Papers)
      • Policy proposals (White Papers)
      • These are usually published as Command Papers
      • http://www.opsi.gov.uk/official-publications/command-papers/index.htm link
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 5. Bills
      • The first stage in the process proper is a Bill. Before it becomes an Act of Parliament, it must go through a series of readings, debates and Committee stages in both Houses of Parliament.
      • http://services.parliament.uk/bills/ link
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 6. Acts of Parliament
      • Also referred to as Statutes.
      • Public General Acts relate to public policy and apply throughout the jurisdictions they cover. These may include England & Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland.
      • The Scottish Parliament & the N. Ireland Assembly also have the power to make Acts.
      • Local & Personal Acts relate to particular organisations, geographical areas or groups of people, and therefore have limited application.
      • An Act may not come into force immediately
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 7. Citation & structure
      • Children and Young Persons Act 2008 c.23
      • All Acts are structured in the same way and include short title, chapter number, long title, date of Royal Assent, enacting formula.
      • The main body of the Act is divided into sections, subsections & schedules.
      • Commencement & extent information is always included in one of the sections. Link
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 8. Statutory Instruments
      • SI ’ s are a form of secondary, or delegated legislation. They may bring Acts into force (Commencement Orders) or may add detail to a provision in an Act (Regulations, Rules)
      • SI ’ s may also be used to implement EU legislation
      • Acts of Parliament give authority to government ministers to make SI ’ s, and although they must be approved by Parliament, they are not debated in the same detail that Bills are.
      • SI ’ s are also made by the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, & the N.Ireland Assembly
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 9. Statutory Instruments – citation
      • The Credit Rating Agencies Regulations 2010 SI 2010/906
      • The UK Borders Act 2007 (Commencement No. 5) Order 2008 SI 2008/3136
      • The SI number is often missed out
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 10. Statutory Instruments - structure
      • All SI ’ s follow the same structure: year & number, subject headings, title including year, date made & commencement date, numbered text paragraphs.
      • An SI may also include Schedules and explanatory notes link
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 11. Free online sources
      • Office of Public Sector Information web site. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/about_legislation link
      • Statute Law Database http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/ link
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 12. I have a problem with… Helping with general legal enquiries SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 13. Legal portals
      • Directgov www.direct.gov.uk link
      • Legal Resources in the UK www.venables.co.uk link
      • Infolaw www.infolaw.co.uk link
      • … there are others
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 14. Other sources
      • Up to date textbooks on the relevant area of law may be the best starting point
      • Looseleaf manuals – updated regularly but expensive, and not widely available
      • Halsbury’s Laws – comprehensive & current BUT costly & complicated, so becoming less widely available, and many libraries are moving to online access
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 15. How can academic libraries help?
      • Access issues – opening times, online replacing print. Staff time & availability
      • If a customer knows which documents they need, and we have them in print format, we can usually help
      • Advance contact by email or phone is essential – for any enquiry
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10
    • 16.
      • Sheffield Hallam University http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/sls/learning/external.html
      • http://catalogue.shu.ac.uk/
      • University of Sheffield http://www.shef.ac.uk/library/services/visitors.html
      • http://library.shef.ac.uk/
      SINTO Legal Information Seminar 8/4/10