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Application of internet computer in legal research


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Presentation made by Dr. Tabrez Ahmad in All India Law Teachers Congress 2010

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Application of internet computer in legal research

  1. 1. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad Professor of Law
  2. 2., 2
  3. 3. Agenda1. Identify Web sources of value for conducting legal research ( Open Source)2. Identify subscription databases for conducting legal research, http://technolexindia. 3
  4. 4. Digital Revolution Internet Infra in INDIA Interne t INDIA Internet Infrastructure:2008.5 1Mil. Domains (0.5 Mil. “.in”) Bhart BSN i NIC L 130+ 134 Major Mail IDCs Servers ISPs ERNE T Relianc TATA e Communicatio ns4.8 Mil. High DNSpeed Internet S Enterpris IT /65 Mil. Govt. ITES eInternet Users BPO Home248 Mil. AcademiaMobile Phones8 Mil. Mobile Phones beingadded per month `Tele Density 24 per 1000person VOIP, IPTTargetted Broadband connection = 10Mil. (2010), http://technolexindia. V 4 4
  5. 5. The Research Process  Develop a research strategy  Identify appropriate information sources  Keep organized records  Critically evaluate resources  Analyze legal issues  Put it all together, http://technolexindia. 5
  6. 6. Select a Legal Topic Select an area of the law: define the problem or identify the legal issue Determine “jurisdiction,, http://technolexindia. 6
  7. 7. Primary Authority =The Law Itself Statutes(Legislation) Case Law(court decisions) Constitutions Administrative regulations and decisions Rules of procedure and ethics, 7
  8. 8. Secondary sources =Everything else/Not the law Database articles (scholarly & popular) Nonfiction books (Print or electronic) Blogs Treatises Encyclopedia articles Law Review Articles, 8
  9. 9. Where to Start Secondary authorities help explain and interpret primary sources of the law Secondary authorities provide the foundation for finding, analyzing, and applying the law Secondary authorities point you to significant sources of primary authority, http://technolexindia. 9
  10. 10. Legal Research on the WebGOOD FOR: Current and recent documents Significant or recent cases; SC cases Central & state codes, statutes and regulations Government publications Foreign and international materials, http://technolexindia. 10
  11. 11. Legal Research on the WebNOT GOOD FOR: Older cases; historical materials Full-text journal articles Treatises Complete overview of the law In-depth, thorough legal research Most of the Indian Law Journals are not in e-forms Most of the Law Books by Indian authors are not available in e-form, http://technolexindia. 11
  12. 12. What to do if you are unfamiliarwith the Internet In short, what do you do if you know little or nothing about the Internet and computers? The prominent educational philosopher, John Dewey, long ago established that the best way to learn anything was by doing it, http://technolexindia. 12
  13. 13. Where to Start Your InternetResearch and Study Thankfully, there are numerous overviews and guides available for inexperienced users of the Internet. The Internet Societys "Guide to Internet Law," ( offers links to and brief discussions of the more useful legal research sites on the Internet., http://technolexindia. 13
  14. 14.  The "Virtual Chase," a mega site sponsored by a major law firm, is strong on research articles and Internet strategies. It has an excellent section called "Other Legal Information Guides" ( that has numerous links to international legal websites. "Guide to European Legal Databases." ( Authored by Mirela Roznovschi, Reference Librarian of the New York University School of Law Library. It includes search engines for international and foreign law; search tips; indices; guides; journals; dictionaries; European legal databases; constitutions; and transnational/international organizations., http://technolexindia. 14
  15. 15.  "Guide to Foreign and International Legal Databases." ( New York Universitys huge collection of international information under the direction of the same person as the above guide. "Guide to International Trade Law Sources on the Internet." ( This comprehensive research guide to the best Internet sources for international trade law is compiled by Marci Hoffman, the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the University of Minnesota Law Library., http://technolexindia. 15
  16. 16.  "University of Minnesota Human Rights Library"( More than a research guide, this is a collection of over 6,500 human rights documents and materials including bibliographies and guides; refugee and asylum resources; human rights search engines; treaties and international instruments; with over 2,500 links to other sites. "Law on the Web" ( Compiled by James Milles, the Law Librarian at St. Louis University, this is a well-organized list of legal resources on the Internet including general guides; selected subject-area guides (including Comparative and International Law); search engines; statutes and cases. Milles uses a star system to recommend sites., http://technolexindia. 16
  17. 17.  "Guide to Law Online" ( prepar ed by the U.S. Law Library of Congress is an annotated hypertext guide to sources of information worldwide on government and law. Strong U.S. and international links including area guides, international organization links (UN, OAS, and so on), worldwide reports on human rights, international and comparative law reviews, political system and economic guides for many of the worlds nations. "InSite" ( Th e law librarians at Cornell University evaluate useful websites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary and subject access to them. "InSite" highlights selected law-related websites in two ways: first, as an annotated publication issued electronically and in print; and second, as a keyword-searchable database., http://technolexindia. 17
  18. 18. Comprehensive or "Mega" Legal WebsitesComprehensive or "mega" sites are those that include a wide array of services, functions, resources, and subject areas. Because of their extensive nature, each of the following websites provides an excellent starting point for legal study and research: "Findlaw" ( has often been billed as the best site to find other legal resources. It is designed in easy-to-view sections for legal professionals, students, businessmen, and the public. Its features include: current news, community boards (on legal issues such as immigration and cyberspace law), newsletters, a lawyer finder function, and the noted search engine, "LawCrawler." This search engine includes an international option for searching individual country domains. Some 38 legal subjects are indexed at "Findlaw" including Communications Law, Cyberspace Law, Dispute Resolution and Arbitration, Family Law, Intellectual Property, International Law, International Trade, Law and Economics., http://technolexindia. 18
  19. 19. "Global Legal InformationNetwork" (Library of Congress)(  The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) maintains and provides a database of laws, regulations, and other complementary legal sources. The site can be viewed in English, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. The documents included in the database are contributed by the governments of the member nations from the original official texts that are deposited, by agreement of the members, at the Library of Congress of the United States. This database contains: (1) full texts of the documents in the official language of the country of origin, (2) summaries or abstracts in English, and (3) thesauri in English and in as many official languages as are represented in the database. Information can be searched in English., http://technolexindia. 19
  20. 20. "Hieros Gamos" ( touts itself as the "#1 Global Law Site With 2+ Million Links." Global it is: it can be read in most of the worlds major languages, and has extensive international links and information. HGs content--divided into business, consumers, attorneys, and students--is somewhat similar to "Findlaw." Its object was to be the comprehensive starting-point for all law and law-related information. It has a search engine to search 11,000 law and government sites. HG, incidentally, is Greek for the harmonization of seeming opposites (such as earth and sky) and in this case, electronic and written information. Recently, its content and layout has become so large and extended beyond the law, that the site has begun to lose focus of its original purpose., http://technolexindia. 20
  21. 21. "Jurist" ( it has parallel sites in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the EU, and Portugal, so it is a superb global source., http://technolexindia. 21
  22. 22. "LawGuru" ( is a cornucopia of legal materials including a "QA" section with frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their answers; a database of thousands of free forms with a search engine for forms; law news; chat rooms; discussion lists; and more. Its key feature is its legal research section that allows you to do extensive legal research with access to over 500 legal search engines, tools, and databases. For a listing of its resources by topic, use the pull-down menu on the "Legal Resource" page., http://technolexindia. 22
  23. 23. Legal Information Institute (LII)"Cornell ( This site is one of the oldest and still one of the best legal information sources on the Internet. It is maintained by Cornell University. The site offers an encyclopedia called "Law About" where you can initiate your topical research. There are also vast amounts of materials (core materials for major law school courses; the UCC; Introduction to Legal Citation, and so forth that can be downloaded, some for a fee. It has a very strong collection--under "Law from Around the Globe"--which breaks down international materials country-by-country for each continent. The "Spotlight" section on the home page features law events in the news from around the world., http://technolexindia. 23
  24. 24. "MegaLaw" ( This site is geared toward the practicing lawyer (with sections, for example, on "Expert Witnesses" "Process Service", and finding court reporters). It also features "LawBot", a search engine. Unfortunately, its "International" section focuses mostly on countries outside Asia. From the Far East region, only China and Australia are listed), http://technolexindia. 24
  25. 25. "Student Law Centre" ( Sponsored by Britains BPP Law School, this site is not as vast as others in this section; yet, it presents good information for students and from the European perspective. Features include a search engine, many links, and a "Studentlaw Wire" with site news delivered free to your e-mail address., http://technolexindia. 25
  26. 26. Virtualchase“( Sponsored by a law firm and with over 500 pages of information pertaining to Internet legal resources, this site is especially good for research strategies. It is designed for lawyers and other experienced legal researchers and has a good search engine and hundreds of links., http://technolexindia. 26
  27. 27. "The World Wide Web VirtualLibrary-Law" at(  is presented by the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington. You can search with its search engine or browse the library by subject matter (all of the usual academic subjects of law) or by information source (such as law firms, law journals, or the U.S. Government. As befits its name, it has an enormous collection of links to other legal websites., http://technolexindia. 27
  28. 28. WashLawWeb" ( is maintained by the Washburn University School of Law Library. WashLaws goal is "to provide users with links to all known law-related materials on the Internet."(13) Information on the home page is arranged alphabetically, by subject, and by geographic location. WashLaw also hosts a large number of law-related Listserv discussion groups. Discussion groups are intended to provide scholarly forums for the exchange of ideas, opinions, and information relevant to law professionals. When you join a discussion group, you receive e-mail from others who have already joined. Other highlights of WashLaw include connections to more than 50 legal directories(14) and, access to foreign, international and United Nations materials.(15) You can even subscribe free to a list of new law-related websites that will be e-mailed to you., http://technolexindia. 28
  29. 29. Yahoo!" (  "Yahoo!" is one of the Webs favorite portals and a major directory. Its law section is simple and easy to use. It starts with a search engine and then a vast array of subject categories including many unusual ones like: Booksellers, Attorneys, Self-help, and Indigenous Peoples. It also contains an annotated list of helpful legal links. This directory section is not as large as many other comprehensive sites but it serves as an excellent starting-point for legal research., http://technolexindia. 29
  30. 30. Two Favorite Websites: "Jurist" andCybertimes (New York Times) A. "Jurist" Both of the websites in this section are ones that I have found particularly useful and well suited for legal research and study. If I had to pick just one out of all the websites available worldwide, it would be "Jurist" ( "Jurist" rightly describes itself as the "Internets legal education portal," a "university-based academic gateway to authoritative legal information, instruction, and scholarship online."(16) It is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law under the guidance of Professor Bernard Hibbitts, and edited by a team of law professors from law schools across the United States and around the world. It is especially designed for individuals learning, teaching, or researching law --that is, legal scholars, law students, law librarians, lawyers and judges, journalists, and interested citizens. It is advertisement- free, non-commercial, and provided to the public at no charge. "Jurist" is updated many times daily and is chock full of information., http://technolexindia. 30
  31. 31. Cyber Times at The New York TimesWebsite. The New York Times has long been a mainstay of the world press. Now, you can register and access the electronic version of The Times at( Registration is free, fast and easily done on the sites homepage. Having registered, you can now read the online version of this authoritative newspaper including a first-rate section devoted to high technology--that is appropriately called "Cyber Times", ( On Mondays, Cyber Times is devoted to E-commerce and the New Economy; on Wednesdays, Education; on Thursdays, "State of the Art"; and best of all, on Fridays, to Cyber Law. The Cyber Law Journal reports on the legal issues raised by the Internet, including copyrights and trademarks, privacy, freedom of expression, and restrictions on pornography and other content. Each electronic issue contains about twenty articles., http://technolexindia. 31
  32. 32. BAILII ( ) British and Irish Legal Information Institute Access to Freely Available British and Irish Public Legal Information. Where you can find British and Irish case law & legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material., http://technolexindia. 32
  33. 33. SSRN ( ) Social Science Research Network, http://technolexindia. 33
  34. 34. The "Searching the Net" section, forexample, gives you links to 33 different searchengines including "Yahoo!" and "Google." Some links listed on "Navigator" there that are particularly helpful in legal study and research include the following: "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez" (, a multimedia site with digital tapes of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments and case digests. "Thomas" (, a site (named for President Thomas Jefferson) operated by the U.S. government, this is a one-stop site for federal legislation and information., http://technolexindia. 34
  35. 35.  "National Law Journal" ( by the same publishers of the popular print journal, with legal news and policy discussions. "Cyberspace Law Institute" ( a think tank without walls that has many good policy papers on cyberlaw topics. "Harvard Journal of Law and Technology" ( a cutting-edge legal periodical. "" ( a free, online consumer version of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Dictionary. Tells you how and where to find lawyers, includes message boards., http://technolexindia. 35
  36. 36. Search Engines and Directories "All-inOne Search Page" ( is not so much a single search engine as a site with over 500 of the Internets best search engines, databases, and directories "AltaVista" ( "Excite" ( "HotBot" ( "Lycos" (, http://technolexindia. 36
  37. 37.  Metacrawler" ( uses many different search engines. "Northern Light" ( "WebCrawler" ( "Yahoo!" ( Although "Yahoo!" is listed generically here as a "search engine", it is more accurately described as a "directory." A "directory" differs from a search engine in that it is manually created. Live human being submit their websites to Yahoo for listing, and if Yahoo accepts them, they are assigned to an appropriate category or categories by an editor (who is alive as an editor can be)., http://technolexindia. 37
  38. 38.  Here are some "legal specific" search engines: "CataLaw" ( a catalog of catalogs of worldwide law on the Internet "Derecho" ( a Spanish-language law search engine "FindLaw LawCrawler" ( "LawGuru" ( ), http://technolexindia. 38
  39. 39.  "Meta-Index for U.S. Legal Research" ( "Law Search" ( a legal search engine sponsored by the Florida Mediation Group. "TheLawEngine!" ( also designed as a comprehensive law site "Zimmermans Research Guide" ( an online encyclopedia for legal research., http://technolexindia. 39
  40. 40. Technolexindia TechnolexIndia ( is the content aggregator dedicated to law exclusively to the IP Law and Cyberlaw. It is committed to the cause of creating and promoting mass awareness about the need to have detailed national & international legal framework of cyberspace and IPR., http://technolexindia. 40
  41. 41. , http://technolexindia. 41
  42. 42.  Search engines have different strengths and weaknesses, and even the more efficient ones never search the entire Web. Indeed, it has been estimated that all search engines index only roughly 47% of all sites on the World Wide Web, with the largest single search engine only indexing about 16% of the WWWs content. A reasonably prudent researcher should, therefore, use several search engines for the same query. Because the competition among search engines is fierce, each is constantly adding new features. "Check back on search sites to see what is new," advises one authority, to see "if the new features will help you on your search.To keep tabs on search engines, and for useful tips on how to conduct a search, look at "Searchenginewatch"(, http://technolexindia. 42
  43. 43. Subscription-based databasesGREAT FOR: Locating full-text articles, law reviews, some treatises Locating retrospective and current articles and cases Florida case law not in West Law/Lexis-Nexis, 43
  44. 44. Secondary Sources Treatises Law reviews and articles Encyclopedias and dictionaries, http://technolexindia. 44
  45. 45. Locating treatises  Aleph, online catalog  NetLibrary  WorldCat  Index Master All are subscription databases., http://technolexindia. 45
  46. 46. Locating law reviews  LexisNexis Academic  Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP), 1980-  ILP Retrospective, -1980  LegalTrac  Hein Online  JSTOR; Project Muse  E-journals page All of these are subscription databases, 46
  47. 47. Locating law reviews  Emory’s list of legal journals  Findlaw’s list  Google Scholar  Law Library of Congress  University Law Review Project All of these are free Internet sites, http://technolexindia. 47
  48. 48. Encyclopedias and Dictionaries Pathfinders/Research Guides  LLRX (Law Library Resource Exchange)  Pathfinders Online encyclopedias  Zimmerman’s Online Encyclopedia  Cornell LII’s Wex Online dictionaries  dictionary  ‘Lectric Law Lexicon, http://technolexindia. 48
  49. 49. Case Law Court Web sites  Florida Supreme Court Portal Web sites  Florida State Courts   National Law Journal Subscription databases  Lexis-Nexis Academic  Hein Online, http://technolexindia. 49
  50. 50. Case law – Portal sites Text of Opinions  Findlaw: Cases and Codes   Cornell LII  American Law Sources Online (ALSO)  National Law Journal  Federal Court Locator  Florida State Courts, http://technolexindia. 50
  51. 51. Case law – US Supreme Court Opinions FREE  Supreme Court 1991 to present  Findlaw 1893 to present  1790 to present SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES  Hein Online 1754 to present  BNA U.S. Law Week, 1997 to present  LexisNexis Academic, http://technolexindia. 51
  52. 52. Case law – US Supreme Court  Oral Arguments  Supreme Court site (transcript)  Oyez Project (audio)  Records and Briefs  Findlaw 1999 to present, http://technolexindia. 52
  53. 53. Case law – Federal courts  PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)  Electronic public access to service that allows users to obtain:  Case information  Docket information  Documents  From Federal Courts  Courts of Appeal  District & Bankruptcy courts, http://technolexindia. 53
  54. 54. Case law – Federal courts  Searching PACER  U.S. Party/Case Index  PACER District Look-Up  Subscription database:  agencies or individuals must register  Very inexpensive  $.08/page (applies to number of pages that results in any search), OR  $.60/minute charge  $2.40 maximum per document, http://technolexindia. 54
  55. 55. Case law – Federal courts  Other sites for federal cases:  free Internet  LexisNexis Academic subscription, 55
  56. 56. Case law – Florida Free, Internet  Florida Law Online portal site  ALSO: Florida (portal site)  Florida Supreme Court 1999+  Fla. SC Records and Briefs Apr 1998+  FSU Briefs and opinions Nov 1989+  WFSU Oral Arguments Online 1997+  Opinions from other Florida courts Subscription  Florida Law Weekly 1995+  LexisNexis Academic – State search, 56
  57. 57. Court Rules LLRX’s Court Rules U.S. Supreme Court, Cornell LII Federal Judiciary, http://technolexindia. 57
  58. 58. Constitutions U.S. Constitution (GPO Access) U.S. Constitution (Library of Congress) Florida Constitution, http://technolexindia. 58
  59. 59. Statutes - Federal Portal sites  Law Library of Congress Federal  GPOAccess, Cornell LII, US House of Representatives site, Thomas, http://technolexindia. 59
  60. 60. Statutes - States Florida  Online Sunshine constitution, statutes  Department of State public laws  Digest of General Laws only electronic  Law Library of Congress portal site Other States  Findlaw, Cornell LII, Law Library of Congress Municipal Codes --, http://technolexindia. 60
  61. 61. How the Internet helps in legal research & teaching-Always keeps you in touch with students- A modelfor teaching IP Law Google Group- ipr.kls Ibibo Message Group-Technolex Free Blogger Blog- IPLex See syllabus of different universities in India and the world Syllabus uploaded on group- IPLex Research on Manupatra, WestLaw and Lexis Nexis Relevant cases and articles uploaded on group ipr.kls before every lecture-, http://technolexindia. 61
  62. 62.  PPT slides are uploaded on internet and shared on the group Sharing of question and answer on the group-ipr.kls Recent developments written on blog IPLex and linked to the group Feed back on class test, examinations, and presentation shared on the group-ipr.kls Students are asked to follow good blogs,For eg. Michael Geist Blog, Ipkat, IPLex, SpicyIP, IPCanvas, WIPO website., http://technolexindia. 62
  63. 63. Conclusion. The advent of the Internet has begun to transform commerce and academia alike. Legal research on the Internet presents a low-cost, efficient supplement to traditional means of scholarship, and in Asia, as in other developing areas, is particularly useful since there are no great libraries. It is hoped that this presentation will give the participating law teachers some ideas on the possibilities of integrating this new technology into their legal research and teaching., http://technolexindia. 63
  64. 64., 65