Review of a web law, a sports law and the WorldLII site

site of the month:

This is part of the website of a New York law firm. What it provides are extensive summaries of court decisions (mostly American) which are shaping the law of the web. The site contains summaries of over 250 cases on a huge range of aspects of the law including 'click-wrap' contracts (c.f 'shrink-wrap' contracts), domain name issues (including cybersquatting), spamming and meta-tags in a delightfully assorted range of contexts. The summaries are grouped by subject and are also accessible in a single file. If the case looks interesting, a single click takes you to a more detailed, but still digestible, analysis of the case with a further link to the judgment itself, if available on the web. There is a search engine too. The cases are regularly updated and there is a free e-mail updating service also available. The links section takes you to a complete set of Federal Appeals cases since 1995 as well as some American statutory material. An additional feature of the site is an up-to-date summary of some legal issues arising from September 11th. This is a simple and well-maintained resource, packed full of useful information written by lawyers for lawyers which will be of help to anyone researching web law issues in this steadily expanding field.

Subjective Rating (where 5 is excellent and 1 is poor and no rating indicate that that category has not been assessed)

Speed 5/5

Usefulness to practitioners  4/5

Usefulness to non-practitioners  1/5

Site design 4/5

Ease of use 4/5

Updating frequency 4/5

The very first of these columns reviewed the BAILII website: a product of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, which was then in an early stage. Since then a host of other LII sites have developed to deal in the same way (i.e. free and comprehensive collections of law) with the law of other areas of the world. So now we have AustLII (in fact the forerunner of BAILII), CanLII, HKLII, PacLII and IRLII. Bringing them all together is the ambitious aim of WorldLII. At the moment it is a prototype system intended to demonstrate the viability and functionality of a co-operative approach between the different LIIs. It contains databases on law for all the major land masses as well as databases on treaties, law reform, law journals and miscellaneous resources. The quantity of data is astonishing. The law of dozens of countries are covered: disappointing then to see that there are only three databases on Scots law (as opposed to 5 for Northern Territory, a state with a fraction of the population of Scotland). Still the site is still in development and is being done on a voluntary basis. For world law resources, there are many worse places to start a search.

Subjective Rating

Speed 2/5

Usefulness to practitioners  4/5

Usefulness to non-practitioners  2/5

Site design 3/5

Ease of use  4/5

Updating frequency 3/5

This London based firm claims to be the leading player (pun presumably intended) in European sports law. There may be those who dispute that or who doubt that such sports law is a distinct area at all. Far be it from me to express any opinion on that at all. The team (ditto) at Townleys seem however to do an awful lot of it and are happy to pass on at least some of their expertise in  the form of practice notes. Most are written as if they were seminar papers or articles in legal journals (and quite possibly that is what they are). They cover a range of legal practice points in relation to specific sports and across the board. You may not get left on the sidelines if you do not use this website, but there may be certain useful hints and tips for any lawyer with an interest in this area. There is not much else on the web on sports law. Try, the website of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and for a neat guide to the basics of Scottish angling law including references to the wonderful ancient statutory arcana that suffuses this area of law. 

Subjective Rating

Speed 4/5

Usefulness to practitioners  3/5

Usefulness to non-practitioners  2/5

Site design  3/5

Ease of use  4/5

Updating frequency 2/5

Derek O’Carroll welcomes comments on the reviews and suggestions for sites to review

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