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Judges and the law
Judges and the law

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4.2.10 DVD-ROMs and internet facilities

As in most other fields, the growth of information technology has revolutionised law reporting and law finding. Many of the law reports mentioned above are available both on DVD-ROM and via the internet through legal databases such as Justis, Lawtel, Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw UK. Many such databases, however, require you to complete a registration process and there may be a charge for the service. Altrnatively they may be available, for free, to registered university or college students studying recognised accredited courses. You will find that many case databases are not immediately available to you.

The first major electronic cases database was the Lexis system, which gave immediate access to a huge range of case authorities, some unreported elsewhere. The problem for the courts was that lawyers with access to the system could simply cite lists of cases from the database without the courts having access to paper copies of the decisions. The courts soon expressed their displeasure at this indiscriminate citation of unreported cases trawled from the Lexis database (see Stanley v International Harvester Co. of Great Britain Ltd (1983)).

Figure 7
Figure 7: Many reports can be found online