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insites (web)

Every Issue

Cite as: (2003) 77(8) LIJ, p.76

Among this month’s reviews are the revamped Supreme Court website and the Old Bailey Proceedings Online Project.

Supreme Court of Victoria

The Supreme Court site has recently been comprehensively redesigned. Navigation is now simpler, the layout is more visually accessible, and those annoying frames have gone, making it possible to bookmark pages on the site that you refer to frequently. All the old content is still there (such as daily lists, judgment summaries, rules and practice notes) and some extra content like court publications have been included. If you’ve been avoiding the site because you found the old structure too clumsy, schedule a revisit.

Foreign Investment Review Board

Another site that has recently undergone a facelift is that of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). While the new design includes a strange three-way menu system that is a bit fiddly, the content is still reasonably accessible. The site features FIRB policy documents, application forms, links to relevant legislation, and a comprehensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. There are short summaries of foreign investment restrictions in various sectors such as banking, civil aviation, shipping, media and telecommunications, and more detailed information about regulatory requirements in the different real estate categories. Most documents on the site can be downloaded in either PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Australian Taxation Office

For a site that has an incredible amount of content, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) site works remarkably well. Inevitably, though, some things get buried. One of these is the Australian CPI figures (weighted average, all capital cities) going back to September 1985 – almost 20 years of CPI data in a single handy table and easy to access if you know it’s there. To access the figures, go to the ATO homepage and choose the Search & Contents option at the top of the menu on the left-hand side. Type “CPI” into the search box and click “search”.

Reserve Bank of Australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia site is a practical, no frills source of information, statistics and publications relating to monetary policy, financial system stability and the payments system. It’s dry stuff – the detailed explanation of the polymer technology used in Australian currency notes is about as thrilling as it gets. Most of the statistics can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format, and key information pages offer “printer friendly” versions that edit out the site’s navigation bars. One of the more useful sets of statistics on the site is exchange rates going back to 1983 (US dollar, Euro, pound sterling, yen, won, ringgit etc.).

The Old Bailey

The aim of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online Project is to establish a free, searchable collection of all surviving editions of the Old Bailey proceedings from 1674 to 1834. At the time of writing 22,000 trials, from December 1714 to December 1759, were available. A further 40 years of material (until 1799) was scheduled to be released in July 2003. The Old Bailey was London’s central criminal court; the recorded crimes are mostly felonies, along with some serious misdemeanours. These published proceedings were not initially targeted at a legal audience – they were intended to entertain a popular audience. Search options include keyword, name, place, crime, verdict and punishment, or an advanced search combining several of these options.

Law Institute of Victoria – IT in the legal practice

This resource on the LIV website includes information on the use of technology in legal practices and links to a variety of providers of software relevant to office managers and legal practitioners. The information is intended to be relatively easy to understand and ranges from the basic issues pertaining to buying computers to dealing with computer viruses, litigation support software suppliers and legal accounting systems, document management software, encryption, Internet access, spam and the risks associated with connecting your office to the Internet, and the benefits of establishing your own law firm’s website.

You can access this members’ only resource via the above URL or navigate to it via the “In Practice” and “Legal Technology” descriptors.

Website reviews are provided by the Law Institute library. For more information on legal websites, see the Guide to Legal Internet Sites at


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