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insites (web)

Every Issue

Cite as: (2006) 80(12) LIJ, p. 74

This month we review some major international legal sites which provide free access to legislation, commentary and case law as well as an insight into different legal systems. The new forms for trust audit obligations are also highlighted.

Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland

Delia Venables is a UK IT consultant who specialises in online resources for lawyers. Her site has been in existence for 10 years and despite a dated look and feel, it is updated regularly and the links to UK and Irish resources are excellent. Of particular note are the descriptions of sites providing free access to caselaw. Clicking on Information for Lawyers leads you to some useful links covering every subject from e-commerce to insurance law to human rights. Also worth investigating is the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers where at the time of writing there was a piece on the idea of virtual law firms.

Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII)

The Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII) is supported by the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII). Jointly developed and operated by the University of Hong Kong Department of Computer Science and Faculty of Law, it provides free legal information relating to Hong Kong including court and tribunal judgments, legislation, practice directions, Hong Kong Law Reform Commission publications and Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre decisions. The link to Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online is most useful as it is a full text image database providing past revised editions of legislation in PDF. Click on View all Databases from the homepage and then select the link titled Historical Laws.

Asian Law Centre – Bibliography

This Maddocks sponsored site, created and maintained by the University of Melbourne, provides access to a collection of English language materials on Asian law. It cites authoritative references from books, journal articles and theses. Click on Browse Bibliography to navigate by country. Alternatively, you can search for a key word anywhere in the database by clicking on Search Bibliography. Material is not available in full text, but links are provided when the cited references are available online. Many of the materials are also held by the University of Melbourne library. LIV members can contact the LIV library to arrange inter-library loans or to inquire about document delivery.

International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was formed at the end of World War I and became a division of the United Nations after World War II. The ILO develops international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations. Australia’s national workplace relations, equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws are directly influenced by these standards. The ILO constitution, reports, ratification information, conventions and recommendations can be found on the site. The NATLEX database is another feature worth noting. This database is maintained by the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department. It covers labour, social security and related human rights legislation in more than 170 countries and territories (links to the full text are provided where possible).

ALSO: American Law Sources On-line

Like many of the best websites (think Google or AustLII) this is surprisingly straightforward and easy to use and is a valuable starting point not just for US law, but also Canada and Mexico. The site states it “provides a comprehensive, uniform, and useful compilation of links to all on-line sources of American law that are available without charge”.

For US law enter at the federal jurisdiction level or browse each state by name. More unusual links include Native American tribal law sources, amicus curiae briefs and uniform laws and model Acts.

As the US is not a common law jurisdiction, Australian users may find the links to introductions to each jurisdiction’s legal system, including an outline of how US courts work, useful.

Trust audit obligations

With the introduction of the Legal Profession Act 2004 on 12 December 2005, changes to the responsibilities and delivery of information relating to the trust account external examination end of year obligations on 31 October 2006 have now come into operation. To assist you in meeting these obligations, the required forms can be accessed from the LIV website. There is a revised Statement of Trust Money (Trust Form 5) and Examiner’s Report (Trust Forms 6 and 7) which are to be used for the audit year ending 31 October 2006. Law practices should be deleting precedents and uploading these new forms.


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