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Insites (web)

Every Issue

Cite as: (2007) 81(7) LIJ, p. 80

This month’s websites cover international case law and legislation, the NZ Companies Register, a criminal law wiki, the biotechnology industry, a general resource for Australian laws and the LIV library’s legal research training.

WorldLII (World Legal Information Institute)

The WorldLII site has added another feather to its cap – the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the US Law Library of Congress. GLIN is a free database containing international legislation, case law and other published legal sources. It comprises contributions by government agencies and international organisations. Abstracts from GLIN, which are now searchable via WorldLII, cover 40 countries from around the world. In many of the abstracts, links are provided to legislation, cases and other relevant documents. This addition to WorldLII increases the site’s coverage to 820 databases from 123 countries.

New Zealand Companies Register

New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development’s Companies Register provides company extracts free of charge. Records contain names and addresses of company directors and shareholders as well as registered companies. Details of former directors and historic addresses are also available. The search facility is simple and effective. A Shareholder Search provides you with a list of companies in which a shareholder has shares. Likewise, a Director Search lists companies for which an individual is a director. You can even perform a Banned Director and Manager Search. This site is well worth considering if you do business in New Zealand.


Wiki, blog, and RSS are some of the new ways that information is being exchanged on the Internet. The Hawaiian word “wikiwiki” means “quick”. In web terminology a “wiki” is a site that allows for collaborative authoring – visitors are able to add, remove and edit content.

WikiCrimeLine is an example of a wiki with a legal focus. This site provides UK criminal lawyers with the opportunity to share their knowledge of the criminal justice system “for the greater public good”. Content is reviewed regularly. At the time of writing, the site offered over 1940 pages, including 64 articles on offences (covering topics from “Accomplice” to “Wounding/Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent”) and 11 articles on defences. Overviews of legislation and case law summaries are also available.

BioRegs Online

This federal government site provides information about the Australian biotechnology industry. Businesses and researchers can use it to locate information relating to exporting, licensing and commercialising biotechnology. Aimed at those unfamiliar with biotechnology, the site’s regulation overview matrix provides a comprehensible graphic representation that maps the government agencies responsible for research and product categories. The biotech web-tool is another nifty feature. It takes the user through a “decision tree pathway” that provides guidance on marketing and business development issues for biotechnology products. Regulatory considerations are also covered. A helpful explanatory guide accompanies the web-tool process.

Australian Law Online: Making it easier for Australians to solve their legal problems

This website aims “to provide Australians with ready access to clear, understandable, user-friendly information about the Australian legal system”. It is actually a portal designed to direct users on where to go for help with their legal needs. It is organised in the hierarchy or “tree” form, which allows users to browse topics to find the most specific information source. Full searching is also available. There are five broad tab entry points: All Topics; Individuals; Families; Businesses; and Service Providers. Within these sections there are various subject categories. For example, click on All Topics, then Housing and Neighbourhood then Neighbours to find sub-headings for noise; fences; animals; and nuisance which can be further refined by jurisdiction and resource type.

Legal research and Internet training

The research and Internet program developed by the Law Institute of Victoria library delivers practical research training to legal professionals. The program includes legal research and Internet research workshops, regional and suburban legal research training, and practice area based legal research training. Workshops can be held at the LIV library, local TAFE colleges or lawyers’ offices. The program complies with the CPD Rules 2007, r5.2 – Professional skills.

The library also offers free monthly library tours for members to discover what information is available, where to look for it and how to take advantage of the library’s facilities.


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