The UK FreeLegalWeb.org is now in beta and is an interesting looking alternative to BAILII, the current go to source for free UK case law. As their About page states, the problem is that the law just isn’t practically accessible.
FreeLegalWeb works like a library discovery tool. It is not hosting the content. It is aggregating links to the resources, so a single search will retrieve information about content from multiple sources but you will eventually link to the primary document on that source. This means you still need to know something about the sources and what their scope is.
This resource has a lot of nice features in place already – a retrieved result has links to the full text and supplemental tools, like a citator to note up cases – and the development of subject classification through crowd sourcing will make the content aggregated that much richer.
The case law search on FreeLegalWeb relies on BAILII for case law and LawCite for its citator service. This is a huge improvement, since you can now view both the BAILII text and run the link through LawCite, something which is not possible if you start your search directly on BAILII.
It will be interesting to watch this site develop and move from beta to a full online product. It will be a huge time saver for legal researchers looking for UK primary legal information.
[thanks to the Legal Informatics blog ]