BAILII, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute http://www.bailii.org/ based at IALS is a sophisticated searchable database of online primary legal resources, updated daily. It has made a huge contribution to freeing the law for students, educators and the general public, and is increasingly important in difficult financial climates as an alternative to expensive commercial databases. BAILII contains judgments, decisions, legal texts and commentaries of all kinds. In supporting all legal researchers and demonstrating its value to citizens, the service also reinforces the wider relevance of higher education and academic research.
BAILII has been a leading exponent of information sharing and an open access ethos since its formation, providing free and frequently updated online access to British and Irish case law and legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports and other law-related British and Irish material - maximising access to this key information to promote justice and the rule of law which in turn supports liberty, responsibility and understanding. BAILII is a member of the Free Access to Law Movement.
Thanks to dedicated users and supporters and tremendous work by Joe Ury and his team, BAILII was recognised by the Guardian newspaper as one of the 100 essential websites and has a global importance that is sure to increase in difficult financial climates. As published on the Guardian.co.uk site on 9 December 2009 and in the Technology news & features section of the Guardian newspaper on Thursday 10 December 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/dec/09/best-websites-internet
BAILII is the most popular free legal website!
The annual Society of Legal Scholars and BIALL Survey shows that BAILII, by a large margin, is the most popular free website with legal content which assists teaching staff and students in their law studies and which they access frequently.
The innovative funding model uses charitable status to generate funds to cover all its costs and supplement the provision of infrastructure and expertise by the Institute. IALS is the host institution for BAILII since its establishment in London, is represented on the Board of Trustees of BAILII and is involved in the management, administration and promotion of the service. IALS is pleased to work closely with BAILII since it was formed as a charitable organisation and invest in its success. Crucially BAILII enables us to extend beyond the limitations of physical resources and assists us in providing facilities for legal research to ordinary citizens without charge.
Origins of BAILII
"Free the Law" seminar
Eastham, Laurence (2000) "Free the Law" seminar - inspiration and motivation. Amicus Curiae, 2000 (23). pp. 16-18.
BAILII utilises the Sino free text search engine and a suite of hypertext mark-up, web indexing and case law capture applications devised by information systems pioneers at the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) and has shared their prior expertise with minimal metadata, search and hypertext facilities.