Recent Open Access Development in the U.K.: “Briefing on Mandatory Open Access Policies”

The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) representing all university libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland published last month a 135-page document

Briefing on Mandatory Open Access Policies

Prepared by Sarah Durrant, Red Sage Consulting and Ann Rossiter

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

New Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) Issue

The Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) has just published its most recent issue GoJIL Vol. 4 No. 3 (2012).

There are 8 different articles, including the 1st one by Jochen von Bernstoff, which analyzes Georg Jellinek’s ideas on State sovereignty as well as his concept of ‘auto-limitations’ in the 20th century.

There are also 2 articles on the principles of international criminal law, and 3 articles on the impact of human rights on international and national developments.

Among these latter 3 is the article written by the winner of the annual Student Essay Competition, Roee Ariav, and an article that deals with the issue of so called ‘land grabbing’ in Sub-Saharan Africa, written by Semahagn Gashu Abebe.

GOJIL is an e-journal of legal scholarship focusing on International Law. It is the first German international law journal published exclusively in English and is run by students from the University of Goettingen.

Leveson Report on Culture, Practices and Ethics of the British Press

The recently-published judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson (Sir Brian Henry Leveson), is available here.

From the concluding page (paragraph 146) of the Executive Summary:

I end where I started this Summary. This is the seventh time in less than 70 years that the issues which have occupied my life since I was appointed in July 2011 have been addressed. No-one can think it makes any sense to contemplate an eighth. The ball is now in the court of the politicians. I expect my recommendations to be treated in exactly the same cross-party spirit which led to the setting up of this Inquiry. The Rt Hon Sir John Major put it graphically: “I have no idea what this Inquiry will recommend, but if it makes recommendations that require action, then I think it is infinitely more likely that that action will be carried into legislation if it has the support of the major parties. If it does not, if one party breaks off and decides it’s going to seek future favour with powerful proprietors and press barons by opposing it, then it will be very difficult for it to be carried into law, and I think that is something that is very important. So I think there is an especial responsibility on the leaders of the three major parties. 20-odd years ago – 23 years ago, I think – a senior minister said the press were drinking in the last-chance saloon. I think on this occasion it’s the politicians who are in the last-chance saloon. If, at the end of this Inquiry, with the recommendations that may be made – and I don’t seek to forecast what they may be, but if the recommendations that are made are not enacted and nothing is done, it is difficult to see how this matter could be returned to in any reasonable period of time, and those parts of the press which have behaved badly will continue to behave badly and put at a disadvantage those parts of the press that do not behave badly.

I reiterate: I think the underlying purpose is to eliminate the bad behaviour and bring the bad up to the level of the good, and the bad is just a cancer in the journalistic body. It isn’t the journalistic body as a whole. And I think in the interests of the best form of journalism, it is important that whatever is recommended is taken seriously by Parliament, and it is infinitely more likely to be enacted if neither of the major parties decides to play partisan short-term party politics with it by seeking to court the favour of an important media baron who may not like what is proposed.” FN29


FN 29 page 61 line 22 – page 62 line 21: https://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Transcript-of- Morning-Hearing-12-June-2012.pdf

For further information, see, e.g., here.

New Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) Issue on the Precursors to International Constitutionalism; Call for Papers for Next Issue on the Law and Politics of Indigenous Peoples in International Law

The Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) has just published its most recent issue (Volume 4, Number 2) on the precursors to international constitutionalism, especially the development of the German constitutional approach, which is available here.

GOJIL is an e-journal of legal scholarship focusing on International Law. It is the first German international law journal published exclusively in English and is run by students from the University of Goettingen.

Call for Papers

The next issue of GOJIL (Volume 5, Number 1) will focus on the law and politics of indigenous peoples in international law.

Indigenous peoples have received increasing public and scholarly attention over the last decades. They have had a unique journey from colonial times to the beginning of their political presence in the United Nations since the 1970s to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. The UN’s International Year for the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993, as well as the following decades of the world’s indigenous peoples from 1995 to 2004 and 2006 to 2015, indicate the ongoing need to attend to indigenous peoples’ interests. Discourses on indigenous peoples rights and their claim for self-determination are now found beyond international human rights law. Today topics such as intellectual property rights, control over the exploitation of natural resources, the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are on the agenda. Underlying all this is the constant debate about an appropriate definition of “indigeneity” and the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights beyond the Americas, particularly in Asia and Africa. In order to shine a light on the legal and political problems indigenous peoples are facing, GOJIL calls for authors to submit papers on the topic by March 1, 2013. For more information, please email: info@gojil.eu.

The superhero approach to legal research

We haven’t asked our students to buy a textbook in advanced legal research for a long time.  The existing books are just too darn expensive.  But a new book crossed my desk today that looks particularly useful for teaching legal research; it is:  The Law of Superheroes (catalog record copied below).

This book starts with three pages explaining “Legal Sources and Citations” that explain legal citation about as well as anything I’ve seen.  It also points the reader, presumably the lay reader, to sources of free law:  Google Scholar for legal opinions; Cornell’s LII for the United States Code.  Peter Martin is cited on page xiii, so this tells me the authors know their research!

Throughout the book are wonderful footnotes explaining, in the clearest language possible, different aspects of legal research.  For example, footnote #4 on p. 113:

. . . Restatements of law are scholarly works that attempt to set forth the majority position on particular areas of law or recommended changes to the majority position.  They mostly cover subjects that are still primarily common law rather than those based on legislation. The Restatements are not law themselves, but courts often find them persuasive, and many sections of various Restatements have been adopted as law by state courts.

The section on immigration (is Superman a citizen?) offers a great explanation of private laws:

Private Acts of Congress

There’s another way that someone can become a citizen without going through the immigration process: a “private act” of Congress, i.e., a law targeting a specific person and declaring him or her to be a citizen.[fn 9]  Although unusual today, private acts have a long history in the United States.[fn10]  . . . As a matter of fact, in at least one story, Superman is granted citizenship by every country in the world, presumably by their respective versions of a private act of Congress. . . .

9. . . . These bills are not very common, nor are they usually passed, but it happens.

10.  In fact, for decades after the founding of the country, private acts by state legislatures were the only way for a legitimate 9i.e., non-annullable) marriage to be dissolved.  Similarly, prior to the passage of general incorporation statutes, which create the procedures by which corporations may be chartered with state-level secretaries of state, creating a corporate entity required an act of the state legislature.

The sections on international and interplanetary law are really fun, and explain the very basics of “law” itself:

The important thing to remember about international law . . . is that international law is a matter of custom and practice as much as it is anything else.  This is true of domestic law as well, and is really the reason the common law exists: a “law” is, essentially, a custom or tradition that is enforced by a government.  In the case of common law that tradition is built up by the decisions of the courts. . . .

I may have more to add later, as I’m taking this book home with me for the Thanksgiving break.

Here’s its catalog record:

The law of superheroes / James E. Daily and Ryan M. Davidson.

At the Library:
Crown (Law) > Basement > PN56 .L33 D35 2012

Bookmark: http://searchworks.stanford.edu/catalog/9734665

 

Legal Information Institute for China?

The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) have been spearheading the free access to law movement throughout the world. Until recently, China has been conspicuously absent from the family of LIIs; however, that may soon change.

The Internet Law Review (网络法律评论) from Peking University Law School is working on an upcoming article that focuses on the possibility of forming a legal information institute in China. Keep an eye out for the article tentatively titled: “Law via the Internet: Why there is no LII for China.”

If you are interested in China’s development of a LII or Chinese legal research in general, you may wish to attend the the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries (CAFLL) Conference scheduled for Shanghai from June 11-12, 2013. CAFLL conferences offer a unique opportunity for Chinese and foreign law librarians to exchange ideas and expertise.

Additional conference information is available at the CAFLL Website:

http://cafllnet.org/annual-conference/

Wishing our Chinese colleagues good luck with promoting free access to law in China.

Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

The University of Zurich’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Legal Studies has announced the launch of an open access, peer-reviewed  journal titled “Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law”

Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (EJIMEL)
http://www.ejimel.uzh.ch/index.html

From the journal’s Mission Statement

The Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (EJIMEL) is a publication by the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Legal Studies (CIMELS) at the Faculty of Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland, founded in summer 2012. EJIMEL strives to contribute to the understanding of the large geographical area composing the Middle East guided by the awareness that this region has obtained a key position on the world stage over the last decades and keeps evolving fast. Covering a region which is rich in diversity and heritage, EJIMEL individuates itself by laying a special focus on the multifaceted relations between Islam and national and international law orders over the course of time and from different points of view. Furthermore, EJIMEL aims to contribute to the on-going highly topical debates of regional and global interest in the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, such as, e.g., Democratization, Gender and Human Rights, and to highlight interdependencies of Middle Eastern law orders with other jurisdictions worldwide. The editors aim is to foster a vivid debate focusing on the correlation between Islam as a religion with a distinct body of legal norms and the paramount principles and guarantees of current international law, as well as to inquire into key phenomena in Middle Eastern law orders such as, e.g., “Re-Islamisation”, which have influenced both codifications and scholarly discourse in a significant way.

From the journal’s Open Access Philosophy

In line with this objective, EJIMEL follows the Open Access standard and published articles are freely available online and for download. Whereas authors retain the copyright, they grant EJIMEL the right of publication and archiving with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Researching 18th Century Judicial Cases from the Parlement of Paris

The latest issue of French History offers an illuminating  article by the legal historian David Feutry on the difficulties of researching judicial cases from the Parlement of Paris, an important judicial appellate body during the Ancien Régime.  The Parlement’s defense of aristocratic privileges and corruption has influenced French thinking about the the proper role of the judicial branch since the French Revolution.

Feutry explains that the organization of the Parlement’s documents and finding aids and the often labyrinthine procedural histories of the cases make researching the files a daunting task.

“It is a complex business to find a case or judgment in the registers of the Parlement. Not only is the date of a decision required, but the way in which the matter was decided; something brought for a hearing might have been through every stage, from hearing right through to a final decision by one of the chambers of Inquests. In that case different stages of its progress would be recorded separately in all the series of the Parlement’s records.” … “a case is unlikely to be found in a single user friendly archival unit.”

In addition to the complexity of Parlement registers, the author reminds us that fires and deliberative destruction destroyed many valuable records.The article also provides an excellent diagram showing the many different paths a case could take through the chambers of the Parlement of Paris.

The Historian’s Mountain of Paper: the Parlement of Paris and the Analysis of Civil Suits in the Eighteenth Century
David Feutry
translated by Bill Doyle
26 French History 277 (2012)

French Patent Cases in English

Véron & Associés, a French patent litigation firm, maintains a database of  French patent court opinions translated into English. The judgments are from Parisian district courts, court of appeals, and the Cour de Cassation.  Years of coverage are 2001 through 2012. The quality of the translations is excellent, preserving the substance of the legal holdings without sacrificing readability. They also provide copies of the original French language opinions.

French Patent Case Law in English:
http://www.frenchpatentcaselaw.info/
http://www.veron.com/en/FPCL.asp

Hat tip to Jean Gasnault

Report on Convictions for Human Rights Violations in Chile

On May 31st, The Human Rights Observatory (Observatorio de Derechos Humanos) of the University Diego Portales released a list of military and police officials serving prison sentences for human rights abuses in Chile committed during General Pinochet’s dictatorship.The list includes name and rank of those convicted, names of victims, length of prison sentences, and locations of the prisons.

Individuals Serving or Having Completed Prison Sentences for Human Rights Violations 1973-1990 (in Spanish)

http://www.icso.cl/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Cond_presos_mayo_2012.pdf

Branch and Armed Forces Rank of Perpetrators Currently in Prison: Chile (in English)
Descriptive statistics and graphs compiled from the list of convictions.

http://www.icso.cl/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Rangos-de-agentes-presos-a-MAY-2012_ENG.pdf

Human Rights Observatory (Observatorio de Derechos Humanos) Website

http://www.icso.cl/observatorio-derechos-humanos/