UNRIC Backgrounders

The United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe Backgrounders are a great resource for locating UN documents and sites covering international law topics and selected countries
These guides provide links to treaties, UN resolutions, UN press releases, UN reports and UN Web sites. Many thanks to the UNRIC Library staff for posting these useful guides online.

UNRIC Library Backgrounders

http://www.unric.org/en/unric-library-backgrounders

Backgrounders are available for the following countries:
Afghanistan
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Gaza
Iraq
Kosovo
Libya
Mali
Myanmar
Somalia
South Sudan
Sudan/Darfur
Sri Lanka
Syria
Yemen

Backgrounders are available for the following topics:
Biodiversity
Climate Change
Desertification
Disability
Disarmament
Educational Resources
Food Waste
Forests
Genocide
Global Food Crisis
Human Rights
Human Rights Council
Middle East
Migration
Millennium Development Goals
Nuclear Disarmament
Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations
Peacebuilding Commission
Peacekeeping
Poverty
Protection of civilians in armed conflict
Racism
Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
Sustainable Development
Terrorism
Youth

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/

 

 

New Argentine Law Journals from Ediciones Infojus

Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights publishing house Ediciones Infojus recently launched five legal journals that will be available free of charge on their Infojus legal portal site. All five journals will publish three issues per year. Registration is required to access the full-text.

http://www.infojus.gov.ar/index.php?kk_seccion=revistas

Details about  the five journals:
Revista de Derecho Privado (ISSN 2250-8015)
volume 1 devoted to BioLaw and includes an index.

Revista Derecho Público (ISSN 2250-8031)
Volume 1 includes full-text of selected new statutes and articles on communications law, protection of rural land, UNASUR, and  economic aspects of foreign investment laws.

Revista Derecho Penal (ISSN 2250-8066)
Volume 1 focuses on alternatives to incarceration and includes an index.

Revista Derecho del Trabajo (ISSN 2250-8074)
Voulme 1 devoted to outsourcing.  Includes legislative and case law updates and an index.

Filosofía del Derecho (ISSN 2250-8058)
Volume 1 contains articles on theoretical, methodological and normative aspects of law.

Additional information about this journal project is available in Spanish at

http://www.prensa.argentina.ar/2012/06/05/31291-alak-presento-ediciones-infojus.php

China Guiding Cases Project Update & Volunteer Opportunities

The China Guiding Cases Project is pleased to announce the opportunity to volunteer with the CGCP!  We are currently accepting applications to be part of the CGCP team over the coming year.  If you are interested in working with our diverse and experienced team on producing high quality products aimed at advancing understanding of Chinese law both inside and outside of China, please visit http://cgc.law.stanford.edu/volunteer.  Note that applications are due June 30, so don’t delay!

We are also pleased to announce the launch of Phase II of the China Guiding Cases Project website (http://cgc.law.stanford.edu)!  Visit the site now to see the following new features:

FOUR (4) China Law Summaries.  Visit our site to learn how Contract Law, Environmental and Resources Law, Intellectual Property Law and Labor Law is practiced in China.  Each summary includes an overview of the area of law, historical background, and reference materials linked to the original sources of law available in English and Chinese!
Quotes on the 1st FOUR (4) Guiding Cases.  Come see what has been said about each of the first batch of guiding cases since their release last December!
News and Events Page.  Learn about CGCP events and see how the CGCP has been covered in the news since our launch last year!

And, if you haven’t already done so, see our recently released….2nd Batch of FOUR (4) Guiding Cases.  The English translations of the second batch of Guiding Cases released by the Supreme People’s Court are now available on our website at http://cgc.law.stanford.edu/guiding-cases/.  The new cases include two (2) administrative penalty cases, one (1) construction project contract dispute and one (1) corporate dissolution dispute.

Two (2) NEW Expert Commentaries!
“How to Apply the Guiding Cases of the Supreme People’s Court in Judicial Practice” written by Judge CHEN Kui, President of the Dongguan Municipality No. 2 People’s Court of Guangdong Province (available at http://cgc.law.stanford.edu/expert-commentary/3-judge-chen/).

“Discussing the Guiding Case System with Chinese Characteristics By First Combining Guiding Case No. 1 with Adjudication Practices” by Judge OU Zelin, of the Second Civil Tribunal of the Dongguan Municipality No. 2 People’s Court of Guangdong Province, (available at http://cgc.law.stanford.edu/4-judge-ou/)

For future updates, please subscribe to the China Guiding Cases Project mailing list by visiting https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/chinaguidingcasesproject.  Just enter your email address in the space provided and then click “Subscribe.”  Please note that we will be primarily using this list from now on to communicate important announcements and developments, so be sure to sign up today!

The CGCP Team
Stanford Law School

https://cgc.law.stanford.edu/

Restatements of Indian Law

Although the press release from the Supreme Court of India about the Restatements of Indian Law appeared last October, I only recently noticed that the first three restatements were available for purchase. The first three restatement topics are: legislative privilege, contempt of court, and public interest litigation.

The restatements are a joint project of the Indian Law Institute and the Supreme Court Project Committee of Restatement of Indian Law.

The press release mentions that three separate publishers were selected for the restatements: Lexis Nexis-Butterworths; CCH,and Universal Law Publishing Co. In the future, it would be nice to have the restatements posted on the Legal Information Institute of India (LIIofIndia) or IndLII.

From the Press Release

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=76582

Legislative Privilege – This subject was chosen partly on account of the sharp focus it brings to the principle of ‘checks and balances’ vis-a-vis the two important organs of State – the Legislature and the Judiciary.

 

Contempt of Court – The subject was chosen on account of the fact that the power of contempt is a necessary concomitant of a court of record. It must be exercised judiciously, in a manner that balances the need for preserving and upholding the rule of law as well as the integrity of the judicial system, while at the same time avoiding untoward incursions into that precious right of freedom of speech and expression.

 

Public Interest Litigation – The Committee chose ‘Public Interest Litigation’ as the third area for restatement on account of the unique contribution of the Supreme Court of India in facilitating access to justice by liberalizing the principle of locus standi. The circuitous journey of PIL and associated discrete judicial thoughts necessitated a clarion, which this restatement aims at.

French Law 2012-287: Database of Digitized 20th Century Books

Law 2012-287 was published in the Official Journal of France on March 2, 2012. The law, which amended France’s Intellectual Property Code, proposes building a free, public database of digitized books that were published in the 20th Century and are no longer in commercial distribution. The Bibliothèque national de France (BNF) would be in charge of creating and administering the database.

Publishers and rights holders will have 6 months to challenge inclusion of a book in the database. It also appears that after raising a challenge, publishers have three years to demonstrate a market for the book, or that they have created their own digitized version.

I did not see a specific appropriation of funds in the bill, so it is unclear to me how the BNF will finance the project.

Reaction on French law librarian mailing lists and blogs has been positive, but muted. Wait and see seems to be the prevailing sentiment.

Whether this bill leads to a free database or not, let’s hope that it spurs debate in France, Europe, and across the Atlantic, about the role of digitized books in society.

Law 2012-287 relative à l’exploitation numérique des livres indisponibles du XXe siècle.

http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jopdf/common/jo_pdf.jsp?numJO=0&dateJO=20120302&numTexte=1&pageDebut=03986&pageFin=03988

Full-text of the bill and links to legislative history materials are available at

http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/ta/ta0865.asp

Some authors’ groups have already criticized the bill for ignoring copyright law. For example, see the petition circulated by writer Yal Ayerdhal:

http://www.petitionpublique.fr/?pi=P2012N21047

Additional commentary on the bill from the Rue89 blog

http://www.rue89.com/rue89-culture/2012/03/03/numerisation-des-livres-quon-nedite-plus-qui-y-gagne-229855