Filings in Legal Databases as Possible Source for Withdrawn State Court Opinions

We wanted to share as a tip the good fortune that might be had in a legal database’s collection of “Filings” when one is searching for withdrawn state court opinions.  In our scenario, citations in both WestlawNext (“WLN”) and LexisAdvance (“LA”) indicated that a particular state supreme court opinion had been withdrawn.  The WLN & LA results for the withdrawn opinion revealed only that the opinion had been substituted, but no longer contained the text for the withdrawn opinion.  However, with some deep digging into WLN’s “Filings” linked to the substituted opinion, we were able to find a PDF copy of the withdrawn opinion attached as an exhibit to a petition for review.  Often (and as was the case here) the HTML versions of these “Filings” lack referenced exhibits, but thank goodness for PDFs…particularly for these 25-year-old, pre-electronic-filing state court cases!

We hope you’re equally as lucky in gaining ready access to withdrawn state supreme court opinions!

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

Stanford’s China Guiding Cases Project

On December 20, 2011, the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China released its first batch of guiding cases (指导性案例).  This happened slightly more than a year after the Court issued the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court Concerning Work on Guiding Cases (最高人民法院关于案例指导工作的规定) in November 2010.

The first batch of guiding cases consists of two civil cases and two criminal cases.  The China Guiding Cases Project (CGCP), an initiative of Stanford Law School founded by Dr. Mei Gechlik in early 2011 and advised by leading experts including justices from the U.S. Supreme Court and China’s Supreme People’s Court, is pleased to release its translation of 王志才故意杀人案 (WANG Zhicai, an intentional homicide case) (Guiding Case No. 4) (attached).

About the CGCP

The CGCP aims to advance knowledge and understanding of Chinese law and to enable judges and legal experts both inside and outside of China to contribute to the evolution of Chinese case law through ongoing dialogue on the guiding cases. The CGCP intends to make these cases quickly and easily accessible to English-speaking audiences outside China on its searchable website http://cgc.law.stanford.edu.  Visitors to the website will be able to post their thoughts about the cases and commentaries in Chinese and English, while “Question and Answer” sessions will permit readers and commentators to have more in-depth dialogues, again in Chinese and English.

To mark this historical moment in the development of the Chinese legal system, the CGCP will take the following steps this month:

Launch the CGCP website (http://cgc.law.stanford.edu) on Monday, January 9, 2012.  Translations of the other three guiding cases will be available then.  In addition, Judge JIANG (Michael) Heping, Chief Judge of the First Civil Division of the Dongguan Municipality No. 2 People’s Court in Guangdong Province, has contributed to the CGCP a commentary on Guiding Case No. 2.  Judge JIANG’s court has been identified as a Court for National ADR Initiatives by the Supreme People’s Court.  The Chinese and English versions of Judge JIANG’s commentary will also be posted on the CGCP website.
Hold a public event on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 12:45 – 2 p.m., at Stanford Law School.  Dean Larry Kramer will commemorate the official launch of the CGCP and the public release of our official products.

To keep abreast of CGCP announcements and 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”.

The CGCP Team
Stanford Law School

Bloomberg Adds California Practice Page on BLAW

Bloomberg has recently added a California Practice Page to its new BLAW web-based product.

This new page contains California-related current awareness (news, legislative events, court opinions, etc.) plus the California Codes, administrative rulemakings, court forms and rules and Bloomberg’s California Law Digest.

ILO Database: Use of International Law by Domestic Courts

Free online resource from the International Labour Organization:

Use of International Law by Domestic Courts

http://compendium.itcilo.org/

From the Web site’s description:

Use of International Law by Domestic Courts contains a compendium of court decisions in which domestic courts have relied on elements of international law to resolve the cases brought before them]. The compendium is composed mainly of cases falling within the province of labour law but also comprises decisions concerning basic human rights more generally. The decisions are presented in the form of summaries underlining how international law was used in each specific case. At the end of each summary, the full text of the decision is available in the original language.

Each decision is classified according to the following four sets of criteria:

country of origin of the decision

main subject on which international law was referred to

role of international law

type of international instruments used in the decision

Whenever the legal system of the countries included in the compendium stipulates how international law is to be incorporated into national law or the authority to be attributed to it, the decisions of the country in question are preceded by an insert citing the relevant provisions.

Decisions can be accessed through three indexes: by country, by subject and according to the role of international law.

And finally, the compendium is complemented by a library that contains: the texts of ILO Conventions and Recommendations, as well as the texts of other international instruments referred to in the compendium; the work and documents of the international supervisory bodies; and a selection of publications.

Southern Africa Case Citator from SAFLII

The Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII) has created a link to the LawCite citator  for case law from Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Search results list subsequent cases that cite your case. For selected cases, a table of authorities is also provided. The citator database is searchable by citation, party name, jurisdiction, and key word.  Access is free.

Hat tip to Karen Shear of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Law Cite – SAFLII

http://www.saflii.org/LawCite/

LawCite – foreign and international case law citator

Graham Greenleaf and the team at the Australian Legal Information Institute have released LawCite Alpha. LawCite Alpha provides, free of charge, case citations from international tribunals, such as ICJ and ICTY, and dozens of foreign courts, including Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, South Africa and the United States. The database includes common law and civil law jurisdictions. Fortunately, the search interface is quite forgiving, so there is no need to worry about spacing and periods, as long as the citation is correct. In addition to citations, one can search by jurisdiction, party name and legislation. LawCite Alpha also contains citations to law journal articles, searchable by citation, author, and title.  Many thanks to Graham and his colleagues for sharing this useful research tool.

LawCite Alpha

http://www.austlii.edu.au/LawCite/

 

Additional information from the Law Cite Alpha press release.

There are over two million cases for which LawCite holds citation records at present. This number is expected to increase very significantly as LawCite develops. It also includes early development of a law journal article citator, tracking citations of journal articles in both cases and other articles.

LawCite is constructed solely by automated means, by the extraction of citation information from

the content of legal information institutes, available through the cooperation of the Free Access to Law Movement.  It is an international citator, provides citation records for cases decided by courts in at least 50 countries (though with considerably varying coverage).  It therefore also includes numerous citations of cases by courts in jurisdictions other than the one in which the case was decided. Lawcite does not include editorial judgments of whether a case was distinguished, reversed, etc by subsequent cases. It concentrates on demonstrating the patterns of case citation, and also provides parallel citations for cases.