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Free The Law: Harvard’s Digital Initiative To Provide Legal Information To All

Despite the hundreds of court rulings, cases, by-laws, and binding agreements that exist within a nation’s legal system, there’s a curious lack of information accessible to the average citizen.

To prove the point, simply ask yourself: if you needed to look up a specific law and the history behind it, what resource could you use? And even more importantly, would it be free and entirely accessible?

Aside from rather confusing government websites, which tend to only provide information on specific laws/by-laws rather than court cases and expanded relevant data, such a resource doesn’t exist. Not in Canada, and not in many other nations.

Havard’s Law School aims to fix that problem in the United States as they launch their “Free The Law” online project.

Noting how the decisions enacted by state and federal courts is not easily (and freely) attainable online, and the subsequent negative effects that it has on existing legal services, Harvard Law School is digitizing its library’s entire collection to create an online resource that will be free to use by anyone with an internet connection.

Boasting over 42,000 volumes and about 40 million pages of legal documents, the Harvard Law School Library is one of the most comprehensive in the entire world.

With that in mind, American citizens will then have an incredibly useful wealth of information when it comes to the law.

Aiding Harvard in this endeavour is Ravel Law, an American legal research and analytics company that will be funding the bulk of the project.

The benefit of having a free and accessible legal resource like Free The Law are numerous, and it’s something of a wonder that nothing similar has been created thus far. Hopefully, Canada takes note and we’ll have our own brand of Free The Law to use ourselves.

To read more on Free The Law, visit the official website here.

Featured image courtesy of: Renato_Jornalista

Michael D'Alimonte

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