Saturday, July 15, 2006

Series on History of Legal Information in Quebec

The monthly publication of the Quebec Bar Association, Le Journal du Barreau, started a series in its June 2006 issue on the history of legal information publishing in Quebec.

Over the next few months, the Journal will publish articles by authors, editors, distributors, researchers, judges and others on the topic.

There have been 2 articles so far:
  • Les enjeux de l'information juridique ("The issues of legal information", p. 9, June 2006 edition - N.B.: one has to download the entire issue) : this is an interview to set the scene. In it, University of Montreal law professor Daniel Poulin, director of LexUM, the legal information laboratory that pioneered free access to Supreme Court of Canada rulings, traces the evolution of legal information in Quebec over the past 30 years
  • Petite histoire de l'information juridique au Québec ("A brief history of legal information in Quebec", p. 9 of the July 2006 edition): this article recounts the history of legal information dissemination from 1892 to this day

What stands out from both articles is the central role of the provincial bar association, and later on of the public sector, in attempting to ensure access to legal information.

For many decades, the bar association financed, on its own, the printing and distribution of the major Quebec case reporters. With the proliferation of case law (and the multiplication of statutes and regulations) after the 60s, the Bar could no longer keep up.

What is unique about Quebec is perhaps the central role played by public sector organizations, such as provincial Crown corporation SOQUIJ (Société québécoise d'information juridique), created in 1976, and institutions such as the LexUM lab at the University of Montreal. In particular, SOQUIJ stands out for its role in integrating and homogenizing the data structure and presentation of rulings, digests, and commentary from a variety of sources.

In 2006, SOQUIJ won the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:51 pm

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