British And Irish Legal Information Institute
|Institute of Advanced Legal Studies|
|17 Russell Square|
|London WC1B 5DR|
What is BAILII
BAILII was founded in 2000 as a non-profit making charitable trust, with the aim of making access to primary legal materials free to everyone. It has built and is operating a subscription-free interactive database of full text primary legal materials available on the internet. By utilising low-cost methods BAILII provides a growing amount of primary and secondary legal material which can be browsed by the user and/or located by using the BAILII search engine. The service is a major tool for legal research. The continued availability and development of the service is of major importance to the practice and teaching of law.
A helpful guide to BAILII is provided by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies: ials.sas.ac.uk/library/eservice/docs/BAILII_IALS_quick_guide.pdf
How is BAILII funded?
The major regular contributors to BAILII's funding in recent years have been the following:
| The Bar Council and the four Inns of Court||£30,000 per year|
| Her Majesty's Courts Service||approx £35,000 per year|
The following barristers' Chambers and individual barristers have provided or offered to provide over £1,000 in the period starting from 2008:
|* Monckton Chambers||£2,000 per year, for 5 years beginning 2011|
|* Garden Court Chambers||£2,500 per year, for 4 years beginning 2010|
|* Brick Court Chambers||£2,250 per year, for 5 years beginning 2011||* 3 Verulam Buildings||£2,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
|* Hailsham Chambers||£2,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
|* Blackstone Chambers||£750 in 2010, and £1,500 for 3 years starting in 2011|
|* Tax Chambers - 15 Old Square||£1,000 per year, for 4 years beginning 2011|
|* 10 King's Bench Walk||£100 per month beginning 2011|
|* Pump Court Tax Chambers||£2,000 in 2011|
|* Landmark Chambers||£2,000 in 2011|
|* Essex Court Chambers||£2,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
|* Erskine Chambers||£2,000 in 2011|
|* 11 South Square||£1,500 in 2012|
|* St John's Chambers||£1,000 in 2011|
|* 11KBW||£1,500 in 2011 and 2012 and £2,387 in 2013||* Matrix Chambers||£1,500 in 2011|
|* Ali Malek QC||£2,500 in 2011|
|* Garden Court North Chambers||£750 in 2012|
The following firms of solicitors or international law firms have provided or offered to provide over £1,000 in the period starting from 2008:
| Allen & Overy||£2,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2010|
| Clifford Chance||£2,000 per year for 4 years beginning 2010|
| Herbert Smith Freehills||£2,000 in 2011 and £5,000 in 2012|
| Bristows||£1,000 in 2011|
| Bird and Bird||£1,000 in 2011|
| WilmerHale||£1,000 in 2011|
| Lewis Silkin||£1,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
| Nabarro||£1,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
| Reed Smith||£1,000 in 2011|
| Rouse||£1,000 in 2011|
| Norton Rose||£2,000 in 2011 and £5,000 in 2012|
| Chadbourne & Parke LLP (London)||£1,000 in 2011|
| Linklaters LLP||£2,000 per year, for 4 years beginning 2011|
| Byrne & Partners LLP||£1,000 in 2011|
| Macfarlanes LLP||£1,000 in 2011|
| Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP||£1,000 in 2011|
| Ogier||£500 in 2011 and £500 in 2012|
| Hogan Lovells||£3000 in 2011|
| CMS Cameron McKenna LLP||£2,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
| Dundas & Wilson LLP||£250 per year beginning 2011|
| White & Case LLP||£2000 in 2011|
| Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP||£1000 in 2011|
| Holman Fenwick Willan LLP||£2500 in 2011|
| Simmons & Simmons||£2500 in 2011|
| Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP||£2000 in 2011|
| Baker & McKenzie||£1000 in 2012|
| Slaughter And May||£2000 in 2012|
| Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||£5000 in 2012|
The following publishers have provided or offered to provide substantial sponsorship in the period starting from 2008:
| Practical Law Company Ltd||in excess of £35,000 since 2008, primarily for the purpose of
assisting BAILII with the purchase of new hardware; PLC is providing
£30,000 per year for 2 years commencing 2011
| Solcara||a donation in 2012, and annually thereafter|
| CrimeLine Training Ltd||£2,500 in 2011, and annually thereafter|
The following bloggers have agreed to pass on to BAILII a proportion of the advertising revenue from their website or donations from their advertisers:
| Lucy Reed of pinktape.co.uk|
| Mike Semple Piggot of Insitelaw Magazine|
Legal associations which have provided or offered to provide over £1,000 in the period starting from 2008:
| Chancery Bar Association||£1,000 in 2011|
| BIALL||£10,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2013|
| Law Society of Ireland||5,000 per year, 3 years beginning 2011|
| Adjudication Society||£1,500 in 2010 and £2,500 per year, 3 years beginning 2013|
| Society of Construction Law||£6,000 in 2008 to 2010, and £5000 in 2012|
| COMBAR||£1,000 per year, for 3 years beginning 2011|
| BILETA||£2,000 in 2008, and £1,000 in 2011|
| Criminal Law Solicitors Association||£1,000 in 2011|
| Law Society of Scotland||£2,000 in 2011|
| TeCSA Technology and Construction Solicitors Asso.||£2,500 in 2011|
| Arbrix||£2,000 per year, 3 years beginning 2012|
| Arbitration Club||£5,000 in 2012|
Others who have provided or offered to provide over £1,000 in the period 2008-2011:
| Institute of Advanced Legal Studies||£1,000 in 2011, and annually thereafter|
| Shell International BV||£10,000 in 2011 and £5,000, for 3 years beginning 2012|
| Legal Education Foundation||£50,000 in stages starting 2013|
| Richard Susskind||£3,000|
The names of substantial donors are listed on BAILII's web site: www.bailii.org/support/donors.html
Why is BAILII appealing for funds?
BAILII's operating costs are approximately £160,000 per annum (excluding replacement of computer hardware and other items which are not incurred annually).
BAILII's appeal for funds has met with a good response from barristers, solicitors, publishers and others who recognise how useful BAILII is. This has provided BAILII with sufficient offers of funding to see us through the next year. However, many of the donations are single donations, and BAILII's income on the basis of existing offers of donations is not sufficient to meet BAILII's annual expenditure. It will therefore be essential to continue our appeal by going back to people who have previously donated to ask them if they are willing to repeat their donations, and we will continue to need to appeal to potential donors who have not previously made donations to BAILII.
BAILII's appeal for funds is mainly directed towards sets of Chambers and solicitors' firms. Legal associations, academic institutions and publishers are also invited to contribute. It is hoped that the largest sets of Chambers and firms of solicitors will be willing to make informal commitments to provide donations of sums in the range £2,000 to £5,000 per year, in recognition of
the benefit which they themselves derive from a web site for which no subscription is required, and
the benefit to those who cannot afford subscriptions to commercial databases, such as providers of pro bono legal advice in the community, and lawyers and students in developing countries.
It is suggested that the sum donated should also be viewed in comparison with the cost of subscriptions to online commercial databases (many thousands of pounds for large firms), and in relation to the overall library or knowledge management budget.
As set out above, we have had a number of new offers of support as a result of our appeal, and these are very much appreciated. But we do continue to need support on an ongoing basis, and we especially need offers of funding for periods of more than one year.
Who uses BAILII?
legal professionals such as barristers and solicitors.
law students and academics
neighbourhood law centres, pro bono units, and citizens' advice bureaux
the general public
lawyers, students and academics in other jurisdictions, and in particular those in developing countries who do not have access to commercial databases.
BAILII is among the top 160,000 web sites in the world (www.alexa.com/siteinfo/bailii.org) and the top 10,000 in the United Kingdom. We have approximately 40,000 unique visitors each week, viewing approximately 800,000 pages each week. Over 2,000 web sites display hypertext links to BAILII.
BAILII carried out a survey of its users in early 2012. The majority of respondents praised BAILII, using words such as "brilliant", "excellent", "invaluable", "superb", "marvellous", "fantastic", "vital", "incredibly useful", "an absolutely fantastic resource".
See also the comments by BAILII users at the website of the Society for Computers and Law on why they find BAILII useful.
Do solicitors use BAILII?
Over 3,000 people responded to BAILIIs survey of its users in early 2012. Approximately 25% of those who responded were fee-earners or employees in solicitors offices.It is clear that BAILII is used extensively by solicitors..
BAILII is of enormous benefit to small firms which cannot afford access to commercial databases.
Because BAILII is subscription-free, solicitors who wish to bring a particular judgment to a client's attention can email a link to the judgment on BAILII.
Here are some comments relating to usage by solicitors:
John Wright, Bird & Bird: "For my part I use BAILII as my first port of call for accessing recent cases. Decisions are reported very quickly, the search engine is reliable and accurate and it is a most valuable part of my knowledge management."
Nicholas Gould, Fenwick Elliott: "I find the service exceptionally useful, easy to follow and a fantastic source of up to date case law."
Library Manager of a large City firm: "BAILII is certainly very popular with the Library and with our litigation lawyers."
Head of Internal Online Resources at a large City firm: "We use Bailii on a daily basis and it is an enormously useful tool for legal research."
Barjinder Sahota of Sahota Solicitors: "Your site is a lifesaver for small firms like mine as other legal sources are so expensive unless you spend days in a library away from the desk." (Sahota Solicitors make regular donations to BAILII.)
Alison Harvey, General Secretary, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association: "Bailii is an incredibly valuable resource for ILPA members. It allows the Secretariat to disseminate reported cases widely to members, drawing attention to important developments in the law. It also ensures that those members who do not subscribe to online caselaw services, including some small firms or advice agencies, can nonetheless access the full range of caselaw to the benefit of their clients. It is easy to use and the search engines allow not only the retrieval of specific cases but also a targeted search for caselaw relevant to a particular point."
Gwenda Sippings, Head of Information and Research at Linklaters LLP: "It was very helpful to learn from you more about BAILII and its valuable service to such a diverse range of users. Aside from our own use of the site, we recognise a responsibility to support an organisation that puts key legal information within such easy reach of those for whom it would otherwise be unaffordable. A key driver of our approach to community investment is facilitating access to the law and we see how BAILII provide this in a way that is notably focused and effective. We would therefore be very pleased to provide BAILII with unrestricted funding of £2k this year  and further £2k per annum for the following three years."
Do barristers use BAILII?
BAILII is used extensively by barristers. It is very easy to access from within Chambers, from home, from Court, or when travelling, as it requires no user-name and password. Barristers often know which case they are looking for, and can find it very quickly on BAILII.
As an example, in October 2010 users in one set of Chambers looked at 1,923 html pages on BAILII (approximately 435 per week). This includes the Home page, Search form pages, and judgments. For the period 17 January to 25 November 2011 the figure was 22,325 pages, or approximately 500 per week.
Does BAILII have any advantages over commercial databases?
1. Judgments are often available more quickly on BAILII, usually within hours of the judgment being received by BAILII by email from the judge or court.
2. The screen display is easy to read.
3. Footnotes are often displayed better in HTML versions on BAILII, with internal hypertext links. Tables of contents are often converted to HTML with internal hypertext links.
4. BAILII can be accessed at any time from any computer, with no user-name or password required. It can also be accessed from many mobile devices.
5. Because BAILII requires no user-name or password, web pages, articles, submissions, lecture notes and other documents can be hypertext linked directly to judgments on BAILII. Hypertext links can be made directly to individual paragraphs. Recent comments on the value of BAILII to bloggers were as follows:
- "I'd like to endorse the proposition that we are all hugely in debt to BAILII, which provides a service of unparalleled excellence to many of us on the blogosphere and our readers. Thanks, BAILII - and keep up the good work."
- "Agreed. BAILII is superb." (See www.legalweek.com/legal-week/analysis/1799966/ideas-law-geek-inherit)
Examples of direct access to BAILII:
- the database of cases relating to construction adjudication on the Adjudication Society website: www.adjudication.org/cases-england-wales-scotland
- the Lexology website, which provides free access to articles on legal subjects: eg www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=2d7fd7cb-b1a6-4c0f-abb8-437b78e1b821.
6. RTF versions of judgments as supplied by the courts are available on BAILII.
Does BAILII have any disadvantages over commercial databases?
1. BAILII does not have as many judgments as commercial databases such as LexisÂ® or WestlawÂ®. It has a number of the most important judgments before 1996-2000, but most of its cases are from the period since then.
2. BAILII's functionality is in some ways less sophisticated than the functionality available from commercial databases.
What is available on BAILII?
As of March 2011, the following were available on BAILII (for up-to-date data, see www.bailii.org/bailii/summary-cases.html):
Decisions of the House of Lords and the Supreme Court since 1997
Most decisions of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal since 1997, and many decisions of the Criminal Division since that date
Over 12,000 decisions of the Queen's Bench Division (including the Administrative Court and the Commercial Court) and the Chancery Division since 1999
Decisions of tribunals, including over 13,000 employment cases, and over 3,000 tax cases
Decisions of the courts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland
Over 2,500 of the most important decisions on the law of contract, tort, tax, trusts, property, employment, and other core academic law subjects; these include 527 House of Lords decisions and 538 Court of Appeal decisions
7,831 decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, since 1809
13,258 decisions of the European Court of Justice, since 1954
14,880 decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, since 1960
Statutes and statutory instruments
Reports and consultation or working papers published by the Law Commission for England and Wales, the Scottish Law Commission, the NI Office of Law Reform, the NI Law Reform Advisory Committee, and the Irish Law Reform Commission
Several legal textbooks and two legal journals.
BAILII's database includes over 290,000 searchable documents, in a 33 gigabyte database.
As a result of a collaboration between BAILII and the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, judgments on BAILII contain links (where available) to the ICLR summary of the judgment and to a page at which the official ICLR Law Report of the judgment,with headnote, can be viewed (by ICLR subscribers) or purchased (by non-subscribers).
What older judgments are available on BAILII?
The Openlaw Project was made possible by a grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Over 2,500 of the most important decisions on the law of contract, tort, tax, trusts, property, employment, and other core academic law subjects were scanned and added to BAILII's database. Academics were consulted in order to produce the lists of cases.
BAILII has scanned and converted over 6,900 historic Privy Council judgments. Many of these are unreported, and Commonwealth countries are anxious to have access to them - especially former colonies in Africa. BAILII helped to save this archive from destruction when the former home of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Downing Street was closed last year.
As a result of a collaborative effort with the legal publisher Justis, the English Reports 1220-1873 are available at CommonLII.
What else is available on BAILII?
BAILII has created databases with the cooperation of the Law Commission, the Scottish Law Commission, the NI Office of Law Reform, the NI Law Reform Advisory Committee, and the Irish Law Reform Commission. All the reports, working papers and consultation papers ever published by the Law Commission, for instance, are now accessible on the site free of charge.
Several legal textbooks and two journals are now available on BAILII.
Are similar databases available in other jurisdictions?
BAILII is part of an international community of Legal Information Institutes (LIIs). Similar web sites exist for Australia, Canada, South Africa and many other jurisdictions. BAILII actively participates in achieving the common goals of this community: to promote and support free access to public legal information throughout the world (principally via the Internet); to cooperate with one another in order to achieve these goals, and, in particular, to assist organisations in developing countries to achieve them, since we recognise the reciprocal advantages that everyone obtains from access to each other's law; and to help each other and to support, within our means, other organisations that share these goals.
LawCite is a subscription-free automatically generated international legal case and journal article citator. It can be used to locate judgments (mainly from common law jurisdictions), and to see how these have been subsequently dealt with and commented upon or to see where journal articles have been cited. Over 3.5 million cases, law reform documents and articles have been indexed. LawCite is being built as part of a three year project that is funded by the Australian Research Council in co-operation with a number of Australian courts and other commercial and non-commercial organisations. It is being developed at AustLII in collaboration with other members of the Free Access to Law Movement - in particular BAILII, AustLII (the Australasian Legal Information Institute), CanLII (the Canadian Legal Information Institute), PacLII (the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute), HKLII (the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute), SafLII (South Africa materials), NZLII (New Zealand) and CYLAW (Cyprus), and a single site which tries to include all the materials offered from those above, WorldLII.
There is also a website for British Commonwealth countries at CommonLII.
How is BAILII staffed?
BAILII is staffed by two full-time and one part-time members of staff:
Joe Ury - Executive Director
Roger Burton West - System Adminstrator/Developer
Viky Martzoukou - part-time Project Officer.
How to donate:
Information on how to make donations is available here. Those who are willing to make substantial donations are asked to contact BAILII by email.
For more information, contact email@example.com
Joe Ury, Executive Director: