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/

Release of Initial Guiding Cases from the Supreme People’s Court of China

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of  China has released its first four guiding cases : two contract law and two criminal law cases.

上海中原物业顾问有限公司诉陶德华居间
Shanghai Zhongyuan Property Consultants Ltd. v. De-Hua Tao
This is a contract law opinion.

吴梅诉四川省眉山西城纸业有限公司买卖
Wu Mei v. West Side Paper Co., Ltd. Sichuan Meishan
Also a contract law case.

潘玉梅
Panyu Mei, Ning Bribery Case

王志才故意杀人案
Wang Intentional Murder Case

The SPC statement explaining the concept of guiding cases and links to the four cases in Chinese is available at :
http://www.chinacourt.org/html/article/201112/21/472164.shtml

The court announcement and additional information in Chinese can be found at:
http://www.court.gov.cn/xwzx/fyxw/zgrmfyxw/201112/t20111220_168538.htm
http://www.court.gov.cn/xwzx/jdjd/sdjd/201112/t20111220_168539.htm.

Stay tuned to Legal Research Plus for news about English translations and commentary on the initial batch of SPC Guiding Cases.

 

Becoming the “compleat lawyer” the Aldisert way

From time to time I will get a call or e-mail from a proud parent whose son or daughter has been admitted to Stanford Law School.  The parent wants my advice on a book for their accomplished child to read upon the beginning of their new-found career.  A wonderful book has just come along which fits the bill perfectly:  Judge Ruggero Aldisert’s A Judge’s Advice: 50 Years on the Bench.

This slender volume packs a lot of punch.  In less than 250 pages the judge offers answers to questions that have occupied his thoughts for decades:  : “What is the bedrock of our common law system? What are trial and appellate judges really looking for? What is the logical configuration that is absolutely necessary in any legal argument? What practical challenges do judges face when deciding a case? What is the difference between the philosophy of law and a philosophy of law? What is the difference between a judge making a decision and a judge justifying it, and why does that difference matter to me?  Precedent in the law: When do you kiss it and when do you kill it?”

The judge organizes his thoughts among the following five themes:

  • Our Common Law Tradition: Still Alive and Kicking
  • Logic and Law
  • Avoiding Assembly Line Justice?
  • The “Write Stuff”
  • How Judges Decide Cases

And within these themes are found the following chapters:

The house of the law — The role of the courts in contemporary society — Precedent : what it is and what it isn’t, when do we kiss it and when do we kill it? — Elements of legal thinking — Logic for law students : how to think like a lawyer — Formal and informal fallacies — State courts and federalism — Life in the raw in appellate courts — “The seniors” suggest a solution — Brief writing — Opinion writers and law review writers: a community and continuity of approach — Reading and evaluating an appellate opinion — Philosophy, jurisprudence and jurisprudential temperament of federal judges — Making the decision — Justifying the decision.

While I know that all law students would benefit greatly from reading this book, when I first saw it our international students immediately came to mind as no other single volume that I am aware of so neatly and clearly explains the American legal system.  This book explains stare decisis better than anything else available.

Judge Aldisert writes about his particular passion — the law — with an enthusiasm that is almost exhausting.  Through this book the law student can get a glimpse of just how enormously satisfying the next 60 or 70 years of his or her life can be.

As the judge states in his Introduction:  “. . . These pages flesh out the instruments and implements of lawyers with a far-ranging ‘view from above’ with one objective in mind: to enrich the skills of these men and women so that each may bear — to borrow from Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler — the noble title of ‘compleat lawyer.’

This book really should be required reading for all law students, lawyers and others too.  Judge Aldisert is one of my heroes, along with others who inspire me such as Roger Ebert, Vin Scully, Tony Bennett and Keiko Fukuda (Google her)  — people who, while they may have stopped buying green bananas, they have not stopped working and never will.  These are people who make no distinction between work and play and who will be carried off the job feet-first.  They know the secret.   People who I want to be like when I grow up.

Full disclosure:  I was first charmed by Judge Aldisert when I met him during my daughter’s clerkship for him.

Indigenous Rights Case Law Database from CEPMLP

Court Interpretation of Indigenous Agreements: Database

The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) – University of Dundee (Scotland)

http://www.dundee.ac.uk/cepmlp/mining/indigenous/

From the database description:

This database has been compiled from over 200 cases and articles from courts/tribunals in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America. The decisions collated for the database are those that interpret or apply documents involving indigenous parties. The database records, for each decision:

  • a brief summary of the decision (including URL where available);
  • the details of the document(s) involving indigenous parties; and
  • a summary of the court’s/tribunal’s engagement with that document.

The database’s search function allows users to focus and find decisions and articles according to particular need. For example, if researching the relevance of fiduciary obligations in relation to indigenous agreements, the database allows quick collation of all materials relevant to that.

 

 

 

 

 

Citation Process for California Supreme Court Opinions

On the NOCALL list today was an interesting posting from Kerry Shoji, Paralegal/Research Analyst.

Kerry had recently asked questions on the NOCALL list about the citation process for the California Supreme Court.  Kerry then passed the questions along to the experts, Fran Jones, Director of Library Services, California Judicial Center Library and Edward Jessen, Reporter of Decisions.

Below is the text of Kerry’s questions and Mr. Jessen’s responses. [Reproduced with the permission Kerry Shoji and Edward Jessen.]

“How can you find out a California Supreme Court citation on a recently decided case?  I have the LEXIS citation, but I am curious:

1) How the official reporter volume/page number for the citation is assigned?

The California Official Reports publisher assigns volumes and page numbers because it is essentially a byproduct of the print composition process, and deadlines preclude much involvement in this function by the Reporter of Decisions.  But the publisher is contractually required to print opinions in the order received, and there are contractual requirements for the pagination of volumes.

2) How long does it take to go from slip opinion to the bound opinion?

For example, Official Reports advance pamphlet No. 16 will contain all published opinions filed between 5/17/10 and 5/25/10, and will be issued on 6/17/10.  Promptness is regulated by the Official Reports publication contract.*

Citations for opinions in that pamphlet, however, will be available on LexisNexis by approximately June 11.

3) How one can determine the official citation once bound?

Bound volumes, as a general rule, publish about 10 to 12 months after the last pamphlet issues with opinions  for a particular volume.  Citations, however, never change between advance pamphlets and bound volumes, except that superseded opinions (review granted, depublished, or rehearing granted) are omitted.

4) Do all the Westlaw or Lexis electronic references get converted to the official citation once the bound version is issued?

For the California Official Reports, there are several points in the editorial process leading to the final version of opinions in the bound volumes at which this office or the publisher would “convert” a Lexis or Westlaw cite to another California opinion to the Official Reports cite.  The LexisNexis version of that opinion would also then receive the Official Reports cite in place of the Lexis or Westlaw cite.  I cannot speak to what Westlaw would do in this situation because it is not the official version of opinions and we do not control content in the way we do for opinions on LexisNexis.”

*Special note: Peter W. Martin, Cornell Law School, has published in his Access to Law site many of the contracts between State courts and law report publishers, including California (2003).  There is also a great table showing these contracts, too.

Introducing and Integrating Free Internet Legal Research into the Classroom

“Introducing and Integrating Free Internet Legal Research into the Classroom”

University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-05

JOOTAEK LEE, University of Miami – School of Law

The Global financial crisis has been discouraging legal researchers and practitioners from accessing high-cost databases.Many legal professionals and researchers are under financial pressures mainly because of the increased kinds and cost of subscription databases such as Westlaw and Lexis; thus, many legal professionals and researchers started considering free or less expensive internet resources for their research and classes. On the other hand, the number of these free or less expensive internet resources is increasing every year, and their coverage for legal sources is also expanded. Furthermore, just as the creation of a list of hypertext links to internet resources is not an easy task anymore because of the gigantic number of resources available, so simply providing created list to the law students will likewise irresponsibly confuse and intimidate them.

First, this article attempted to define internet legal research and to show the difficulty of distinguishing internet legal research from other online searches. Next, pros and cons of free or less expensive internet resources were discussed. Lastly, this article attempted to introduce and apply usability to various internet resources, criticizing Lexis and Westlaw by the principle of usability web-design.In conclusion, the necessity and prospective plan to establish evaluation standards for free internet resources including coverage, currency, accuracy, authority, appropriateness, and perspective will be explored

Source:  LSN: University of Miami School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper
Series Vol. 4 No. 2,  04/21/2010

Article: Enabling Free On-line Access to UK Law Reports: The Copyright Problem

Enabling Free On-line Access to UK Law Reports: The Copyright Problem

Philip Leith and Cynthia Fellows

18 International Journal of Law & Information Technology   72 (Spring 2010)

Abstract

The history of publishing legal decisions (law reporting) in the UK has been that of a privatised system since its inception, and that history has encompassed several hundred years. The privatised nature of this has meant that the product (the law report) has been, except in limited cases, viewed as the property of the publisher, rather than the property of the court or public. BAILII is an open access legal database that came about in part because of the copyrighted, privatised nature of this legal information.

In this paper, we will outline the problem of access to pre-2000 judgments in the UK and consider whether there are legal or other remedies which might enable BAILII to both develop a richer historic database and also to work in harmony, rather than in competition, with legal publishers. We argue that public access to case law is an essential requirement in a democratic common law system, and that BAILII should be seen as a potential step towards a National Law Library.

Gettin’ Googly with the law

Over at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog there’s a terrific discussion of Google Scholar Legal and Online Journals (SLOJ) versus Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw (“Wexisberg” being Greg Lambert’s clever amalgamation of the two big CALR vendors plus upstart Bloomberg ).

One of Greg’s observations is that:

Google Scholar has three people. Not just on the legal portion of Google Scholar, there are three people total on the entire project.

And one of these three people is less than a full self.  That’s Google’s Rick Klau who recently gave a fascinating guest lecture to our advanced legal research class.  Rick told us that he became involved with the legal project by using his “20% time.”  

[Update and correction:  Rick is not one of the 3 who make up the core team - he explains it best himself, in the comment to this post.]

Rick explained to us that Google is not investing a lot of people-time in the project and the case analysis will be accomplished by what Google does best — automated searching and links. Most certainly Google is not about to hire thousands of editors (like Wexisberg have all done) to carefully craft case summaries and headnotes.   As Rick said, “Google is being Googly” with its underlying search and PageRank tools.

Who was SLOJ designed for?  Rick said he had his mom in mind — as a member of the public who does not have access to Wexisberg.

And the public has found its way to the site.  Before Rick’s talk we gave our class an assignment and one question was to find a certain case on a free website.  We gave this assignment after SLOJ launched and made the press (including a round of discussion on the law school’s internal “law-talk” listserv) — and every student turned to  Google Scholar to answer this question!

Following Rick’s talk, and despite all the disclaimers and comments that Google is not competing with Wexisberg, one student sent us this comment about SLOJ:

First, thank you so much for arranging this talk!  I was hoping it was someone from google.  It seems that they have a very specific market to target and they are trying to stick to it.  As skeptical as he seemed about attorneys using it, though, I think it will be exceedingly helpful.  At the very least, it will be a good, free starting point which can then be used in West/Lexis.

I think she’s right!  Google is impressive and what just a very few engineers have done is amazing.  And they aren’t done either; I am sure of that.