i.lex – Legal Research System for International Law in U.S. Courts

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) has released its i.lex database of U.S. case law interpreting international law. Here is the description of the database from ASIL’s Web site:

This online database of select U.S. court cases and related materials is designed to serve as a practical resource for members of the judiciary and other legal professionals to identify and understand how international law is interpreted and applied by U.S. courts at both the federal and state level.

i.lex is not intended to serve as a comprehensive source of case law incorporating international law into the U.S. legal system. Rather, it offers users access to the most important cases involving particular areas of international law such as human rights, refugee and asylum law, diplomatic and consular relations, transportation and communication, trade and transactions, and more.

i.lex provides pdf versions of the opinions, as well as case summaries and brief anaylsis of a decision’s significance. One can search by keyword, topic, treaty or statute. The database includes both state and federal cases. Best of all, the folks at ASIL are not charging for this database.  Thanks ASIL.

i.lex Legal Research System for International Law in U.S. Courts


Fastcase news

First, there’s this interview on Fox Business:  “Legal Research – Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO and Phillip Rosenthal, Fastcase president, discuss the business of legal research and competing against Lexis Nexis.”

Hat tip to Christine Hall’s post to law-lib “Fastcase on Fox Business – Competitor to Wexis in legal research”

And then over on the Open Case Law Google group, Ed Walters posted a discussion “Opening the rest of the caselaw library – IGOTF and beyond Options” which begins:

Earlier this year we at Fastcase were gratified to work with Public.Resource.org to open the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Court libraries to the public domain.  Many have argued that this is a slightly unusual profile for a for-profit publisher, which I hope illustrates that ours is a different kind of company.

Today I’m pleased to announce two new initiatives that open a much, much larger collection of cases online, the FastCite API and the Fastcase Querystring API, which allow any publisher to plug in to the Fastcase legal research library, with cases from all 50 states going back at least as far as 1950, as well as federal district and federal bankruptcy cases going back to 1 F.Supp. 1 and 1 B.R. 1.

Note that these APIs are open, but not free — although there is no charge for searching and viewing results, we will make individual cases available to the users of any site for $4.99.  We share 10% of the revenues with the referring site, which is one way to support many of the cool, innovative projects pursued by the members of this group.  Our service remains a subscription service — it’s hugely expensive to source and update this data — but we’re excited to work as partners with the many new legal research services that are shaking up this industry.

. . .


Details on the APIs over at Open Case Law.

Creating course materials from the free case repository

Over on the Open Case Law Google group, law professor Patrick Wiseman writes:

” . . . [M]y interest in free caselaw is mostly for teaching purposes.  I’m putting together an all online US constitutional law course, using US Supreme Court decisions from the repository (and occasionally elsewhere for missing or more recent cases).  I thought perhaps this group might find what I’m doing with the cases of some interest, and so send you an example:


The case, which will take a moment or two to load fully as there’s some script stuff going on, is Flast v. Cohen, about the standing of taxpayers to challenge alleged congressional violation of the Establishment Clause.  Select an elision, [...], and see the elided text; note too that most US Supreme Court decisions cited within the decision are linked (either to an edited version of the case if I have one or to the original if not).  The styling will look familiar, as I have not (yet) restyled the cases much to give them my ‘brand’.”


Please do take a look (and wait the moment it takes for the page to load).  And note, too, how great a paragraph-based citation system, rather than vendor-specific page-based system, would work.

The State of the State of Oregon

No, not Tuesday’s election.  Over on the Open Case Law Google Group, Carl Malamud has posted this discussion:

For those of you who are interested in the issue of copyright on state statutes, there is some updated information available here:


As always, we welcome any efforts to huna kuna the drafts!

Best regards,