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Website reviews

14 July 08

Reviews of sites covering news of matters relating to Scots law and lawyers

by Iain Nisbet

Scots Law News

www.law.ed.ac.uk/sln

Scots Law News, which is maintained by Hector MacQueen (and now also by Scott Wortley) of the University of Edinburgh, has been running since September 1997. It provides frequent, but irregular, nuggets of news related to Scots law. These vary from the important to the trivial. Scots Law News can often be first to report certain items, but might equally go weeks between posts. There are also certain topics which are particular favourites and therefore recur frequently. These include the Stone of Destiny, the Naked Rambler and the judgments of Sheriff Pyle (at Inverness Sheriff Court).

After more than 800 posts in nearly 11 years, Scots Law News was relaunched in May as a blog (or “blawg”). First of all, my hat is off to whoever undertook the job of translating all 800 posts into the new format! Beyond this, the main difference (other than a slightly neater layout overall) is the vastly improved search function. So now you can gather all the Stone of Destiny posts together at the click of a mouse.

The site is the grandfather of all the Scottish legal news websites, and the yardstick by which they will be measured. However, age has not yet deprived it of its faculties and it has embraced the technology of its upstart progeny with ease. If it has developed an eccentric touch along the way, that only serves to make it all the more delightful to visit.

Scottish Legal

www.scottishlegal.com

By contrast, Scottish Legal News is a brand new service brought to you by the Scottish Legal Action Group (SCOLAG – www.scolag.org). Updated with fresh legal news on a daily basis, you can check the site or get an email every morning with whatever’s hot off the press.

The site, which at time of writing was boasting an impressive 1,600 email subscribers signed up in week one, subdivides the news by category: civil, commercial, criminal, conveyancing, crown, and people & places. This is probably just as well since the news items come thick and fast – usually 10 or more added daily, including an amusing “and finally” section detailing some legal-related comic mishap or other from overseas. I expect this service to go from strength to strength.

Legal Week

www.legalweek.com

This is more than just an online version of the magazine of that name: it is an online resource in its own right. It claims to be updated with fresh legal news on a daily basis.

The title is dedicated exclusively to commercial law (in the UK and elsewhere) and so will not be relevant to everyone. However, if commerce is where your firm likes to practise, there is a lot going on here. The site is obviously striving to be right up to date with both its news and the technology that delivers it. Use of blogs and wikis is certainly innovative as far as much of the legal profession is concerned, but these do not seem to be as well used as they might be in other sectors. Those interested can sign up for email news alerts and be the first to know when there’s something new to report.

The news itself seems (despite the talk of daily updates) to be primarily culled from the pages of the weekly tabloid, interspersed with shorter notes between times and regular updates from the American site Law.com (which is owned by the same company).

The Lawyer

www.thelawyer.com

Very similar in many ways to Legal Week, The Lawyer has a much broader outlook in terms of practice areas – and seems (admittedly on a fairly cursory examination) to have a bit more to report on as a result. Signing up for email news alerts here is, I’d imagine, to invite a busy inbox. Of particular interest may be the ability to browse for news relating just to one practice area, or region of the UK (including Scotland).

CaseCheck

www.casecheck.co.uk

Just a reminder that, as I covered last month, this site has a weekly update of both news and gossip – together with an email reminder of these, and frequent updates on new cases.

Some names you may recognise

Considerations of propriety etc prevent me from doing more than reminding readers of the Journal’s own site www.journalonline.co.uk (an upgrade is in hand), the recently relaunched site of The Firm magazine (www.firmmagazine.co.uk) – and my own Scots law portal site www.absolvitor.com, which now takes the form of a blog. Please feel free to visit and draw your own conclusions!

Are you a Scots law blogger? Or do you know of one? Please let me know and the site(s) may feature in a future web review.