The future of the fantastic British and Irish Legal Information Institute aka BAILII is in in the balance, after losing several big sponsors. Funded via sponsorship from organisations and individuals , the BAILII service provides quick, free access to full text judgments and legislation from the UK and Ireland, all in one place.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the explosion in legal blogging has to some extent been made possible by the ease in which it is possible to link to the primary legal materials BAILII provides. Adam Wagner of the UK Human Rights Blog referred to it as “Justice’s hidden backbone” in his tribute to the service provided by BAILII in November 2010.
If BAILII were to perish, access to free legal information for the citizen would certainly be a more complex business – with users having to search many different websites to find even half of what BAILII provides. Those heavily affected would be self-litigants and all those organisations who can’t afford access to expensive legal databases; law centres, pro bono organisations and users in developing countries.
To find out more of the background read the excellent post on the subject on the Legal Aware blog.
So what can you do?