Dalhousie Law Journal


primary legal material, Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, public, access, copyright


In this article the author explores the move in several jurisdictions towards providing primary legal materials online without charge. In Canada the federal government, most provincial governments and many courts currently provide some form of online access to primary legal materials. However, this is not done in a unified, comprehensive or systematic manner. The author evaluates the "legal information institute" model as it has emerged in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and considers whether such a model would be useful or workable in Canada. In the course of this assessment, the author canvasses such issues as the "public"fo r primary legal materials, the meaning of "access" to such materials, the problems of Crown copyright, information monopolies and the normative implications of freeing" the law.