UK LAW ONLINE

Full Project Title:

UK Law Online: The UK Legal System on the Internet  

Name of the Tendering Organisation:

Centre for Criminal Justice Studies

University of Leeds

Leeds LS2 9JT

Tel: (+44) (0)113 2335033

Fax: (+44) (0) 2335056

E-mail: law6cw@leeds.ac.uk and/or lawya@leeds.ac.uk  

Funding Body:

The Hamlyn Trust


 

Objectives:

Our main object is the raising of public awareness, appreciation and understanding of the English, Scots and Northern Ireland Legal Systems ('UK Legal System') by use of the medium of the Internet. The project will involve the creation of a world wide web page, initially at the Leeds Law Faculty, and this web site will promote the UK Legal System on the Internet. The Internet is a new interactive medium which involves a direct and continuous access to the users and our project is a new way of access to the public in general. We will try to educate the public as to the nature and availability of their legal system by providing complex legal information in a comprehensible way. The users will have direct access to our team by electronic mail, but the project is not intended for individual legal advice. Rather we intend to offer generalised education and the improvement of knowledge on important legal issues.

Overview of the Project:

The objective is to create a series of world wide web pages which may be compared to a basic UK Legal System text-book but is distinguished by the medium being used. This will allow us to convey our messages in accessible, alluring and attractive formats. Thus, we shall employ non-technical language, with plenty of graphics, pictures and references and links to further sources of information (such as the UK Government web servers, House of Lords decisions or the UK police web servers).

The main target audience would comprise non-lawyers, but the web pages would also include some detailed information which would be of value to more professional users. In this way the project will be pitched at two levels:

One special feature designed to attract the attention of both groups of potential users would be a special section dealing with current legal issues such as pending legislation, proposals and cases which draw the attention of the public in newspapers and television. These may include libel cases, miscarriage of justice cases, criminal trials, new government proposals such as on stalking, and security in schools. These current issues would be linked to UK on-line newspapers such as The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph and to the Government and Parliament servers.


Scope of the Project:

The scope of the project will be the promotion of UK Legal System and some of its basic substantive laws. More specifically, we envisage that the following will form the main subject headings to be made available:

   

(1) Legal System

(2) European Law

(3) The Criminal Justice System

(4) The Civil Justice System

(5) Informal Justice

(6) Civil Liberties

(7) Current events

(8) Law of Contract and Tort

Further details are given in Appendix 1.


Methodology:

The project team:

The project is labour intensive and involves both in law and computing. Accordingly, the project team involved in this project (See below) is specialised in The UK Legal System. The team has also amassed great experience in the use of the Internet for teaching and research purposes. Most of the team members have personal web pages or teaching materials on the Internet.

Library + Computers

We have access to the Leeds Law Library and to the other Leeds University libraries. We have also access to on-line CD-Roms, Lexis-Nexis and the University Computer Networks with fast direct Internet access. Nevertheless, given the demands of the project, part of the funding bid is for a computer, printer and programming software.


Details of the Applicants:

Principal project co-ordinatorsapplicants

Yaman Akdeniz

PhD Research Student

Created the popular web page and non-profit civil liberties organisation, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) under the Leeds Law Faculty web pages. The web site has been recognised as one of the Ten Top Cyber Rights Resources by the Wired Magazine (November 1996). It is now accessed daily by around 150-200 users.

Professor Clive Walker

Director of Centre for Criminal Justice Studies.

As a part of his Constitutional Law course, he has created some interactive world wide web pages dealing with The House of Commons within the UK Constitution at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/teaching/law6cw/hc-1.htm.

Other team members/advisers

Professor John Bell

Department of Law

Research and teaching interests include the English Legal System and Comparative (Continental) Law. He is the author of Cross on Statutory Interpretation as well as books on the French Legal System.

Nick Taylor

Lecturer in Law

Research and teaching interests include the English Legal System and Civil Liberties. Particular research interests include miscarriages of justice and the post appeal system, and the use of aural and visual surveillance methods.

David Wall

Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies.

Has developed interactive pages for two of his units on the History of Policing and the Nature of Contemporary Police Forces.


Funding:

The Project is sponsored by the Hamlyn Trust 50th Anniversary Award and the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies was awarded 12000 to work on this project between September 1997 and September 1998.


Proposed Commencement Date + Timetable:

Commencement date

1 September, 1997.

Stage 1: Ceate a web address for the project and seek interactivity with potential audience

Technically it is possible to create web pages almost immediately. So the project would be visible from a very early stage. At the point of creation, we would primarily present the pages as a form of advertisement and invitation. This could be achieved by the promotion of our project by means of including the web site in search engines and sending e-mail messages to mailing lists and newsgroups such as UK.Legal.

Stage 2: The creation of the pages

Amongst the first issues which would be tackled would be: the legal system; current legal issues, as well as some materials about the Hamlyn Trust.

Stage 3: The completion of the pages

As more materials become available, we shall undertake the authoring of the remaining substantive pages as well as undertaking further promotional activities. Two strategies would come into play during this time.

Stage 4: The updating of the pages during the project period

Updating of the current events section will occur bi-monthly, but other subject areas would not require such continuous attention and could be revised as the need arises. The process of amendment is again made more feasible because of the electronic medium being used which clearly has advantages over paper publishing.

Stage 5: Conclusion date & possible continuance of the project

The Trust offers funding for a maximum of one year so the initial conclusion date must be the end of August 1998. However, we would certainly be very interested in pursuing the continuance and furtherance of this project. The subject areas to be covered in Year 2 are marked * in the Menu Table above. The second year would also allow for deepening and widening of the materials in the areas covered in Year 1. In regard to future development, there is of course a vast range of other subject areas which might be considered as additions to our pages. This work would have to facilitated by further grants, from the Trust or elsewhere. The Trust's funds are very limited, so we would be very interested to hear from sponsors or advertisers who might be able to assist with the continuance of this work.


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For further information please contact the UK Law Online Webmaster Yaman Akdeniz

Last Updated on September 29, 1997.