The future of authorized law reporting

By Linh Ly

On 11 June 2013, a ALLA NSW and Sterling Group hosted a joint lunchtime seminar on the future of authorised law reportin presented by Justice Lindsay. The following notes on the meeting were prepared by Linh Ly, ALLA NSW Secretary.

These days the concept of law reporting is not very flexible or strong.

The rise in the electronic age has had an impact on this.

There needs to be more than just an approval of judges.
1. authoritative selection by an acknowledge expert
2. value-added service eg. headnote

Text of an authorised reports v version on case law is not the same. The reported version has a headnote and edited text. AustLII believes users should have access to the authorised version as quickly as possible.

There are 5 factors that impact on the law reporting
1. There has been a shift in technology but we have not worked out a way of regulating it/content.
2. Economics of law reporting (invincible factor). Consumers want free to air and available to everyone. Publishers need to find a system to provide free to air but also fee-based.
3. Structural changes in the legal system
4. Courts want the authorised reports
5. View the publishing as a whole and not as piecemeal

Do not overlook the authority of authorised reports.

Adapt the notion of our view of authorised reports.

Who pays for the extra care of editing the authorised reports?

Re CLRs – up to date no available on AustLII and Barnet due to copyright and funding.

Consumers cut back on purchasing the CLRs as it is very expensive. How do publishers sustain in publishing? Flow on effect – create specialist reports?

There is a difference between authorised reports v any reports

New forms of authorised reports (possibilities)
1. case summary – link to free to air
2. adoption of new form of textbook – books on particular topics (like the US).
3. quality newspaper reports (eg Times Law Reports)

Move towards electronic – to have one website (mix of free-to-air and fee-based)

Development of our law – is how it is written up. Authorised reports are very important and need to be nurtured.

There is no coordination between the commercial publishers. Because of this the quality has been affected.

Free to air is great but is corrosive to the publishers. How do we sustain it?

We need to come up with a good business model

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