SLAW Says “Vagueness Not An Acceptable Standard”

Gary Rodrigues  posted an article to the SLAW blog network on on December 29th arguing that ….

Legal database suppliers across the board should be concentrating on quality not quantity and auditing their databases properly so subscribers know exactly whet they are getting for their money..


Vagueness and the scope of caselaw databases

Caselaw databases are frequently described as being “comprehensive” collections of cases with the meaning of the word “comprehensive” left undefined. The exceptions, of course, are databases based on print series of law reports which are by definition “selective”.

Some but not all database providers do say that they have so many hundreds or so many thousands of judgments covering specific years or time periods. Some say nothing at all. A few provide further details of the number of decisions by court level but, in general, vagueness is the order of the day.

“Vagueness” is not an acceptable standard
Legal researchers on the other hand need to know for certain what data they have in fact reviewed or considered as part of the research process. “Vagueness” is not an acceptable standard. A major commercial advantage should ensue to the legal publisher that can claim that it has audited its databases and can clearly state the scope of its databases in terms that can be easily understood by the user.

Auditing databases is not a difficult task. It is merely time consuming. LexisNexis engaged in one such exercise when Canada Law Book announced that it would remove its criminal and labour arbitration databases from Quicklaw. By the time the proprietary databases were removed, LexisNexis had identified the missing cases in its own databases and replaced the content.


Read the full article at