I had a few minutes of fun today checking my reading speed on this site. Probably a not very accurate test, but it does check your understanding of the text you’ve just read, by questioning you on aspects of it at the end of your reading time. I got 100% accuracy each time I tried it, and a very fast reading speed each time. I wanted to average out my speed, but there were only 3 sample texts, and repeating them wouldn’t be very accurate, so I had to settle for the average of the 3 texts: 754 words per minute.That seems to put me above “college professors”, and below “high-scoring college students” (ok – that seems slightly back-to-front, but hey-ho!) on their scale.
Ah, FindLaw UK, a shiny new website, for general public access to law, and solicitors. Sounds like a good thing, and in principle, it is.
But I have to go back to a traditional moan: Scots law differs in many areas from English/Welsh law. The Findlaw UK website almost exclusively refers to E/W law, but doesn’t actually state this. There are a few references to where there are differences, but these can be deep in the articles e.g the core section on divorce procedure refers entirely to E/W law, with only a related article alongside outlining that there are different procedures in different jurisdictions.
Buying and Selling Property is purely about E/W law, I can’t find even a hint of the Scottish differences. Bankruptcy? Alcohol and Crime? Dispute Resolution Law? Criminal Law? Litigation? All English/Welsh, with links to national agencies for those topics.
Only the Law and Government section discusses in any depth the jurisdictional issues, including a Devolution section, so they do know that there are differences. But there’s no link from this core information to the subject guidance sections. The few references to Scots law are also often lifted from DirectGov, who refer to the Scottish Government as the Scottish Executive, but FindLaw UK’s own material refer to it as the Scottish Government: using the two terms is confusing for those who don’t know the difference between the old and new terms for the body.
Of course, a lot of these areas of law I don’t regularly work in, so can’t be sure how accurate the site is in those, but the ones I do know about seem to generally have no signing or flagging of the jurisdiction of the content, which, if you’re aiming a site at the general public, is not a great plan.
So FindLaw UK, if you’re going to market yourself as being able to provide “legal information, access to quality solicitors and a community to help you make the best legal decisions”, then please, remember to actually do that. Nobody can make their best legal decision if the information they’re basing it on relates to the law of another country.
Iain Nisbet of the Govan Law Centre (and excellent, and entertaining Absolvitor blog) has referred to a (somewhat snarky) blog post I did back in October about the UK Supreme Court website in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (JLSS – not to be confused with a terrible manufactured boy band)
While it’s great to see from Iain’s review that things on the site have improved (and I’m blushing at the thought of having any sort of influence other than what craft class to run in the evenings), it did remind me to double check an issue with the cases that was still outstanding in November 2009, when I looked at the site again.
Case  UKSC 1 E, R (on the application of) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor (Rev 3) doesn’t actually exist on the Supreme Court site. You can find it via BAILLI, which shows the 3 cases the court decided in October. Searching for “ UKSC 1” on the Decided Cases area doesn’t bring it up, nor does using the name. The only way to find it is a general search for the exact phrase / citation (which is fine if you know it), which brings up a link to the PDF version of the case. Methinks it’s perhaps time to put that in the…erm…Decided Cases section? It is kinda important, what with it being the first ever judgement from the new court….
*For the non-Scots:
|winching||Noun. Courting, dating. [Scottish use]|
Something @infobunny was trying to find out this morning…she was looking for what she believed to be the 2 cases decided so far. Where would they be? Well, any sane person would think “Ah, the Decided Cases section, that’s where they’ll be”. But no, sanity does not prevail here! Obviously, where you should be looking for decided cases is in the News and Publications section, where you’ll find a link to a topic called Judgments. Here, you’ll find a case. Just one case. The other is mysterious, and not to be accessed by the likes of us. It may be real, it may not. There’s no way of confirming that from the mish-mash of the website. Although @johnhalton has suggested that the delay in judgments going where they’re meant to be is due to the fact that it takes a while to transcribe from the vellum onto computer…