Home > Uncategorized > WorldLII—Still free and covers more

WorldLII—Still free and covers more

I am sure you are familiar with LII, the Legal Information Institute created by our law school that provides no-cost access to current American and international legal research sources. It then became the beginning of the Free Access to Law Movement started from 1992 till now.

WorldLII, as you can tell from the name, is the umbrella project for all the other LII projects. The LIIs have a declaration shows their philosophy of access to law, which announces that public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity and maximizing access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law.

With access to 14 legal Information Institutes, WorldLII contains 1165 databases that cover 123 jurisdictions. And the numbers are still in increasing. As you can see from the homepage of WorldLII, it comprises three main facilities: Databases, Catalog and Web search.

While building the databases on Legal Information Institutes like AustLII, BAILII, CanLII, HKLII, LII (Cornell) and PacLII, WorldLII also has its own exclusively databases including the databases of decisions of international Courts reports, law journals, and so on. Clicking on “All Countries” on the right side of the homepage, you can enter databases arranged by country names in alphabetical order.

The categories in WorldLII are also very useful when it comes to international legal research in a certain area. You can start a research by countries, LIIs, Law Journals, Law Libraries or by subjects, etc. Personally I prefer doing research by subjects, which saves a lot of time when you know the specific area you are working on. Searching by libraries also is good choice if that library is specialized in the area you want to explore.

Overall, WorldLII can be quite helpful if you want to do some international legal research and have no idea about which LII you should start with. However, it does have some links (e.g. the subject of citizenship & Migration) that lead to “page not found”, which can be a little bit annoying.

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