Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
July/August 2003, by Delia Venables

Session Cases appearing On Line
by Anthony Kinahan

Session Cases are Scotland’s authoritative law reports. Uniquely amongst Scottish reports the judges have the opportunity to review the text and rubric of reports of their cases. They are quoted in preference to all other series of reports of Scottish cases. From the autumn of 2003 they will be available on line.

The Scottish legal profession established The Scottish Council of Law Reporting, a non-profit making charitable company limited by guarantee, in 1957 to manage publication of Session Cases. The Council’s membership includes representatives of the Scottish judiciary, Scottish advocates and Scottish solicitors. For the past few years the Council has been working towards creating a database of its archive of law reports; this process has been accelerated and extended by a substantial financial grant from the Faculty of Advocates, Scotland’s bar. By the autumn of 2003 the Council will possess a database of all its decisions back to 1930 and will have routines in place to produce future reports in a format that will allow their quick loading on to on line services.

The Council wishes to make its reports available to the widest audience at as economic a price as possible; as a non-profit making organisation it only seeks to recoup the costs of creating and publishing those reports. To this end, the Council is negotiating with a number of on line legal information vendors to include Session Cases in their services on a non-exclusive basis. Context Electronic Publishers will be launching electronic Session Cases, a database of all the reported cases back to 1930, on in autumn 2003. Agreement has also been reached with Thomson Legal & Regulatory Europe for Session Cases to be added to their Westlaw services, possibly late in 2004.

As to the future, the Council will continue to look at ways of improving its reporting services and extending its on line archive back in time. Any reserves that it may accumulate will be applied to these objectives and in response to demand from the legal profession that the Council serves.

Anthony Kinahan is Publishing Consultant and Company Secretary, Scottish Council of Law Reporting.

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