Announcement of CommonLII

The Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) would like to announce the launch of the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII), located at <>. Like other LIIs, CommonLII is free access and non-profit.

CommonLII already allows browsing and searching of 464 databases from 50 Commonwealth and common law countries and territories. Many of these databases are located on existing LIIs in Commonwealth countries, but CommonLII contains databases from 30 additional countries. Additional databases are under development. There is a Catalog of law websites for all Commonwealth countries.

Notable database collections on CommonLII include those from India (very extensive), from Singapore and Malaysia, from most Caribbean countries, and from ten African countries. It is also possible to search Commonwealth-wide legislation (from 30 countries), or case law or law reform.

CommonLII was launched at the 14th Commonwealth Law Conference, which has just concluded in London, by Mr Ian Govey, Deputy Secretary, Australian Attorney-General's Department.

CommonLII is supported by the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association, Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association, Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation. The Australian Research Council and Australian Attorney-General's Department have provided initial funding for development of CommonLII. We would like to thank all institutions from Commonwealth countries whose legal materials are included in CommonLII, and all organisations providing support.

We would also like to thank all AustLII staff for their work on CommonLII.

Feedback is welcome, particularly requests to include additional databases.

Graham Greenleaf
Andrew Mowbray
Philip Chung
Co-Directors, AustLII & CommonLII

AustLII is a joint facility of the Faculties of Law of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), and the University of New South Wales (UNSW)

18 September 2005

Launch of Commonwealth Legal Information Institute

CommonLII invitation

CommonLII launch
Speakers at the launch of CommonLII (L to R): The Hon Sir David Simmons KA ; The Hon Murray Gleeson; Jules Winterton; Professor Andrew Mowbray; Mr Ian Govey; Professor Graham Greenleaf; Mr Michael Sayers - See details of launch programme below.

CommonLII launch
Professors Mowbray and Greenleaf present a CommonLII logo to Ms Claire Martin, Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), for display in CLA's London office

Launch Programme

Launch of the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII)

Proposed launch programme
St. James Room, 4th Floor, QEII Convention Centre
1-2 pm, Monday 12 September

1:05 – 1:15 Welcome and introduction - Professor Graham Greenleaf

Co-Director, AustLII & CommonLII; Comments will cover background (AustLII and Free Access to Law Movement) and objectives of CommonLII.

1:15 –1:30 Brief remarks by Distinguished Guests

(Gist of introduction by Graham Greenleaf is in parentheses)

The Hon Murray Gleeson, Chief Justice, High Court of Australia

(The High Court was the first Court whose decisions were made available on the Internet by AustLII, and is therefore the Court whose decisions may be considered to be the first to appear on CommonLII.)

The Hon Sir David Simmons KA, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Barbados

(invited) (The first Court not part of an existing Legal Information Institute to agree to have its decisions included in CommonLII)

Michael Sayers, Hon General Secretary, Cth Association of Law Reform Agencies (CALRAs)

(We hope that CommonLII will not only present the existing law of the Commonwealth, but will also facilitate its ongoing reform. Mr Sayers is also a former Chief Executive of the Law Commission for England and Wales.)

Colin Nicholls QC, President, Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA)

(CLA represents the most significant category of CommonLII’s intended users, the lawyers of the Commonwealth countries – though it is also intended to be used by the general public. CLA is also one of CommonLII’s stakeholders and the joint host of this launch.)

Jules Winterton, Deputy Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS)

(Mr Winterton is one of the Trustees of BAILII, one of the eight existing Legal Information Institutes from around the Commonwealth whose content is essential to CommonLII. He is also relaying a message from Sir Henry Brook of the Court of Appeal and Chair of the BAILII trustees. The IALS is also CommonLII’s base in London and has assisted with the launch.)

1:30-1:35 Launch of CommonLII by Mr Ian Govey, Deputy Secretary, Australian Attorney-General’s Department

(The Department has provided ‘start-up’ funds to assist CommonLII, as has the Australian Research Council in its general funding to AustLII to assist access to the common law. We are very grateful to both for their assistance and confidence.)

Mr Govey will enter the password for the last time before CommonLII becomes freely available, thereby ‘launching’ it for public use.

1:35- 1:50 Demonstration of CommonLII by Professor Andrew Mowbray

(Co-Director, AustLII & CommonLII, and principal developer of their software)

Thanks also to the Executive Director of AustLII & CommonLII, Philip Chung and his staff back in Sydney

1:55 Q&A: How to have new decisions, legislation etc included in CommonLII – Professors Greenleaf and Mowbray