Fifteen Years of Free Access to Law


Fifteen Years of Free Access to Law
Daniel Poulin, LexUM, University of Montreal

Abstract. Free access to law on the web began with the seminal initiative of two law professors at Cornell University in 1992. Rapidly, others researchers and professors adopted the idea, and created their own legal information institutes.

Later, government also joined in by establishing free access for some law. In general terms, the movement to make law accessible for free on the Internet is now fifteen years old.

As the number of stakeholders involved in making the law free and open grows, it is useful to take stock of the progress, try to identify what has been demonstrated by pioneering actions, pinpoint what is still disputed and look at what needs to be done to further extend open and free access.

The LexUM laboratory at the Université de Montréal had been involved in the open access to law initiative since its inception. Drawing on experience gained in Canada and in supporting access to law abroad, we offer our reading of the open and free access to law movement at fifteen.

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