New Mexico is one of the few U.S. States where the official publishing of legislation and case law is centralized in the hands of a specialized enterprise agency, the New Mexico Compilation Commission (NMCC), created in 1941. Over the last fifteen years, the State of New Mexico has been its own self-publisher of its official laws. NMCC has been providing three distinct online services: its agency website for posting slip opinions, formal and unreported opinions and new court rule amendments on behalf of the Supreme Court of New Mexico; a free, word-searchable online database of unannotated statutes at the request of the state legislature; and a legal research service called NMOneSource™ where legal professionals could gain online access to the official, annotated compilation of primary legal information relied upon by the courts and the legislature. Over the years, the technology supporting NMOneSource had fallen behind the rest of the legal publishing industry as the demand for free access increased. This prompted the NMCC to recently initiate a formal procurement to modernize its online publishing, reduce its operational costs and provide the legal research service, NMOneSource.com, for free to the citizens.
It is in this procurement context that the NMCC discovered CanLII, the Supreme Court of Canada decision website, and other official websites powered by Lexum technology. These free access websites, with their advanced legal research features, convinced the NMCC that providing quality open access to all of its content was now achievable at a reasonable cost. In a leap forward, the State of New Mexico decided that the time has come to open up access to the quality primary legal information it produces. This information includes:
- Its constitution;
- Its territorial laws and treaties;
- Its session laws from 1909;
- Its codified statutes (including annual historical versions);
- The New Mexico Appellate Reports;
- Slip opinions and unpublished decisions from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals;
- The annotated Rules of the Court (including annual historical versions).
- The Attorney General opinions.
Over the last few months Lexum has been working on the new publishing website to provide free online access to all of this material, and NMOneSource 2.0 was officially launched on May 1st 2019. The NMCC publishing infrastructure is now powered by Decisia for content management and for the delivery of case law material, Qweri for the delivery of legislative material, and Lexbox for user accounts management, content alerts, and email notifications. Lexum also designed an internal citator generating links on legal citations included in the body of documents and providing a note up feature. As of yesterday, primary legal information from New Mexico has become available in a unified environment very similar to what Canadian legal professionals are familiar with in the context of CanLII.
Providing access to the complete set of primary legal information from a U.S. state is a major development for Lexum and CanLII (as the owner of Lexum), as well as a step forward in the global movement to support open access to legal information. This project provides a great opportunity to further refine and develop software that is already fundamental to open access initiatives in many Canadian and U.S. legal institutions. In the long run, we hope that the leadership displayed by the state of New Mexico, and the success brought by its upgraded online service, will inspire other U.S. jurisdictions to adopt a similar centralized open access model for legal information.
You can access NMOneSource 2.0 at http://nmonesource.com.