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LawInfoChina upgrades Web Site

The Library subscribes to several databases of Chinese law. One of them is LawInfoChina, which is produced by the Peking University Legal Information Center. LawInfoChina  has  a variety of collections. Laws & Regulations contains laws, regulations, rules, judicial interpretations, local regulations and local rules in more than ninety subject areas. It includes all laws adopted by the National People’s Congress and the NPC Standing Committee and all regulations issued by the State Council from 1949 onward. Laws & Regulations also includes “important judicial interpretations that substantially influence legal practices and are recognized as an indispensable part of the original Chinese laws and regulations.” LawInfoChina includes a separate Case Law Database, which contains “typical judicial decisions approved and published by the Supreme People’s Court or the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.” These editorially enhanced cases are chosen “to reflect both current and predicted future trends in Chinese legal practice,” but the emphasis is on meeting the needs of companies doing business in China. Finally, there are both a Gazettes database (containing tables of contents of the official gazettes of various government agencies) and a database of Chinese Law Journals.

LawInfoChina has just updated it web site. It is now possible to search (or filter search results) by data facets, such as type of document, subject area, year of adoption, or any combination. The title/keyword search engine now also supports Boolean search syntax, allowing you to “and” and “or” search concepts, as well as search for phrases.

Of course, the single greatest value-added aspect of LawInfoChina is that all material is translated into English. However, those who speak or read Chinese should also keep in mind that the same platform supports a Chinese-language version of the database, ChinaLawInfo, which contains more material than its English-language counterpart. One nice feature is that it is possible to toggle back and forth between the two versions.

HeinOnline User Guides, Quick Reference Guides, and Other Training Materials

We all think of HeinOnline as a terrific source for PDF versions of law review articles. There’s good reason for this, since HeinOnline includes so many titles, and provides access to all of them all the way back to volume one. No other database provides PDF versions of so many articles, covering such a long period of time. Full Story »

Free Starbucks Gift Card!

Have you noticed that the Library has a new web site for research guides? Although we only recently began transitioning to this new site, there are already a number of new research guides available, and many more will follow. Take a look and let us know what you think.

To get you started, I invite you to look at the most recent guide, Foreign Law Basics. This research guide is intended to be a quick introduction to the most important sources, mostly electronic, that will help you no matter what country you are interested in.

And here’s a challenge. The first person to email me with correct answers to the following questions will receive a $10 gift card from Starbucks. Needless to say, all questions can be answered using electronic sources mentioned in Foreign Law Basics.

1) Which sections of the Austrian Civil Code deal with adoption?

2) When was the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany most recently amended? Where can I find an English-language translation of the amending law?

3) What was the approximate population of Belgium in mid-2010?

Believe me, these questions are not difficult to answer. If you like Starbucks coffee, it will be worth your while to look through Foreign Law Basics and give it a shot. (No pun intended.)

Starbucks, Facebook, and the Law Library

Allow me to extend another hearty welcome, new and returning students!  For those of you who were not involved in yesterday’s law school orientation, you may have noticed that the law library is now on Facebook and Twitter.  You may be asking yourself, ‘why would I want to follow or “like” the law library’?  Through these profiles, the law library will keep you up to date on changes in library hours throughout the year, announcements of library events, and other interesting or fun tidbits we come across.

As an incentive to “like” us on Facebook, when our page reaches 100 likes, we will randomly select one Maurer Law student who has liked us to receive a $25 Starbucks gift card!

And…go!

Welcome New Students!

Welcome to the new 1L class, and congratulations on starting orientation today!  We hope that you have a wonderful law school experience, and at the Law Library will do everything that we can to make your time here fun and interesting.  The library is a place to study, learn, reflect, and prepare.  We hope that you will spend lots of time here, and if you have any questions we can help with, please don’t hesitate to ask any of the library staff.   We are excited about working with all our new students over the next three years. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

New Social Media for the Law Library!

The Law Library now has its own Facebook and Twitter accounts!  In addition to information, we will also be using these pages for fun.   Like us on Facebook and see historical photos of the Law Library or get a jump on useful legal resources.  Follow us on Twitter for important library announcements!  Both will also tie in with our YouTube channel, where a new video was just added.  In this one a Young Timmy is learns all about how helpful indexes can be with the help of an ever patient and condescending 1950’s narrator.  Go check these new pages out!

When is a Grey Mare not a Grey Mare? And Other Tidbits from English Legal History

A patron recently requested information about a 1726 English case involving an action for recovery of a wager. The parties were in agreement that the plaintiff’s “grey mare” outran the defendant’s “bay mare,” but the plaintiff (an “eminent distiller”) was nonsuited anyway because he could not prove that the “grey mare” in the race was the one originally matched. Apparently he pulled a switcheroo, and substituted a different horse with “a far better share of heels.” As more than 500 £ were wagered on each side, it is not surprising that the newspaper account of the case reported that “the dispute has been the subject of conversation for these two years past at most public meetings of gentlemen sportsmen.”

The patron wished to know whether there might be an official report of the decision, but unfortunately did not know the names of the parties or even the court in which the cause was heard. With only a hint that the court sat at Guildhall, we could surmise that it was the Lord Mayor’s Court (which still exists!), and at least some of that court’s decisions did find their way into the English Reports. But how to find the case without party names?

Fortunately, the English Reports, Full Reprint, is included in HeinOnline. This database permits the user to search for terms in the decision, such as “grey mare,” “bay mare,” and “wager.” Unfortunately, a search for these keywords retrieved nothing. Likewise a search in the Lexis English case law file containing decisions going back to 1561. So it appears that no report was made in any of the so-called nominative reports that comprised the ‘official’ world of case reporting in 18th century England.

Continuing on the subject of online reports of older English case law, those with a historical bent of mind might want to look at the proceedings of the Old Bailey, a free online database of English criminal cases spanning the period 1674-1913. This is an absolutely amazing collection of 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court, described as “[a] fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published.” Just for fun, I searched for cases involving grey mares, and in fact found 10 cases in which such horses were stolen. Perhaps one was the ringer used to dupe the “gentlemen sportsmen;” if so, it profited its seller no more than the “eminent distiller” who could not collect his gambling debt.

Perhaps it is fitting (and maybe even ironic) that the Old Bailey database is funded by the English National Lottery.

Fun with Gov Info: Popular Baby Names

Find out the most popular baby names of 2011 (courtesy of U.S. Social Security Administration).

You can search the popularity of names dating back to 1880. You can also look up popular names by birth year, decade, or state; popular names for twins; and popular names in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

H.T.: USA.gov

Hot Topic: Student Loan Interest Rate Reduction

Direct Stafford Loans, from the U.S. Department of Education’s William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, provide loans to undergraduates to help pay for their education. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 has resulted in the interest rates on these loans to being lowered steadily over the last four years from 6.0% to 3.4%. On July 1, however, these interest rates are set to spike, doubling to 6.8%.

According to the White House website, this change will affect over seven million students, who will have to pay an extra $1,000 a year if no action is taken in Congress to prevent the rise before July. Preventing this change, however, comes at a cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will cost $6 billion to extend the current interest rates for one year. While Democrats and Republicans both agree it is important to keep student loan interests rates low, they are currently at odds with each other on how to pay for it. On May 8, Senate voted against the first attempt to freeze rates. It was a Democratic proposal that suggested an offset could be achieved ending the tax break for the wealthy. Republicans are countering this idea with their own proposition of attaining the money by eliminating a public health fund created by President Obama’s national health care law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119, codified as amended at scattered sections of the Internal Revenue Code and in 42 U.S.C.)

If you are interested in tracking the progress of this issue, I suggest you follow the development of both the House and Senate bills (H.R. 4628, S. 2343). You can do this through the following legislative databases:

Having the history of a bill will also inform you of any members of Congress who have given testimony or a floor statement on the issue, which you can then find in the Congressional Record, which is available through ProQuest Congressional, CQ.com, and Thomas.

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

European Court of Justice decisions added to HeinOnline

The Court of Justice of the European Union is the court of general jurisdiction that interprets European Union law for all the member states of the E.U. For a very basic description of the Court’s composition, jurisdiction, and procedures, one should view its page at the European Union’s Europa web site. HeinOnline recently added decisions of the European Court of Justice to its Foreign and International Law Resources Database. Decisions of the E.C.J., dating back to its foundation in 1954, are already available at Curia, the Court’s own web site, as well as in both Lexis and WestLaw. However, the addition of its decisions to HeinOnline provides yet another access point to the jurisprudence of this important court, via HeinOnline’s own search interface.
The E.C.J. decisions on HeinOnline are a complete collection of the European Court Reports through 2008. More recent decisions are available in Lexis and WestLaw, and documentation from pending decisions is available through Curia. However, you should bear in mind that not all decisions of the Court are published in the European Court Reports. For example, since 2004 the E.C.R. typically have not included orders, decisions rendered by three-judge panels in non-preliminary matters, and five-judge decisions lacking an Advocate General’s Opinion (because not precedent-setting).

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