Jump to content


Add topic
From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Latest comment: 14 years ago by Morsmordre in topic Falls under Wikipedia mandate

Falls under Wikipedia mandate[edit]

This content already falls under the Wikipedia mandate. --Oldak 00:14, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree. There are already plenty of articles on individual court cases and laws, and the better ones have a full discussion of historical context and social impact. Whatever doesn't fit under objective articles, such as advocacy, fits under wikibooks (or maybe you could start Wikiadvocacy?). Beyond that, I don't think that an open-content source could be a viable primary resource for law students and lawyers in the sense suggested on the project page—it would probably constitute professional malpractice for them to rely on it as authoritative. As someone entering the legal profession myself, my relationship with wikipedia is basically one way on this subject—I come to share what I know with laypeople, not to learn. That type of project could only work if participation were limited to licensed professionals. Postdlf 00:10, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I don't agree. Wikipedia doesn't have clear seperate categories (portals) for different jurisdictions. Pages relating to English law need to be kept completly seperate from pages that relate to US law, etc. How many different jurisdictions would 'wikilaw' cover? Would it just be Common Law jurisdictions, or Civil Law ones too? Willstansfield 21:47, 3 September 2006 (UTC)Reply
I also disagree. At least with respect to law in the U.S., Wikipedia contains very little information about decisions in inferior (i.e. non-Supreme Court) jurisdictions. Without portals for separate jurisdictions it's very difficult to use Wikipedia for any serious law research or education. I think Wikilaw, by providing these jurisdictional categories, would be a much more useful tool. And as far as it being a poor resource for lawyers and law students, I again disagree. Wikilaw would only provide a starting point for legal research, similar to other legal encyclopedias or hornbooks. No lawyer cites these low-level secondary sources as legal authority in their memos or briefs, they simply use them as research tools to learn the fundamentals of unfamiliar areas of law or as a source for finding cases and other (citable) materials.Morsmordre 03:36, 21 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Additional ideas[edit]

As a layperson interested in the law, I wholeheartedly welcome this project idea. I have a few ideas for it:

  • This project should drive the development of a complete repository (even if not in Wikilaw itself) of legal concepts, law, case law, legislation and regulations currently in force around the world and at all polity levels, with extended discussions possible to go along with each entity.
  • It would be nice if we could see the historical development of each law, including who is responsible for it (politicians, interest groups, etc.) and a chronological history of events and any controversies surrounding it.
  • It would be nice to have a way of highlighting laws on the books that can be currently called anachronistic or dated.
  • It would be nice to document old laws no longer in existence and how they play into contemporary law.
  • I'm not sure if this could fit into this concept, but it would be nice to have the possibility of discussions of how laws can be changed to make them better, more equitable, more enforceable, etc.

--Stevietheman 03:43, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Any content not regarded as suitable for Wikipedia can go to the Wikicities:c:Legal project instead. If that takes off and there is support within the Wikimedia community for it, it could be moved from Wikicities to Wikimedia. Angela 06:46, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Pitfalls, Shortcomings, Suggestions[edit]

Call me the Devil's Advocate, if you wish, but here are my views on this topic: I think having a comprehensive searchable encyclopedia of legal knowledge would be a great accomplishment and a benefit to legal and lay-persons. I must say, though, that no matter how much time, effort, and support from the legal community the project receives, the ultimate source for any legal advocacy is and must be the actual, physical code or case law. Currently, a vast number of U.S. attorneys make use of the online resources of companies like Westlaw and Lexis to perform at least preliminary research. Law students are taught to use these online compendia, but good law schools will teach their students always to follow up online research by finding the source. However, there is a trend to decrease research time by using broad, sometimes unreliable sources to get a general understanding of the topic before delving deep into often confusing and thick source books.

There are, however, other online resources that have tried to do this, some with more success than others. I suggest that if anyone is interested in producing something similar to peruse some of the following free online legal resource websites. Notice, I did specify "free", because the expectation of a paid service like Westlaw is that legal professionals are paid to make sure the representations of the website are correct. Regardless of whatever becomes of this, I suggest that on every page related to this topic, an un-editable disclaimer be used.

Note: Findlaw is not currently free.

Take a look at some of these legal resource websites:

[[1]]Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute

[[2]]World Encyclopedia of Law



[[5]]Law Guru



[[8]]4 Law School

[[9] Sicurezza pubblica

(I might add more in the near future. Please feel free to add to the list if you know of any. Note: I do not work for, nor do I advocate using any of these legal resources for authoritative or otherwise legal research; they are merely examples.)

Another major issue is the distinction between U.S. and foreign law. Certainly in law school, students read old British cases, not necessarily as authoritative, but in order to learn the development of modern common law. Would a broad compendium of the law, as suggested, include reference to foreign and international law? Would the pages, themselves, make the distinction?

Zephlon 14:06, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Wikilaw is a good idea. I discussed it on #wikipedia before I even realized there was a project already. I called it wikijury or wikijurisprudence with the same idea to include the decisions and such online. Moreover, I wanted it to encourage further discussion on such decisions. Users could create articles that expresses pros, cons, history, relavent cases, etc, like above. If this evolves, it could start articles on any bill put to congress before its vote. That would be powerful. - Jhballard 07:15, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Already done it.[edit]

I've started a legal wiki project called LawWiki. [10] -Tom

Can't find it. Could you provide a direct link that is current? Thanks! Stevietheman 21:10, 12 August 2005 (UTC)Reply
It's offline at the moment. It will return soon. -Tom

A project devoted to worlwide law...[edit]

...was started in november 2004, in several languages ([11]).

Hjv 15:05, 15 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Yet Another[edit]

My friend just pointed me to this link and I found this conversation. I am a lawyer in NY/NJ and working on getting WikiLaw online. A version currently exists online though it is a modest beginning at WikiLaw.org. I am currently amidst discussions with different state reporters to have access to cases, etc.

Though I have taught my self much, my skills in MySQL and PHP are somewhat lacking. If anyone would like to assist me in the project I would like to place cases and laws into MySQL tables within the overall Wiki database, and create some interesting automated features. I am hoping to acquire content and work closely with volunteers to create automated formating and WikiMedia Modules to create some additional features necessary for legal texts.

JurisPedia and others seem to be greet initial efforts but appear to be going in the wrong direction in terms of content management that will make them difficult to grow.

If anyone is interested, i have the skills, education, knowledge and resources to put this project forward in a serious coordinated effort. With help, it will take less time. Take a look at the site and contact me from there.

Current status[edit]

It's been a while since anyone's commented on this page, and I assume there's a growing consensus that Wikipedia will do the trick. However, Wikipedia could still play a role in aggregating the HUUUUUUUGE body of caselaw sources, in the manner of justitia.org / altlaw.org / etc. We would like to see cases populated by Wikilinks, and we would (ideally) like that information to appear in the "what links here" area of Wikipedia. (Perhaps the only way to do that will be to permit Wikipedia to contain certain primary sources; and then we'd want to "lock" these pages.) Agradman 22:07, 23 June 2009 (UTC)Reply