Happy New Law Term!

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

– Tancredi in The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa

As is tradition in the legal profession, the opening of Law Term is marked with black tie dinners and religious ceremonies. The Honourable T E F Bathurst AC, Chief Justice of New South Wales, delivered an insightful speech titled “The place of lawyers in politics” at the Opening of Law Term dinner.

For the profession, marking the opening of a new Law Term gives it time to reflect on the year that has passed and meditate upon the one ahead.

In his speech, the Chief Justice said (at [7]):

As the beneficiaries of a legal education, lawyers belong to a privileged class who can navigate the complexities of legislative drafting and understand the concrete implications of policy decisions, with the obligation to use this knowledge to the advantage of society.

With the passing of each year the pressures and pace of the administration and practice of law increase. The introduction of new technologies over the past 25 years has dramatically changed the way in which a practitioner goes about using legal knowledge to fulfil their obligation to society.

While it has always been the case that lawyers must know the law as it applies to a particular matter and be aware of any changes that may affect their client’s position, in the economic pressures of the digital age it is expected that one is able to (almost) instantaneously ascertain the relevant current law.

The words spoken by Tancredi in The Leopard are particularly relevant to the administration and practice of the law in the digital age. Digital disruption in the law (namely the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning) will continue to be a ubiquitous presence in day to day practice.

The role that technology, when used for the greater good, can play in promoting the rule of law cannot be underestimated. Tools such as JADE Professional and electronic portals such as those for the Victorian Reports and New South Wales Law Reports harness the power of technology not only to allow the courts and the profession at large to continue to use their knowledge to the advantage of society, but also to make the law more accessible and relevant to the ordinary citizen.

Join the revolution. Subscribe to, or renew your subscription to, JADE Professional in the month of February and receive 13 months for the price of 12, together with a copy of “Whiteley on Trial” by Gabriella Coslovich.

This gripping book by arts journalist Gabriella Coslovich has more twists and turns than an episode of Poirot … Whiteley on Trial is a gripping art-world thriller set in this heady milieu, meticulously told and intriguing for all sorts of reasons. The case and the book have certainly shaken up the art world.” —PHIL BROWN, COURIER MAIL

2017 – The Year in Review

What a year it has been! The team at JADE and Little William Bourke (the publisher of the Victorian Reports) have welcomed new friends, said goodbye to old ones; collectively flown tens of thousands of kilometres to teach, learn and explore new opportunities; and continued on our mission as leading digital disruptors in the legal information and research space.

We’ve travelled the country far and wide this year, delivering training sessions to our faithful subscribers and wooing new ones with the power of JADE and the technological advances in law reporting. Once again, we were overwhelmed with feedback from our users about how JADE Professional helps them work faster, better and smarter.

Here are some highlights of the year that has been 2017 …

Wishing you all a happy festive season, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

From all the team at BarNet, JADE and Little William Bourke

End of year book offer: Whiteley on Trial by Gabriella Coslovich

 

We are offering a complimentary copy of Whiteley on Trial by Gabriella Coslovich to new and renewing annual JADE Professional subscribers. To take advantage of this offer, simply visit https://jade.io/WOT by 24 December.

“This gripping book by arts journalist Gabriella Coslovich has more twists and turns than an episode of Poirot … Whiteley on Trial is a gripping art-world thriller set in this heady milieu, meticulously told and intriguing for all sorts of reasons. The case and the book have certainly shaken up the art world.” —PHIL BROWN, COURIER MAIL

“My inquiry is this: Am I still a British Citizen?”

While section 44 of the Constitution has been around … well, since the enactment of the Constitution, it seems that it was only this year that some of our parliamentarians looked to their lineage and, shock horror, discovered that they may not have done the necessary due diligence before signing their nomination forms for their election to the Senate and House of Representatives.

“ … Your attention is drawn in particular to section 44 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia … Candidates who have any doubts about their eligibility, by virtue of section 44 of the Constitution, are advised to obtain their own legal advice … ”

One by one we saw our politicians falling foul of the rule of section 44.

Malcolm Roberts, now former Australian Senator, had cause to question his citizenship and sought to satisfy himself of same via email query, the subject line of which read “My inquiry is this: Am I still a British citizen?” (Re Roberts [2017] HCA 39, [40].)

The whole sorry saga had us thinking about how JADE Professional might help our future parliamentarians (or those who have to renominate after they sort out their dual citizenship woes) with those pesky forms …

Step 1: Look at section 44 of the Constitution! What would this tell you? The rules by which you must abide when nominating for a position in federal Parliament, of course!

 

Step 2: click on the Jadeclip … that innocuous little green clip on the right-hand side of the page … and unlock the power of JADE Professional! Find the latest case which considers section 44 of the Constitution and jump straight to the citations of that section in those cases. Set an alert to be notified of any cases decided on this particular section between now and the election.

       

 

Step 3: use our Citator tool to see how words and phrases like “eligibility”, “dual citizen”, “foreign citizenship” and “disqualified” have been used in judicial reasoning in the context of section 44.

 

Step 4: read those cases, analyse the judicial consideration of section 44 and call your mum just to check where she was born and confirm that she renounced her foreign citizenship before you sign that declaration!

“Constitutional crisis” averted! Easy (with the power of JADE)!

PS – we almost “broke the internet” on 27 October when the High Court handed down in its decision in Re Canavan [2017] HCA 45. The first legal publisher in Australia to publish the decision online, users are able to quickly see and navigate their way through the litigation history, cases and legislation cited by this decision and subsequent cases which cite it with just a few easy clicks.

2018 – The best is yet to come!

Alerts, JADE clips, visualisation tools and document uploading continue to be popular tools with our users, helping to improve their efficiency and maintain current awareness.

2018 will see JADE evolving, with exciting changes allowing users to create a bespoke subscription tailored to practice needs. We are also introducing a new and innovative way to research legislation, as well as continuing to expand our coverage.

Like any business, the expansion of our service offering will see changes to our pricing. These changes will allow us to offer our users more flexibility and reinvest in the business so we can continue to offer new and unique functionality in the legal research space.

While our pricing will change with modest increases to monthly and annual subscriptions, we will grandfather our existing subscribers for a period of 6 months from their 2018 renewal date with the opportunity to fully explore our new subscription tiers.

Conversational legal research

Introducing JADE Chat-and-Know™

Over the past year, our legal research boffins have been working to make your legal research faster, better, and more enjoyable. We could think of few better ways than mobilising our massive database of legal knowledge and making it available at your (voice) command.

With JADE professional’s emerging Chat-and-Know™ technology, we are taking the next big step towards a conversational model for legal research. Starting today, we are inviting our existing JADE professional users to sign up to our limited beta. To join, please speak with your JADE professional consultant. If you have not already signed up to JADE professional, please ask about joining this beta after you sign up.

Conversational legal research is nothing new

Remember the good old days, back before the arrival of AustLII in the mid-1990s, when we would ask our colleagues for assistance, and discuss our most pressing legal questions with them. And that process would elicit a range of legal possibilities that boolean searching simply could not capture.

The coherence of law was manifest in those discussions, as was the imprecision of the answers we would receive, often requiring many hours of further library research. The collegiality of the legal profession was cemented by this common quest for legal knowledge.

We need to campaign for the value of ‘less is more’

Since the rise of online legal research, the art of conversational legal research has been undervalued: it seems that vast quantities of irrelevant results churned out through imperfect and primitive electronic legal research tools have gained undeserved ascendancy.

In this age of research excess, we have forgotten that simplicity and clarity is often more valuable than the presentation of every decision in which a discretion is exercised. We need to remember that ‘less is more’, for our clients, in court, and because people want us to tell them the time and not build them a clock.

Conversational legal research is about reclaiming and reimagining how legal research might be in the post-screen age. By using only your voice, you will be able to undertake legal research and get answers to some of the most difficult questions. Strike up a conversation about the rule of law. Discover answers to questions through a simple conversation. Cross-examine, Jasmine, our JadeBot.

Conversational examples

With Jasmine, you will be able to have conversations. We will publish some examples in our next post.

A photo by Matt Benson. unsplash.com/photos/MKLRMeKctI4

View Videos to See the Power of JADE — Search and Visualisations Explained

Seeing helps to understand the power of JADE as a professional legal research platform.  By popular request, we have released the second pair of videos which have been scripted, narrated, and assembled by our former editorial team member, James Hel ler: Search and Visualisations. We have several more in production.

Visualisations

Search