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

“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.

Lawcite and citation updates performance history

There are strengths and weaknesses of legal citators. One strength is that a citator can provide a researcher with pin-point updates when a later decision has made reference to a particular passage within an earlier legal decision. JADE’s CaseTrace provides that pin-point accuracy as well as general references made by later decisions. The references turbo-charge your research efficiency. One potential risk of using a citator is that unless it is kept up-to-date, the absence of a reference might suggest that a decision has not been considered at all. We call this citator currency.

The risk of missing a later decision by relying on an out-of-date citator is why many of us learn to undertake a search on the decision as well. If a decision of the High Court of Australia or an intermediate appellate court casts doubt on a legal proposition, the astute legal researcher needs to know about this immediately.

When we have been teaching students how to do legal research, we have regularly compared CaseTrace with other systems. One of these is AustLII’s LawCite. LawCite has many more citations in it. At the time of writing (14 February 2015), there are 4,638,414 citations in LawCite and 1,149,123 citations in JADE. It is not possible to know how many of the Citations in LawCite are references to secondary materials.

Citator Currency in Jade’s CaseTrace and AustLII’s LawCite

JADE CaseTrace. All CaseTrace references in the JADE legal research platform update instantly, as soon as JADE has parsed the most recent decision referring to a judgment or statutory reference. The paper clips on the right hand side of the JADE page are instantly updated. Searching also works immediately.

AustLII’s Law Cite. The story is quite different with AustLII’s LawCite. Since we started monitoring the published update frequency within LawCite in August 2014, we noticed the following:

Our Review Date When LawCite was updated Last update Period between updates Cases and Articles in LawCite
20-Aug-14 07-Jul-14 44 days 4,550,035
26-Aug-14 25-Aug-14 1 day 49 days 4,550,035
27-Aug-14 26-Aug-14 1 day 1 day 4,563,832
04-Nov-14 26-Sep-14 39 days 31 days 4,577,280
10-Dec-14 02-Dec-14 8 days 67 days 4,613,759
28-Jan-15 12-Dec-14 47 days 10 days 4,616,118
14-Feb-15 10-Feb-15 4 days 60 days 4,638,414

View Videos to See the Power of JADE — JadeMarks and CaseTrace Explained

Seeing helps to understand the power of JADE as a professional legal research platform.  By popular request, we have released the first two videos which have been scripted, narrated, and assembled by a former member of our editorial team, James H el ler JadeMarks and CaseTrace. We have several more in production.

JadeMarks

JadeMarks give you the ability to annotate judgments to keep track of decisions or legislation for easy retrieval and to help in your legal preparation. You can also share your JadeMarks with colleagues. James Hel ler shows you how you can use JadeMarks in JADE to improve your legal research.

CaseTrace

CaseTrace in JADE gives you pinpoint accuracy and allows you to see the evolution of decisions. See James show you at a glance how CaseTrace is one of the very special features of JADE which makes JADE an excellent legal research tool for Australian and international lawyers and research.

If you have suggestions for additional videos or improvements to these videos, please email our editorial team. We’d love to hear from you. The suggestion about removing the piano music is being actioned.

BarNet JADE allows you to search directly by law report citation

This brief post shows you how BarNet’s JADE legal research platform helps you to find cases by most citations

Here is a handy single graphic which explains how JADE helps you search for legal citations

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Searching in JADE is now that easy

The JADE Go bar saves you time with your legal search

To search with JADE’s excellent go bar, you can type a few characters of the names of the parties. JADE then shows you the results which match. If you select a popular combination, you can still perform a JADE search by pressing the enter key.

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You can even use Natural Language within JADE to save time

Using natural language within JADE, lets you search and display, cases with pinpoint accuracy, thanks to our CaseTrace service.

With this new feature you can:

  • Find references to specific pages, even when there is no medium neutral citation.
  • Instantly find what was said at a particular paragraph using Medium Neutral Citation format.
You can use plain english to perform your search. Here are two examples:
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If you have suggestions, please let us know

BarNet JADE at a glance (v.3.9.5.95 — Build 391) (15 September 2011)

New and improved features

We have been busy little legal monotremes. Our September Build 391 has a spectacular number of improvements which should make your legal research much more rewarding.

In summary here are the three best bits:

  • Finding a place in an appellate judgment.

Use JADE and tell us what you think. These screenshots show BarNet’s JADE  legal research platform (http://jade.barnet.com.au) as at 15 September 2011.

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JADE described in a few seconds

What is JADE?

BarNet’s JADE (Judgments and Decisions Enhanced) is a free professional legal research platform. JADE is designed to make it easier to find, use, share, and present accurate legal information.

JADE has been designed and built by lawyers for lawyers. It is much more than a simple repository of legal information. It is a carefully considered attempt to fix many of the things which we think have been wrong with online legal research for some time.

Why you should try JADE

There are plenty of compelling reasons why you should use JADE for legal research:

Nothing new to learn

We’ve made it really easy to get started with JADE. We dislike complex systems that require hours or weeks of study before you can use them productively. JADE’s brilliant research interface helps you get started immediately Just type and go! We think that it’s the best legal research experience and system available.

Smart (and intuitive) Search

We built a search engine with legal learning. We understand your request in a legal context. The results are presented to get what you are looking for; even if you didn’t quite know what. And quickly.

CaseTrace (our super citator)

At last, a citator that allows you to see, with pinpoint accuracy, the development of legal reasoning within case law over time. See at a glance how a particular paragraph from an earlier judgment has been considered in later decisions with the relevant text.

The CaseTrace interface saves you time by allowing you to consider the context of the citation and to click through to the subsequent relevant cases.

Annotations to help you remember

You can mark up cases and particular words with your own annotations, which you are always able to retrieve. JADE’s editorial team have created public topic and other annotations to assist you.

Look good (and get output)

JADE excels in presenting your research in many ways. Now, you can print out JADE content to take to Court (in a legible and usable PDF format), export into a word document for inclusion in your opinions or submissions, or send by email in many formats.

Our emphasis is upon accuracy and fidelity: to produce a decision with formatting as close to the original as possible.

By default, whenever you print, export, email, or view the case, you will receive the latest CaseTrace results and the latest annotations. It’s like the magic pudding of legal research.

Timely Email Alerts (summarised)

We have automatic email alerts. You can choose to receive a digested summary of all of the decisions received (for nominated courts or tribunals), or tailored to your areas of practice.

Coverage

We cover the decisions and other output of 73 Australian Courts and Tribunals. More coverage coming soon.