New Zealand Law Society - Greater access to foreign legal information sought

Greater access to foreign legal information sought

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A survey of practising New Zealand lawyers has found that while most are satisfied with the range of legal information services and resources they have access to, many want greater access to electronic databases of overseas jurisdictions.

The survey was carried out by Victoria University of Wellington student Katrina Sudfelt as research for a Masters in Information Studies degree.

Completed by 63 practising lawyers, the survey found that 58% had a law library at their place of work, while 41% did not.

Among the survey findings:

  • Access to and the use of legal information plays an important part in the work of lawyers.
  • Lawyers use information that is accessible, familiar to them, and convenient. They also use information from a range of sources such as legislation, databases and textbooks, discussions with colleagues and other lawyers, internal documents and law librarians.
  • Both electronic and hardcopy material provides information that is familiar, trustworthy, reliable and accessible to lawyers. The source used or preferred largely depends on the type of material it is - there is a preference to read hardcopy books over electronic books, but lawyers prefer to read judgments which are sourced electronically.
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