Thursday, 25 June 2009
As part of the Legal Information Group's (LIG) work the committee is reviewing the BIALL Code of Good Practice for Law Publishers. The code was launched at the Harrogate conference in June 2005. It has therefore been running long enough for the Legal Information Group to have formed an opinion of its effectiveness.
LIG see two main difficulties with the Code in its current form. Firstly, on several occasions when publishers signed up to the Code, they sent a letter to LIG outlining the areas that they were not prepared to implement fully. This leads to a situation where different publishers have agreed to different standards, and could be confusing for BIALL members. Secondly, it is not clear what LIG or BIALL could do to attempt to enforce the Code if we decided that a publisher was in breach of its commitments.
The Legal Information Group plans to make a recommendation to Council in July 2009 that a different approach be taken to the Code in future. In advance of the recommendation, they would like to hear BIALL members views.
The basic concept is to shift the Code from a prescriptive document to an aspirational one, rewarding publishers for following its principles rather than criticising them for not doing so. Of course, this does not mean that LIG will stop representing the interests of BIALL members regarding specific complaints. LIG would like answers to the following questions, although any comments will be gratefully received and carefully considered:
- Should the principles of the Code be applied to other suppliers of legal information besides publishers? (eg Hammicks, Wildys)
- What principles would you like to be included in the Code?
- How should publishers’ performance in this context be assessed?
- How should publishers’ performance in this context be rewarded? (eg award at the BIALL conference, symbol for inclusion on publisher website)
Please send your comments to David Percik (Chair of LIG). The closing date for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 30th June.