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October 7, 2011

Latest UW Madison Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series via SSRN.

PACER Case Locator now Mobile Friendly

The Federal Judiciary has launched a new mobile web version of the PACER Case Locator. There is nothing to install - mobile visitors to PACER Case Locator will simply be redirected to pcl.uscourts.gov/searchmobile.

The PACER Case Locator allows searching for court records in all district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. The Mobile PACER Case Locator is accessible using Apple devices, such as iPads, as well as Android devices version 2.2 or higher.

See the full PACER announcement for more. Hat tip to Legal Research Plus.

Improvements to WI Legislature's Databases Enables Users to Research the History of and Connections between State Legislation, Regulations and Case Law

Bruce Hoesly, Revising Attorney/Code Editor at the Legislative Reference Bureau, informed me of some very exciting changes to the Wisconsin legislative and administrative databases on the Legislature's website.

Note that the link on the Legislature's homepage that used to say "Searchable Infobases" now says "Documents." This change reflects the move to the new HTML view from the old NXT view.

Also, documents in the new view now contain lots of links to associated material. This is really exciting and vastly improves one's ability to research the history of and the connections between legislation or administrative regulations. For example, with just 3 clicks a user can link from a history note for a statute to an underlying act and then to full history of that act. This is so awesome!

Legislation links available:

  • Statutes sections have links to other statute sections and regulations which reference them (click on the magnifying glass icon to the left of the section number)
  • History notes in statutes contain links to the Acts
  • Acts contain links to the underlying bill numbers
  • Bills contains the complete procedural history of the Act including links to the original bill draft and all amendments, voting records, committee records, etc.
  • And Bruce tells me that in the future, they hope to add including a link from the bill's page to the drafting record

Administrative Regulation links available:

  • When applicable, history notes in statutes also contain cross references to related Administrative Code sections
  • History notes in the Administrative Code sections contain links to superseded text in the Administrative Register and to Clearinghouse Rules (a clearinghouse rule is the administrative law equivalent of the legislative bill)

Case Law links available:

  • When applicable, history notes in statutes also contain links to judicial and attorney general opinions on the Wisconsin Courts website and Google Scholar

I asked Bruce how far back these links go an he said that the statute history notes go back to the 1971 laws. The bill number linking and the associated bill histories go back to 1995. Before that, act links in the statute histories link to a scanned PDF of the act.

Cases go back to 1970. Annotations to law review and bar articles don't have links yet. Atty general opinions are linked to from 1994, which is not new.

Big kudos and thanks to the Wisconsin Legislature and staff of the LRB for making all of this wonderful information so accessible. This will change the way we do state statutory and regulatory research.

October 3, 2011

PACER Training Site Available

The Federal Judiciary has launched a new PACER training site where current and future users can learn how to use PACER. You don't have to register, and there is no charge for accessing this training area.

The site includes data from real cases filed in the New York Western District Court between 1/1/2007 and 7/1/2007 so users can get a feel for the type of case data and documents available through PACER.