(Updated) A welcome development this week is the launch of Law Matters, a relaunch of the ‘law page’ in Monday’s Irish Times. Pre-relaunch, this was a (slightly edited) full judgement from a recent case – traditionally of some value as it may not have been otherwise reported, but of less value in the present day what with online judgements etc (more of that in a moment). While it’s of course much smaller in scope and size than something like the law pages (and matching website) in the Times (“The” Times, or the London Times as I sometimes hear in Dublin!), it may well grow into something resembling it. There isn’t a dedicated section on ireland.com (the website of the Irish Times) yet, but those who have subscriber-access can see the first bunch of case summaries here. The introductory article says:
(Law Matters) will contain synopses of the most important recent judgments from the Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Criminal Appeal. These will not be law reports in the traditional sense of the term, but summaries containing the key legal points in the judgments … In addition to summaries of judgments, we will, from time to time, publish commentary on and analysis of important legal developments. Law Matters will also contain news and information from the legal world.
It’s quite difficult to track down legal news in this jurisdiction. The monthly magazine-style publications of the professional bodies (the Bar Review and the Law Society Gazette) are useful; the Gazette is available in some newsagents in print form and is now available online as a PDF (thanks to Fiona de Londras for spotting this) and the Bar Review is available online for barristers only and can be found in some libraries. A number of the other, regular publications (such as the Irish Law Times) and academic journals (such as the Dublin University Law Journal) can be found in the Westlaw.ie database (expensive if you don’t have access through a library or law school) – and few are found in the international databases (Lexis and Westlaw). Legalperiodicals.org (a UCC project) does provide tables of contents for the legal periodicals (news and academic) and we’d be lost without it. Very few journals publish full-text online (the State-funded Judicial Studies Institute Journal and some of the student journals are honourable exceptions. Of course, the Irish Law Site (developed by Darius Whelan) contains news and events as well as links to useful information. Paid site firstlaw.ie also does current awareness and unreported judgements although I’m not too familiar with it.
Bailii (and the Irish outpost Irlii, again with UCC support) are open-access-to-law sites; this means that we can see court judgements soon after they are handed down – and the Courts Service itself now does the same at courts.ie (although it can be a bit hit-and-miss; one decision I’m waiting on was announced in March, published and read in court in November and still hasn’t appeared…)