The National Archives has launched a new free online service to provide access to new court and tribunal decisions. From today court judgments from the superior courts in England Wales are being sent to the National Archives made available on the database.
The service can be accessed from this ULR: https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ –
the site can be searched by case name, neutral citation, judge name, by court or by specific date ranges. Details can be found on the “What to expect from this new service” webpage.
A total of 50,461 judgments have already been uploaded, including
- UK Supreme Court judgments from 2014
- Civil and Criminal Court of Appeal judgments from 2003
- Most High Court judgments from 2003
- Some Upper Tribunal rulings from 2010
The most recent judgment is from 21 March 2022
The Find Case Law service is in the very early stages of development, referred to as Alpha: the first version of the Find Case Law service. Users are invited to contribute to the development of the service by giving feedback.
As noted when the project was announced in June 2021, at present, there are multiple sources for court judgment publications, of which BAILII is the largest. The long-term aim is for all of them to migrate onto The National Archives website. As Joshua Rozenberg explained in a post at the time, the Government will stop funding BAILII.
Although all judgments will, from now on, appear on the new site it is difficult to see how it will be of great assistance to practitioners in the short or medium term as BAILII provides a much more comprehensive (and easily accessible database) – covering not just judgments from England and Wales (including the historic “English Reports“), but also from Europe, Scotland, Northern Ireland and a number of other jurisdictions. The Government press release points out that BAILII will continue to provide free access to English and Welsh judgments, and other jurisdictions including Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth, alongside their other charitable endeavours.
Subscribers to Joshua Rozenberg’s admirable blog “A Lawyer Writes” can find an interesting discussion of the new service here.