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COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN LEGAL LITERATURE: A Survey. Senator The Hon. Velma Newton Professor of Law Librarianship University of the West Indies Barbados. Definition Of Commonwealth Caribbean. States and dependencies are: AnguillaAntigua and Barbuda The BahamasBarbados

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COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN LEGAL LITERATURE: A Survey

Senator The Hon. Velma Newton

Professor of Law Librarianship

University of the West Indies

Barbados


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Definition Of Commonwealth Caribbean

  • States and dependencies are:

  • AnguillaAntigua and Barbuda

  • The BahamasBarbados

  • BelizeBermuda

  • Brit. Virgin IslandsCayman Islands

  • DominicaGrenada

  • GuyanaJamaica

  • Montserrat

  • St. Kitts and NevisSt. Lucia

  • St. Vincent and the

  • GrenadinesTurks and Caicos Is.

  • Trinidad and Tobago


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  • Uniting factors

  • Most were British colonies at some point in their history

  • Similar legal system – common law to which a body of statute law has been added

  • Most are members of the Caribbean Community and Common Market established in 1973.

  • Exceptions –

  • St. Lucia law based on Code Quebecois to which English statute law has been added

  • Guyana land law based on the Roman-Dutch system.


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Main Forms of Legal Literature

  • Legislation

  • Court decisions – some reported many not

  • Periodicals (during last part of twentieth century

  • Casebooks, text books and treatises

  • No form books, no legal encyclopaedias, no comprehensive digests


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FINDING INFORMATION

  • Where can information be found?

  • Bibliographies

  • Library holdings –

  • Faculty of Law Library, Univ. of the West Indies

  • Institute of Jamaica

  • Harvard University Library

  • Some univ. libraries in Florida

  • New York Public Library

  • Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London Univ.

  • Bodlean Library, Oxford University

  • Library of Congress

  • Publishers catalogues (Cavendish, OUP, Caribbean Law Publ, Univ. of West Indies Press, Gaunts)


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LEGISLATION

  • Relatively few revised editions of laws pre-twentieth century

  • Since the 1970s, most in looseleaf format

    St. Lucia – no revision since 1957 until this year

    St.Kitts and Nevis – no revision since 1961.

  • Guyana last official revision published in 1971 – only two or three supplements published since then.


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Updating and Subscriptions

  • Some territories publish annual updating volumes.

  • Faculty of Law collects and binds all slip laws into annual volumes

  • Sources of legislation -Mainly available on subscription.

  • Government Printing Offices for subscriptions to Official Gazettes to which laws are published as supplements.

  • Office of Attorneys-General for revised editions of laws

  • Now some slip laws and constitutions available on government websites – The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia.

  • Constitutions also published on websites with constitutions of other countries

  • Laws on CD ROM- Anguilla, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize.


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Law Reporting – History

  • Jamaica has longest history – first vol. Published in 1774,long gap between 1978 and 1994

  • Followed by British Guiana (now Guyana) (1856-1965;1973-74) and then by Trinidad and Tobago (1913-1974)

  • During 1970s and 1980s Barbados and Cayman Islands only Governments to finance law reporting and West Indian Reports only regional series being published on a regular basis

  • Information in Commonwealth Caribbean Patchett and Jenkins and Newton bibliographies


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Law Reporting – Current

  • West Indian Reports (1958-) Butterworths

  • Cayman Islands Law Reports (1952-)

  • Caribbean Law Publishers –

  • Jamaica Law Reports, 1990s

  • Eastern Caribbean Law Reports (1996 vol. Publ. in 2003)

  • 3 vols. of Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court Reports ( 1990—95)

  • Barbados Law Reports (1994 last vol.) Publ. – series not officially abandoned


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INFORMAL LAW REPORTING – Hardcopy Format

  • This has consisted mainly of publishing in the Official Gazette, in periodicals and in casebooks.

  • Official Gazette publishing started in the nineteenth century and has continued sporadically in some territories, eg. Belize, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis. Only text of judgments included.

  • Publishing in periodicals – The Lawyer, Cayman Islands Law Bulletin, Caribbean Law and Business, Caribbean Law Bulletin. Most recent – West Indian Lawyer, 2004


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Informal Law Reporting – Electronic Format (1)

  • Quicklaw – Around mid 1990s added cases from OECS, Guyana, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Industrial Court of Trinidad to its databank

  • Following territories now publish cases on websites:

  • Barbados (www.barbados.gov.bb/attorneygeneral/lawLibrary)

  • Belize (www.Belizelaw.org/supremecourt/judge)

  • Jamaica (www.sc.gov.jm/judgments)

  • OECS (www.ecsupremecourt.org)

  • Trinidad and Tobago (www.lawcourts.org/library)


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Electronic Publishing (2) – CARILAW:Caribbean Law Online

  • Began 2001 with U.S. AID funding - Objective to digitize the nearly 20,000 cases in the Faculty of Law Library’s collection of cyclostyled judgments. Process – scanning or typing where scanning is impossible, first and final editing, adding headnotes, publishing on website.

  • Other components : treaties (both bilateral and multilateral) and legislation, especially dealing with trade and industry)

    Objective:

  • To provide access to the collection which is the best in the region to scholars and others interested in legal research and to the Caribbean Court of Justice expected to commence in late 2004.


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CariLaw Problems

  • Finding suitable search engine – First used SINO, now InMagic

  • Search engine working well

  • Problems relate to finding accurate editors, and law students or librarians with legal background to assist with case digesting

  • Adding data fast enough a major challenge

  • Sustainability – Charging users outside Faculty of Law for use, University support

  • CariLaw – http://carilaw.cavehill.uwi.edu


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CariLaw Success

  • Over 14,000 cases online (from 1955 to 2000)

  • About 70 treaties

  • About 15 items of legislation, although several items have been completed. They are now to be final edited and added.

  • Plans to add WILIP indexes to site in progress


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SECONDARY LEGAL PUBLISHING

  • No legal encyclopaedias or digests – reliance is on U.K. publications such as The Digest and Halsbury’s Laws.

  • Periodicals – A few have been published, mainly in the twentieth century but with many gaps and short-lived.

  • Currently main periodicals being published are Caribbean Law Review (1991-) Caribbean Law Bulletin (1995-) West Indian Law Journal (1970s-); West Indian Lawyer (2004 -)

  • Articles on aspects of Commonwealth Caribbean law also published mainly in journals such as the Anglo-American Law Review,Modern law Review, Law Quarterly Review, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.


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TEXTBOOKS AND CASEBOOKS

  • Most information on the law of the Commonwealth Caribbean for eighteenth century onward found in:

  • official reports

  • general works on the British Empire

  • general histories of the various colonies

  • Most outstanding and informative work on law and legal system of the region was the Dwarris Reports on the Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice in the West Indies published in London between in 1826-32.


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TWENTIETH CENTURY LEGAL PUBLISHING

  • Early to mid twentieth century legal information in a number of books on constitutional history as the period witnessed many proposals for changes in the constitutional status of the colonies. Also a number of monographs and articles on aspects of the law of British Guiana, many published in Guyanese journal Temehri.


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1940s-1970

  • Increasing number of official reports, articles and monographs by mid 20th century – most important report of the time the Moyne Commission report of 1945.

  • The Federation (1957-1962), movement for independence of several territories and the movement for establishment of the Faculty of Law all generated discussion and writings, mainly articles

  • Period 1950-70 – legal and quasi-legal monographs included works by knowles on trade union development and industrial relations in the West Indies; Ringel on law relation to arrests, searches and confessions, Number of theses by Caribbean scholars studying in the U.K. (Barnett, Liverpool, Watkins, Rattray, Herbert, Wills).

  • Landmark publication – Law in the West Indies: some recent trends, 1966 (BIICL) – review of the law in many areas and recommendations for changes. Many of the changes recommended were later made.


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Establishment of West Indian System of Legal Education

  • West Indian System of legal education established established in 1970 – comprising Faculty of Law at Univ. of the West Indies for academic stage (the LL.B.) and law schools in Trinidad and Jamaica for the professional stage (Legal education certificate) . At first not much writing as the Faculty of Law Library was being established, but since then numerous articles and books in many areas of law published by Faculty of Law teaching staff.

  • Names such as Carnegie on constitutional law and contract, Patchett on the reception of law, Alexis on various aspects of constitutional law; Liverpool on the Civil Code of St. Lucia and real property, Menon on aspects of criminal and international law, Okpaluba on aspects of labour law, Bland on conflict of laws and trusts.

  • By the end of the 1980s many of the teaching staff of the Faculty were making sterling contribution to the body of legal writing on the region, but mainly through article and not book publishing. Few avenues for book publishing for or in the region largely because of perceived small market for scholarly legal works.


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1990s-

  • Decade of the nineties witnessed publication of many casebooks and texts designed for courses offered in the Faculty –

  • Three major publishers are the University of the West Indies Press, Cavendish and Caribbean law Publishers. Early 1990s Faculty of Law Library even assisted in the effort by publishing a few texts, the most notable of which was Margaret DeMerieux’s work on Commonwealth Caribbean Bills of Rights.

  • Teaching staff of the Faculty have made good use of its Caribbean resources to publish articles, student texts and casebooks in constitutional law, contract, aspects of company law and civil procedure, legal systems, insurance, offshore law, real property, tort and trusts.


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Current situation

  • Teaching staff of the Law Schools in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have been less prolific - main texts in inheritance and succession, company law and criminal practice and procedure and on the legal profession .

  • Legal researchers from outside the region are also producing, but one of the main challenges they would face is in accessing certain categories of legal materials – e.g. government reports, legislation, some case law , but as more and more use is being made of the Internet for publication purposes it will be easier to access West Indian legal materials.


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Current Challenges

  • Still great reliance on U.K. texts in some areas of law, both as required and recommended reading.

  • The challenge of this decade is to reduce this dependence.

  • Increase the range of materials available on CARILAW


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