Over the years, legal users have seen their fair share of badly designed websites, pages whose very design obstructs access. The wayback machine can draw cringes when we look back at sites that looked wonderful at the time.
However, a piece in today's Korea Times led me to a site that reaches a new level in this dubious competition.
At the outset, we must commend the South Korean government for recognizing the need for having legal information accessible in a language other than Korean – Korean users could always click here.
But this site is extraordinary when it announces the intentions of the Minister for Government Legislation to readers thus:
The Customized Legal Information Service Project builds a new statutory information infrastructure, which regroups complicated statutory relationships and presents them in the context of plausible scenarios, and provides clear interpretations of complicated laws and regulations.
MOLEG will continue to provide practical law information services so that users may conveniently address the common legal issues that occur in everyday life, without the necessity of resorting to legal experts.
In this vein, the ministry introduced this practical law information service in five pilot areas of opening and running restaurants; traffic information and driving; hiring the disabled; childcare and foreign investment. We have now added ten more areas including such areas as subscription to apartment allotments and compulsory installation of fire-fighting systems, thereby initiating a full-fledged service of practical legal information.
One user Art Curtis, an American English teacher, commented: "The biggest problem is that it doesn't do what it is supposed to do. It is supposed to provide simple, easy to understand legal advice for foreigners here. But I find it pretty difficult to understand nearly everything on the site. Its has quite obviously been written by lawyers for lawyers."