Disaggregation of Legal Information

Disaggregate verb. used without object. Meaning: to separate into component parts. Synonyms: ventilate, distill, itemize, breakdown, subdivide.

An April 25 press release from ICLR (The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales) reported:

[ICLR] has started the process of disaggregating its law reports from the online services operated by LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Subscribers to these services based elsewhere in the world will not be affected. The process of removing ICLR content from these providers will take effect on 1 January 2017. Thereafter, the ICLR – the publisher of the English official series, The Law Reports – will provide its case law service directly to lawyers, judges, academics and students in these regions through its established online platform, ICLR Online

The ICLR confirmed:

Following its 150th anniversary last year, the ICLR – the publisher of the English official series, The Law Reports – wants to continue providing its clients with high quality and timely law reports whilst adapting to an increasingly digitalised and competitive environment and disaggregation is the best way to do this.

Key members from the ICLR, including Kevin Laws, the Chief Executive Officer, are attending the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (‘CALL’) Conference 2016 in Vancouver from 15-18 May when they will be discussing the changes to the ICLR’s services with Canadian clients.

The ability to meet with publishers representatives is a very strong incentive for Canadian Law librarians to attend the CALL Conference.

What does disaggregation mean for legal researchers? In my experience, it means that market share for legal publishers is leaner. Content that may have been the tipping point for accepting a contract with one or the other of the major Canadian content providers is now less of a factor. The Canadian market for legal information will be more and more about value added features and enhancements. Legal information purchase choices will come down to the values that content user groups have. What is most important to you, your firm, your organization? Is it rigorous editorial processes, is it feature sets, is it ease of use/ease of training, is it recognition of specific content pieces, niche subject matters, is it price certainty?

What does disaggregation mean for law librarians? Opportunity. Opportunity to be the finding expert, the portal, the keys to the legal information universe. Publishers collect and build, and law librarians are the folk that make people come. We pave the road that leads to that baseball field in Iowa.

ICLR has an long history of serving the legal profession. The not for profit publisher was established in 1865 and they have 29 law reporters that cover cases decided by the following courts and tribunals: the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; the Court of Justice of the European Union; the Court of Appeal (Civil and Criminal Divisions); the High Court; the Court of Protection; the Employment Appeal Tribunal; the Upper Tribunal; the Court Martial Appeal Court; and the English ecclesiastical courts. In addition to the official Law Reports (AC, QB, Ch and Fam), ICLR publishes The Weekly Law Reports (WLR), The Industrial Cases Reports (ICR), The Business Law Reports (Bus LR), The Public and Third Sector Law Reports (PTSR) and the Consolidated Index to leading law reports (the Red Index). All cases reported by ICLR are subjected to rigorous editorial controls to ensure accuracy and are checked by the judge responsible for the judgment in the case prior to publication.

I look forward to seeing what ICLR has to offer and meeting the ICLR team in Vancouver next week.

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