Legal Information for the Public

A news release from the South Australian government led me to the Law Handbook Online which contains an overview of the law in South Australia presented in everyday language. It outlines rights and responsibilities in a range of legal areas in plain language and advises on where the public can go for more assistance.

All of this done at Fitzroy on a grant of $30,000.

The taxonomy is fascinating, since it is entirely client-need oriented.

What is there comparable in Canada?I duly note the pioneering work of Ted Tjaden, the Jewetts (Access to the Law: A Study Conducted for the Law Reform Commission. P.E.J. Jewett and L.J. Jewett. Toronto: Carswell/Methuen, 1975) and the wonderful Gail Dykstra.


  1. Priit Parmakson

    Very interesting. The news item unfortunately says nothing about the quality of the product. How did the conversion into “plain language” succeed? What is the real usability of the product, in terms of the clients?

  2. It is actually a press release from the Victorian government, not the South Australian government.

    The Legal Services Commision of South Australia put their Law Handbook online a few years ago (see

    I can’t comment on the quality of the online version of Fitzroy Legal Service’s Law Handbook Online, but the paper version is well regarded.

  3. Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has been doing this in Ontario for the past 33 years,, and has been online for at least the past 7. They also have recently set up, which is a clearinghouse for public legal education materials.


  4. Bruce – those links are either dead or down. Simon C

  5. Ah — problem is I put commas after the website addresses, and the blog software thinks the commas are part of the URLs, which the are not.
    These work: