Legal research

With Mothering Sunday this weekend, I thought it would be nice to take a quick walk through some of the traditional gifts for the day. Sadly I couldn’t find any legal references to Simnel Cake, though I’d had hopes for IP-related possibilities . Still, as Sping is allegedly here, we’ll take a look instead at wild flowers, a traditional gift for mothers on this day.

So, what would the position be if you were out walking and decided to pick a bunch of flowers as a present? A quick look at the ‘Wild Plants’ section of the Open Spaces and Countryside volume of Halsbury’s Laws (Volume 78, 5th ed., also available on LexisLibrary) points us in the right direction: the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. According to Section 13, Protection of Wild Plants:

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—
(a) intentionally picks, uproots or destroys any wild plant included in Schedule 8; or
(b) not being an authorised person, intentionally uproots any wild plant not included in that Schedule,
he shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—
(a) sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live or dead wild plant included in Schedule 8, or any part of, or anything derived from, such a plant; or
(b) publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things,
he shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of any act made unlawful by that subsection if he shows that the act was an incidental result of a lawful operation and could not reasonably have been avoided.
(4) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(a), the plant in question shall be presumed to have been a wild plant unless the contrary is shown.

If you take a quick look at the section on (or your preferred subscription database showing amended legislation) you will notice that there are two different versions of the legislation available, applying to different geographic extents. The situation has arisen with devolution as the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament amend, repeal or keep legislation originally passed as UK legislation in Westminster.

Geographic extent of legislation

Geographic extent of legislation

In this instance, the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 has added some amendments to the section. Different databases indicate this differently. Both and Westlaw have multiple texts showing the different versions; in Westlaw you can also switch to a ‘previous’ version before the texts diverged. Lexis marks up a single version of the text, which in this case makes it clear that the Scottish amendments have simply added some words to the continuing England & Wales version – but it’s fair to say this display method can get very confusing for a more complex set of amendments, and you’ll need to read the notes at the end of the section for clarity! And after that short detour, entirely suitable for a walk…

…back to our wild flowers. Having looked at Section 13, you’ll see that not all wild flowers are included in the ban on picking, only those in Schedule 8. If you’re not clear on the difference between picking and uprooting it might be worth checking section 27 (the section also clarifies


angry flowers by CARPE-DIEM-ABAETERNO (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license)

that a ‘wild plant’ is one which is growing wild, rather than one which has lost its temper). So, on to Schedule 8, which gives the scientific names of the protected species. The modern system of scientific naming which allows this confident identification began in the seventeenth century, and you can see a Bodleian library’s introduction to the history of the scheme here. Just to help most of us out, the common name of the flowers is also given in the Schedule, but as the note makes clear “The common name or names given in the first column of this Schedule are included by way of guidance only; in the event of any dispute or proceedings, the common name or names shall not be taken into account.” Although if, like me, you’re still not sure you would recognise Whorled Solomon’s-Seal, Martin’s Ramping Fumitory or any of the other plants listed here a quick look on SOLO will find you several reference guides in the Radcliffe Science Library, Sherardian Library and Bodleian Stacks which can be consulted. The good news is that since these are rare and protected plants, most wild flowers you come across should be fine to pick (though not uproot – 13 1(b)). Do be careful on your walk though; case law suggests that if you should fall over a cliff because you get too near the edge while picking your flowers your insurance provider won’t have to pay out (Walker v Railway Passengers Assurance Co (1910) 129 LT Jo 64, CA.)!

Book: The magnificent Flora Graeca

Bod Publishing: Flora Graeca

And finally, something of a stretch, but too good to leave out – if looking at all those reference books to identify your flowers has given you a taste for botanic illustrations, you might enjoy ‘flicking through’ Oxford’s copy of the gorgeous Flora Graeca . Sadly, this volume of Greek flowers won’t help you on your walk through the British countryside, but the Bodleian shop does sell a much-illustrated story of the Flora Graeca – perhaps an alternative gift for Mother’s Day?

<<!سلام ,نوروز مبارک>>

Today, 20th March, is the Hormoz (the first day of a Persian month) of Farvardin, and marks the first day of the Iranian new year or ‘nowruz’. Said to have been founded by the prophet Zoroaster himself, this celebration of the ‘new day’ is one of the holiest days in the Zoroastrian calendar, and is still celebrated worldwide today.

This year the LawBod Blog seeks to mark Nowruz in its own particular way – by examining some of our resources available on the legal jurisdiction of Iran (and using this as a handy excuse to remind you that we collect material for a wide range of subjects!).Iranian law books on shelf.

Nestled amongst our ‘rest of the world’ collection on Floor 1 of the law library, you could be forgiven for overlooking the fairly small number of books which deal specifically with Iranian law as this is not an area which has received a lot of serious academic attention in the legal sphere. Whilst simple guides to the Iranian legal system, the constitutional structure of the executive, and the varying role of the judiciary can be found online, the researching scholar could do far worse than to consult two detailed books by Mohammadi: Judicial Reform and Reorganization in 20th Century Iran (2008) [Iran 510 M697a] and Constitutional Law in Iran (2012) [Iran 510 M697b].

Searching for primary sources on the law of Iran, it helps to have some background knowledge to the country’s constitutional history. The Constitutional Revolution of 1906-7 paved the way for the creation of a new Iranian constitution and formation of the Majlis (parliament). With the rise of the Pahlavi kings, Iran became a constitutional monarchy de jure, but with a powerful head of state who controlled the executive. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 led to the writing of a new constitution; one which would transform the judiciary, government and executive with the hope of creating a new culturally, economically and politically independent Iran.

The Bodleian Libraries do hold copies of this constitution – both in farsi and english – but sadly none are held within the law library. Translated versions are also available online, for example from the Iran Chamber Society.

The attempt since the revolution of 1979 to amalgamate shari’a law – a law which is predominantly a jurist’s law rather than a judge’s law – has led to the creation of law codes. Both a Civil Code (translated edition available within the law library) and a Penal Code (available online from here, or here) form the legislative basis for many judicial proceedings in Iran.

This blog post ends with a word of warning: Iran has undergone a lot of political change in the past fifty years, and much of what is written – especially on the internet – cannot be considered without betraying a form of political bias. For the legal scholar researching on Iran, a familiarity with the political history is still a necessity.

Some other resources:

Nowruz entry in Encyclopaedia Iranica

Islamic Republic’s Penal Code from 1982 (revised in 1989)

Iran Heritage Foundation

Haleem, M., A. Sherif & K. Daniels (eds), Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, (London, 2003)

Jany, J., Judging in the Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian Legal Traditions, (Farnham, 2012)

Mallat, C., Introduction to Middle Eastern Law, (Oxford, 2007)

Peters, R., Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law, (Cambridge, 2005)

The home page for the journal section of the platform offers a “new prominent search tool that is easy to use.” (At the far right hand end of this search box there is a link to the Advanced Search Screen should you prefer.)

New style basic search on home page

New style basic search on home page

The results for a basic search using just “antitrust” are – as one would expect from such an ill thought-out “strategy” – too many (1,000 hits on 34 pages) to be anything other than daunting. (“The relevancy [of the result list] is based on author’s name and the title.” Being a simple soul, I would have preferred by date latest or grouped by authors (arranged alphabetically) or by journal title or …)

Too many good things

Too many good things

But part of the improvements of this upgrade is a new “Edit” tool link which helps you do a search within refining exercise. If, that is, you spot the link in the first place – for my less than 20/20 vision I don’t think it is as prominent as it could be – but it is near the top right of the result screen.

Top right corner of result screen

Top right corner of result screen.

Clicking ‘Edit’ basically takes you to the Advanced Search – but helpfully retaining whatever term you had initially used. (If you mistakenly click on  the more prominent – at least to my eyes – Advanced Search link you have to start from scratch – nothing is retained from your initial attempt.)

Edit link helps you to Search within

Edit link helps you to Search within by retaining details of your initial search term

The other feature of this update is the announcement that Kluwer International Law Journals are now discoverable via Google Scholar searches.

Members of OU Law Faculty are reminded that, should they wish to make the most of Google Scholar when not on the OU network/domain,  they should use the Google Scholar Settings, then the Library Links options to establish their connection to Oxford University, and the all important ability (while holding a current OSS) to read articles in journals to which the Law Bod has a current subscription.

Scholar Settings - then Library Links - University of Oxford

Scholar Settings – then Library Links – University of Oxford

This will ensure that the results have the comforting Find it @ Oxford icons – should the link to the actual article not work, Find it @ Oxford will help you track your way to it via the journal in OU e-journals.

Improved results

Improved results

Justcite logo

Oxford readers are no doubt familiar with subscription database Justcite, sister site to Justis, as a citator tool – ie. it tells you where a case was reported; whether it has been subsequently applied, followed, distinguished or overruled; what cases and legislation were cited by your original case; and links through to the full text.  Particularly for those of you who enjoy thinking about these things graphically, the Justcite precedent map also allows you to see all these case connections at a glance, and to link through to related cases quickly and easily.

Justcite precedent map

Justcite precedent map

And now we have another new feature to focus our analysis: Citations in Context.  When you click on the menu option for subsequent cases you will see your usual list of cases organised by treatment – but the eagle-eyed among you will notice some small speech bubbles.

Citations in context

Citations in Context

You’ll notice they also mark the number of paragraphs which refer to your original case, so you can get some idea of whether it was relatively unimportant or the main topic of discussion.  When you click on one of these speech bubbles it will expand the view to show the relevant excerpt from the citing case.

Expanded view of citations in context

Citations in Context expanded

You can read the paragraph(s) that actually refers to your case, see whether it discusses the point of law in which you are interested, and form your own opinion of the judgment if necessary.   No more wondering whether the case is on topic, and ploughing your way through an entire transcript to find what the judge actually said!

We have just added the History of International LawHeinOnline collections list collection in HeinOnline to our subscription, offering over 1,000 titles, covering subjects from the Law of the Sea to the Nuremberg trials.  You’ll find it in the list of collections on the right of the screen as you open HeinOnline; click on the + sign to see the sub-collections.  The collection is divided into War & Peace, Law of the Sea, Hague Conference & Conventions, International Arbitration, Serials, a Bibliography of Other Works, and Scholarly Articles.  Sadly the titles cannot be found online by searching SOLO at the moment, which means you’ll need to take a look at HeinOnline to see whether a title is included, but I’ll do my best to give you a flavour of them…

The majority of titles were published in the first half of the twentieth century, but there are also older and more recent works – the earliest publication date I have spotted so far is 1613, William Welwod’s Abridgement of All Sea-Lawes; Gathered Forth of All Writings and Monuments, Which Are to Be Found among Any People or Nation, upon the Coasts of the Great Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, found in the Law of the Sea collection.  If Welwod is a name whose significance escapes you then take advantage of the richness of resources in HeinOnline and try J. W. Cairns, ‘Academic feud, blood feud, and William Welwood: legal education in St Andrews, 1560–1611’, Edinburgh Law Review, 2 (1998), 158–79, 255–87.  (For other resources on International Sea Law, see our recent post

There are a number of titles likely to be of interest to historians or students of International Relations, as well as lawyers.  As a quick sample of the historical interest, the War & Peace collection contains (among others!) Gooch & Temperly, British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914 (London, 1927-1938); Correspondence with the German Government regarding the Alleged Misuse of British Hospital Ships (London, 1917); and Thodore Roosevelt, Naval War of 1812, or the History of the United States Navy during the Last War with Great Britain (New York, 1883).

Sample titles

A sample of titles

Works such as Schuman,  American Policy toward Russia since 1917: A Study of Diplomatic History International Law & Public Opinion (New York, 1923) or Moore, Principles of American Diplomacy (1918) may also be of interest to users of the Vere Harmsworth Library, which holds the hard copies of these titles.  More recent discussions of the development of international law can be found under the scholarly articles tab, which lists items from the Harvard Law Review, the American Journal of International Law, the Yale Journal of International Law and a number of others.

HeinOnline search box
Once you’ve gone into a collection you’re interested in (either the top level ‘History of International Law’ or a sub-collection) click on the Search tab to bring up a small search box on the right to check whether your title is here.  Advanced search options and search tips are, as usual, available below the quick search box.

In the closing months of 2013,  all varieties of media – old-style (tv, radio and newspapers) and new/social (campaigners’ website etc) – ensured that the  voyage of Greenpeace’s icebreaker Arctic Sunrise  and the subsequent plight of her crew, the Arctic 30, was well and truly in the public eye. Now that the drama is out of the headlines, it is perhaps a good time to look at a couple of tools and e resources which might be useful  for reflective studies and/or considering the wider implications.
When it comes to (re)discovering what the world’s newspapers said, OU lawyers – as holders of an Oxford Single Sign On – should remember Nexis UK  .  Not least because a search there may serve as a reminder that this is the database via which they can access  OU’s subscription to the International Enforcement Law Reporter!

Nexis UK search screen

Nexis UK search screen

A well-established but freely accessible online site to look for considered responses to international law in the news is the Insight service from the American Society of International Law.  When the screen shot below was taken (on 22 January 2014) an article called The Arctic Sunrise and NGOs in International Judicial Proceedings by Anna Dolidze was top of the bill. (The archive of previous issues is also kept available.)

Latest issues feature on home page

Latest issues feature on home page: click on Expand Search Filters to search archive

By November 2013, the  International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea had to consider its 22nd case – the Kingdom of the Netherlands (because the Arctic Sunrise sailed under the Dutch flag) v Russian Federation, (Provisional Measures). The ITLOS website is an excellent example of the power of the internet to enhance transparency during court proceedings, to keep any interested person informed and updated regardless of their physical location, and to collect & present material in a variety of formats.

Case page on ITLOS website

Case page on ITLOS website

The President of the Tribunal, Shunji Yanai, has already predicted that 2014 will be a heavy year for the court:  “It was deliberating on the merits of the M/V “Virginia G” case between Panama and Guinea-Bissau and intended to deliver its judgement next year.  It had received a new case early this year from the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, comprising seven West African States, and asked to render an advisory opinion under article 138 of its Rules.  He had made appointments to the arbitral tribunal concerning arbitral proceedings instituted by Argentina against Ghana, the Philippines against China, and for arbitral proceedings for the settlement of the maritime delimitation dispute between Bangladesh and India in the Bay of Bengal.  He also drew attention to the Tribunal’s capacity-building programmes on the peaceful settlement of disputes, among them, a workshop in Mexico City in June on dispute settlement, the Tribunal’s internship programme, and a capacity-building and training programme for young Government officials and researchers.” (see  Sixty-eighth General Assembly Plenary 62nd & 63rd Meetings (AM & PM) UN GA/11466) If you are interested in any of the above – perhaps now would be a good time to subscribe to the ITLOS Press Release service! The International Journal of Marine & Coastal Law  (one of the Brill international law journals for which the Law Bod has a subscription) includes an annual survey of Dispute settlement in ILOS.

Anyone with an Oxford Single Sign On who needs an introduction to the law of the sea, ITLOS and its case law should first turn to MPEPIL Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. As of January 2014 the e-version has 35 articles on the general subject matter of the law of the sea –  and thanks to its stable partner ORIL Oxford Reports on International Law, it is linked to the full-text of  15 ITLOS judgments (Case numbers 1-3,5-15.)  Among the 75 articles revised in the e-encyclopedia’s rolling updating programme (unspecified how often – but perhaps on average twice a year) are some ILOS issues – including  some Greenpeace issues such as the Environmental Protection of Regional Seas (in this instance Antarctica), and Whaling. (The print copy of course lacks the whizzy features, but is available on open shelf on Floor 3 of the Law Bod at Internat 500 E56c.)

Finally, don’t forget that the free web is being increasingly used to make academic lectures available to anyone, not just those enrolled at a particular university. One multi-topic platform that anyone interested in  international law should keep an eye on is the United Nations AudioVisual Lecture Series. Below is a screen shot of the library of ILOS topics – and future additions are promised.

Navigate to topics via the links in left hand column

Navigate to other areas of pil via the links in left hand column

Having rambled away from the specific to the general, at least this post can finish back on point – as there is a Youtube video from Maastricht University of the lecture by Liesbeth Lijnzaad,  Professor of the Practice of International Law there, who acted as legal adviser to the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Arctic Sunrise Case!


A route to even more US federal and state law. Thanks to an agreement between HeinOnline and Fastcase, Logo2

incidentally a US law database for which the Law Bod has an existing, separate subscription.

Notice FastCase tab above search box

Evidence of something new: FastCase tab above search box

“The federal case coverage includes the judicial opinions of the Supreme Court (1754-present), Federal Circuits (1924-present), Board of Tax Appeals (vols. 1-47), Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (vols. 1-59), U.S. Customs Court (vols. 1-70), Board of Immigration Appeals (1996-present), Federal District Courts (1924-present), and Federal Bankruptcy Courts (1 B.R. 1-present). The state case law covers all fifty states, with nearly half of the states dating back to the 1800s. Coverage for the remaining states dates back to approximately 1950.”

Now, when reading an article which cites US case law, look out for citations marked with a light blue highlight. Below is an example from the footnotes of a Harvard Law Review case comment on National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Footnotes to 126 Harv. L. Rev. 72 (2012-2013)

Footnotes to 126 Harv. L. Rev. 72 (2012-2013)

A click on the citation in Footnote 3  takes one seamlessly if slowly – though this may be the fault of my equipment rather than a system fault – to the judgment (with option to download pdf now top left) powered by Fastcase

Fastcase result in HeinOnline

Fastcase result in HeinOnline

Incidentally, going back to HeinOnline’s homepage –  if you click on the Fastcase tab the search box sharpens up to be a case citation tool – so you could use HeinOnline as a tool for finding US cases, not just those cited in articles you are reading

Click on FastCase tab and search changes to a citation search box

Click on Fastcase tab and search changes to a citation search box


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