Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sources of Law

I wanted to bring to the attention of our readers, two fascinating online sources on Indian law.

The first is a colonial legal history database that has been set up Mitra Sharafi, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison. Much of this database has been created by digitizing colonial law reports and archival records. For me the most fascinating resources include; a digitized index of articles published in a number of colonial journals (get the commentary on the Civil Procedure Code before it was enacted), a complete listing of South Asian who studied for the bar at the Inns of Court, and a catalouge of books owned by Wadia Ghandy in 1911 (which gives a great glimpse of what a colonial legal practice would look like).

The second is a more contemporary resource called that has been set up by the team from Rainmaker. Mylaw describes itself "the world's first contextual network for lawyers, and it will feature information (stories and analyses about the legal industry), opportunities (through a jobs and internships platform) and educational programmes for lawyers." Unlike the regular legal website which feature a mix of gossip and law updates, this provides space for regular opinion column of legal issues. Some recent ones include, Kalyani Ramnath's analysis of the Ayodhya judgment and Anubhav Sinha's commentary on how the Bombay High Court has extended admirality to jurisdiction to all High Courts in India. I will also be writing a regular feature on the legal careers of colonial lawyers. The first on Jinnah is already available here (part 1, part 2).

Perhaps their most valuable section consists of detailed interviewswith prominent Indian lawyers on their careers. These include MP Singh, NR Madhava Menon, Iqbal Chagla, Harish Salve and Ashok Desai. Given the practice oriented nature of Indian law, and the absence of any concerted attempt to create a database of oral history, this has the potential of acting as a digital archive of sorts. They also carry more focussed interviews with legal academics, the most recent being with NUS professor and LAOT contributer V.Umakanth on SEBI Regulations.
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