Thursday, February 23, 2012

Legal Citations Adventure

In addition to duties as law librarian/lecturer I am also citation editor for the new QU International Review of Law (IRL) to be published online with Bloomsbury. It is brand new and so no editions exist yet but we are successfully working here to find authors and create a process of review.  For example, I just completed a citation Style Guide for authors.  Dr. Jon M. Truby, Assistant Professor of Law, is Editor-in-Chief of the IRL.
The IRL Style Guide is based heavily on the Style Guide of the Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute by Brooke Bowman, Assistant Editor-in-Chief. It was the best style guide model for a legal journal I could find using ALWD as the citation standard. The College of Law at QU adopted ALWD as a whole for instruction and research as much as possible, though Bluebook and OSCOLA are used also.
Here is the problem: I want to have a ready IRL style guide section for national and regional legal citations.
I searched for a local guide to citation for GCC and Qatari Courts, including the QFC, but found nothing useful.  Also searched the Cardiff Index and the Globalex Qatar guide with the same results. My copy of Bieber’s has not arrived yet! I also spoke to Rami Tawfiq, Westlaw representative extraordinaire, and part of the development team for the new Westlaw Gulf . He visited QU College of Law from Dubai today. I asked how this development team is managing legal citations for all the scanned documents from the region so that they are standard enough for the database to be able to identify them? Much of the citation here is being developed ad hoc apparently.
As the laws of the region are scanned or imported into regional databases like Lexis Middle East, Westlaw Gulf, and the forthcoming ICT Qatar legal portal, agreement on standardized legal citation will become important, especially to a law citation editor like myself!   

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