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Law Library Joins Free Access to Law Movement

April 30, 2013 – 

The Law Library at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, in recognition of the work it does to make New Jersey law available to the public, has been officially accepted as a member of the Free Access to Law Movement. FALM is a consortium of 49 non-profit institutions dedicated to providing free and open access to the world’s law. Membership is by invitation.

Besides well-established entities such as the Rutgers–Newark Law Library, FALM includes many organizations that operate in third-world economies in which they are the only publisher of domestic law and several European institutes doing cutting-edge research in the new field of legal informatics. Having formal contacts with all of these organizations as well as personal friendships with individuals in the field is invaluable, said Law Library Director John Joergensen, Associate Dean for Information Services. “I’m particularly interested in the relationships we will be forging with organizations that are engaged in legal institution-building in developing countries, as well as benefiting from the expertise of researchers in the field.”

FALM members are signatories to the Declaration on Free Access to Law, whose guiding principles are:

  • Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law.
  • Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge.
  • Organisations such as legal information institutes have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published by other parties.

The Rutgers–Newark Law Library, the most comprehensive public law library in New Jersey, is committed to providing free Internet access to legal materials, federal and state government documents, and historical records for use by scholars, practitioners and the general public. The library recently added a user-friendly version of the New Jersey Statutes to its website.