The Society of Visually Impaired Lawyers

Useful Resources

This is a non-exhaustive list of links and information about organisations and facilities/resources that may be useful to visually impaired students or practitioners. We are keen for this information to be kept up-to-date and useful. Please contact us if you have difficulty accessing any of the links or have suggestions for additional links.

Information about publicly available resources

BAILII - the British and Irish Legal Information Institute

www.bailii.org

This website contains an online collection of UK and Irish legislation and case/tribunal reports, EU case reports and law commission materials. The "world law" link on the BAILII homepage also gives access to case reports from a number of other jurisdictions.

British Computer Association of the Blind

www.bcab.org.uk

the website of the British Computer Association of the Blind, provides information on IT related matters. Note that a subscription is required for full access to articles, information and training.

Cabinet office - cabinet office manual

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/cabinet-manual

The cabinet office manual sets out the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of Government and gives an overview of the UK system of Government, including how the Executive - the Government and the Civil Service - relates to Her Majesty the Queen, devolved administrations and international institutions such as the European Union. This is likely to be of greatest interest to practitioners or students in public law.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

www.equalityhumanrights.com

This is the official website of the independent statutory body set up to promote and monitor human rights and protect, enforce and promote equality. The website contains guidance on different aspects of the Equality Act 2010 under the links "Equality Act advice and guidance" and "Equality Act codes of practice". The publications available are of particular interest to those advising on discrimination or human rights.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service for England and Wales

www.courtservice.gov.uk

The official website of HM Courts and Tribunals Service contains searchable listings of upcoming hearings, information and addresses for courts and publicly available court forms (often in word document format) and guidance.

HMRC guidance manuals

"www.hmrc.gov.uk/thelibrary/manuals.htm

Although primarily aimed at HMRC staf, the guidance manuals may also be of interest to those studying or practicing tax law. This page also contains links to other publication types within the HMRC "library".

Home Office (UK)

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/

The official website of the UK Home office contains links to home office circulars issued since 2003, providing information about policy and procedure. There are also links to the PACE Codes of Practice, consultations, speeches, press releases and other publications. This is particularly useful for those practising in the areas of immigration or criminal law.

Information Commissioner's Office

www.ico.gov.uk

The Office of the Information Commissioner is the UK body set up to promote openness of public bodies and privacy of personal data of individuals. It has the power to resolve disputes and impose legal sanctions under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act and other UK legislation. The website contains information about the ICO's powers, procedures for enforcement and decided cases.

The Law Society of England and Wales

www.lawsociety.org.uk

The official website of the Law Society for England and Wales. The full code of conduct for solicitors and guidance notes can be accessed online on the Solicitors Regulatory Authority website at www.sra.org.uk/handbook/.

Copies of Law Society publications and forms in alternative accessible formats (including Braille, large print or electronic) can be obtained on request by email to alternativeformats@lawsociety.org.uk.

Legislation.gov.uk

www.legislation.gov.uk

This is a free searchable database of UK legislation (including amended text of most primary legislation, but original form of most secondary legislation) published by the UK government.

Lexology

www.lexology.com

This is a web-based service that provides free practical know-how on a range of areas of interest to commercial and corporate lawyers. Articles and other knowhow is aggregated onto this website from a number of law firms. It is free to subscribe to receive daily alerts on developments tailored to practice or business interests.

Ministry of Justice

www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules

The Ministry of Justice is the UK Government department responsible for publishing court rules for civil, criminal and family courts within England and Wales. This webpage contains links to the procedure rules and court guides for the civil, criminal and family courts and other useful MOJ publications, but not to commentary on the procedural rules to be found in practitioner publications such as the White Book or Blackstones Criminal Practice.

NTNAM - National Talking Newspapers and Magazines

www.tnauk.org.uk

NTNAM, formerly known as the Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom (TNAUK), provides the times Law Reports and a wide range of full title and extracts from mainstream newspapers, magazines and journals in audio and electronic alternative formats for a subscription fee. This is not a searchable archive.

Parliament website (UK)

www.parliament.uk

This is the official website of the UK Parliament. It contains links to searches for bills and legislation, information about the timetable for proposed legislation currently going through Parliament and searchable text from Hansard (and other publications) found under the publications and records link. There is also information about parliamentary procedures.

RNIB - Royal National Institute of Blind People

www.rnib.org.uk

this is the official website of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, including:

  • Information on library services and talking books. The RNIB library's primary aim is to provide leisure reading but does include some legal texts in Braille and in audio recorded in real voice or synthetic speech audio for students or practitioners. There is a subscription charge for talking books but not for Braille, giant print or electronic resources. More information is available at www.rnib.org.uk/livingwithsightloss/readingwriting/Pages/reading_writing.aspx .
  • RNIB employment fact sheets and information, including on the government's "Access to Work" scheme to help employer's fund reasonable adjustments, are available at www.rnib.org.uk/employment.

Supreme Court

www.supremecourt.uk

This is the homepage of the final court of appeal for civil cases in the UK and criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The website contains a searchable database of Supreme Court judgments of decided cases, procedural rules, practice directions, forms and information about cases currently listed for Supreme Court hearings.

Information about other publications, facilities and resources available to visually impaired law practitioners and students

Law Society Gazette

This is a weekly magazine produced by the Law Society for all members (including student members). SOVIL has negotiated distribution of the magazine to interested SOVIL members as a text file attached to an email. These files do not include the text of advertisements published in the print magazine. The magazine is distributed by the Law Society direct to relevant SOVIL members; members of SOVIL interested in receiving it should contact us to be added to the distribution list.

Counsel

This is the monthly magazine published by the Bar Council for members of the Bar. This publication is distributed to relevant interested SOVIL members attached to an email. These files do not include advertisements published in the print copy. Interested SOVIL members should contact us to be added to the distribution list.

Times Law reports

Case reports are available as an electronic text file entitled "Times Law Reports" from NTNAM (website link above) for a fee. Separately, legal articles published in the Times newspaper are available as electronic text files as part of a subscription to the Times newspaper. Subscribers can request either that the files are delivered as email attachments or access the files directly from the NTNAM website.

Practical Lawyer

The full text of this monthly journal is available in Braille from the RNIB for an annual subscription fee.

Stubbs Legal audio Training materials

Stubbs Legal is a commercial enterprise that sells audio recordings of training seminars that can be used to fulfil CPD training requirements. A list of the training topics is available on their website at www.stubblegal.co.uk.

Stubbs Legal has offered to send recordings to SOVIL members in electronic mp3 file format on request. Interested SOVIL members should contact us.

Westlaw

This is a subscription website with searchable databases of legislation, cases, journal articles, the full text of some practitioner texts and other materials from the UK, EU and other jurisdictions. Coverage varies depending on scope of licence. Most institutions offering law degrees and vocational training courses and some law firms have a subscription to the Westlaw service. The Inns of Court's respective libraries have agreed to grant remote access to visually impaired members of the Inns of Court once called to the Bar. This allows access to these resources on your own computer, having first obtained a user name and password from Sweet & Maxwell. NB The Inns of Court do not subscribe to any practitioner texts via Westlaw, so resources such as Archbold and the White Book are not included in this subscription. Interested SOVIL members should contact us for more information on how to make use of this facility.

Law Society Library

The Law Society library service can be accessed by any member of the Law Society (including student members). This library is located at 113 Chancery Lane, London at the Law Society headquarters. There are various facilities available to visually impaired members, which were upgraded in February 2015. At the time of the upgrade, the facilities available in the library included a computer with JAWS and NVDA screen reading software and a Braille display, a computer with Zoomtext screen magnification software and NVDA screen reading software and a closed-circuit television for use by visually impaired visitors. The computers are linked to scanners, which can be used to convert hard copy material into formats that can be read on the computers. The computers can be used for research on various electronic databases (including WestLaw and Lexis Library) and the library staff are willing to offer assistance in retrieving and scanning hard copy material into an electronic format. The Law Society library catalogue and freely available materials can be searched at http://wv-tls.hostedbyfdi.net/webview/. Copies of other materials are available from the Law Society library for a charge. Library staff can be contacted by telephone on 08706062511 or 020 7320 5946.

Inns of Court libraries

the libraries of Lincolns Inn, Grays Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple all have facilities for visually impaired barristers and BPTC students to varying degrees. these include online resources, a small number of computers with the JAWS screen reader installed and scanning and emailing services. These accessibility arrangements are currently under review with a view to implementing improvements. Each Inn is responsible for its own library arrangements and the most up-to-date resource for further information is each library's respective website. These websites include contact details should you wish to discuss your needs with library staff, who experience indicates are very friendly and more than happy to do what they can to meet the requirements of visually impaired users.