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Keeping up-to-date with the law: News & current awareness

Tips for keeping up-to-date with the law in your research area

Keeping up to date with the law

Introduction: News & Current Awareness

This part of the guide suggests general current awareness services that can provide you with updates and news in your area of legal research.

Inner Temple Current Awareness Blog

The Inner Temple Current Awareness Service is a free service that covers new case law, changes in legislation and legal news from England and Wales.

The site is extensive; users can choose to subscribe to the RSS feed for the blog as a whole, or you can select your subject of interest to only receive RSS updates in this area.

You can also choose to receive updates by email.

 

Guardian Law

The Law section on the Guardian newspaper's website is an excellent free resource. Here you can read the latest legal news and sign up for a law news RSS alert.

Practical Law for Companies

Practical Law for Companies (PLC) is a subscription based database aimed at practising lawyers, containing know-how and current awareness information on a range of topics.

Even if your institution does not have a subscription to the database you can still take advantage of the RSS current awareness alerts. Without a subscription you won't be able to view the full-text articles; you will only see the headlines. Nevertheless it is a good way of finding out about legal developments in a particular area. Once the PLC alert has informed you that, for example, a new consultation paper exists (or draft SI, test case, legislative amendment, etc) you can find out the details by another means. RSS feeds are available on a wide range of legal topics.

Law in Action

Law in Action is a BBC Radio 4 programme, presented by legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg. It provides analysis of legal news stories. It is published 12 times per year and has been running since 1984.

Legal Briefings

The Lawyer magazine collates legal briefings written by practising lawyers in leading law firms. They cover a wide range of legal topics and jurisdictions. You need to register to read the Briefings and to receive alerts, which is free.

Legal Week provides a similar service; a collection of briefings on a wide range of legal topics and geographical regions, written by leading practitioners. Register for free membership to view the briefings and to be alerted when new ones are available.

Lexology provides free articles written by lawyers in law firms. You can run a search on the website and filter the results by jurisdiction, work [practice] area, firm name or author. It is also possible to register an account to receive daily emails tailored to your area(s) of interest.

Google News Alerts

If you have a Gmail account, a Google alert can be used to monitor news published on the internet. To set one up, go to Google Alerts. When entering your search terms try to be as specific as possible to avoid retrieving too many irrelevant results. Here are a few tips:

  • If you only want results from newspapers or news websites, select News from the results type drop-down list
  • Enter phrases in double quotation marks, e.g. "exit tax"
  • Use a minus sign (-) in front of words you want to exclude, e.g. FSA -food
  • Use the site: operator to limit your search to specific sites, e.g. oman site:nytimes.com
  • To exclude results from a specific site use the -site operator, e.g. "nicola sturgeon" -site:thetimes.co.uk

Once you are happy with your search, enter your Gmail email address and click "create alert".