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This page provides access to a number of sites where useful information and paperwork is available. Your attention is drawn to the terms and conditions which each site may attach to the downloading of material. Inclusion does not indicate endorsement on our part.
Law on the web
There are many websites providing information on the law. Practising lawyers and academics subscribe to expensive specialist online libraries such as LexisNexis Butterworths, and thereby have access to encyclopaedic works such as Halsbury's Laws. However, there are free sources available.
The Office for Public Sector Information (formerly HMSO) provides "raw" statutes, both primary and secondary. These should be treated with caution as they do not include later amendments. The Government's UK Statute Law Database, on the other hand, is in the early stages of making available for download statutes that do incorporate all amendments.
Statutes should be read in the context of how they are applied by the Courts. Important cases can be accessed via the excellent British & Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII). The Supreme Court publishes its own judgements for download on its website
Summaries of various aspects of the law can be found on NGO websites (see below). These are useful, but no substitute for proper research or professional advice. Authoritative information and comment can be found in legal textbooks, details of a selection of which are included below.
Further discussion and information on law on the internet can be found on the Venables legal resources website compiled by the venerable Delia Venables.
Challenging government decisions
Decisions of public authorities can be challenged and issues resolved in a number of ways. The main remedy available in the Courts is judicial review. The Courts Service website provides information on the many aspects of court practice. The Rules governing court procedure are available on the Ministry of Justice website.
Funding and costs protection are crucially important factors in going to court. It may be possible to arrange insurance cover or obtain a Protective Costs Order from the Court. Alternatively, legal aid may be granted by the Legal Services Commission. Financial qualification for legal aid can be checked on the LSC's eligibility calculator.
Tribunals deal with issues ranging from benefits to employment to discrimination. They are designed to be accessible without professional assistance. However, the increasing complexity of the law in these areas and the use of professional advocates by companies and government bodies mean that individual claimants can be at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, legal aid is not available for tribunal representation. The Free Representation Unit can provide free representation to those who need it.
Omdudsmen lack legal teeth, but they do have powers of investigation and can make recommendations for compensation which are generally complied with. Ombudsmen deal with complaints of maladministration against central and local government, and other institutions.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission takes up and pursues claims of discrimination and breaches of human rights.

Information rights

The Information Commission website, as you might expect, is a good source of information on the law and procedure of securing your information rights. Information Tribunal decisions can be downloaded from its website.

Environmental rights

Environmental law is the creature not only of domestic law but also of international treaties. It is a large and ever-expanding area of jurispurdence, for which no list could do justice. Here are a few sites that you may find useful- we would in particular recommend the UKELA site. For further information on the law and sources, please contact us directly.
Human & social rights
Many advice agencies and NGOs provide information on your rights and how to protect them. Here is a short selection. For more go to Delia Venables' website

Campaigning & organising
Often in undertaking community or other collective action it is advisable to form a legally recognised body. Various types of company with limited liability, including companies limited by guarantee, can be registered with Companies House. Information and guidance on community interest companies is additionally available from the CIC Regulator
Co-operatives and other mutual organisations such as credit unions are now registered with a department of the Financial Services Authority. Co-operatives UK is a federation of co-ops that provides support to its members. Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops sharing mutual aid, one of whose members, Seeds for Change, provides support for activists.
A group or organisation with charitable objectives can be registered with the Charity Commission.
Here is a very small selection of books that you might find useful. For prices and ISBN's please follow the link to the relevant publisher's website. Alternatively, access the book through your local public library.

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