Happy Birthday Austlii: 6 Facts

Last week Austlii celebrated finally being able to drink in Japan, get married in Thailand and play Roulette in New Zealand.

As Austlii celebrates it’s 20th birthday, Lawyers from around Australia begrudgingly listen to their seniors talking of the day when they had to run over to the court library, beg friends at bigger firms or pretend to still be a student when they desperately needed to look up some case law last minute.

For the uninitiated, Austlii is an online legal database that catalogues journals, decisions and legislation from around Australia and provides it free to the public. Austlii is offically the Australasian Legal Information Institute and is maintained by the UTS and UNSW law faculties, though it is funded by donations from around Australia including the ANU, the ACT Law Society and private practitioners from around Canberra.

Austlii is part of a broader free access to law movement along with 34 other organisations providing similar services in their various parts of the world.

So, happy birthday Austlii and lets look at some fun facts:

  1. Austlii receives over 600,000 page hits everyday
    (so presumably 600,001).
  2. Austlii receives about 30% of all legal database traffic in Australia.
  3. It costs approx $1m to run each year and relies on over 250 organisations including Universities (~30%), law societies and law firms (~30%)  and corporate sponsors and individual gifts for the rest.
  4. One of the biggest donors is a legal insurance firm which believes Austlii is the best prevention for negligence amongst small firms.
  5. Austlii doesn’t index cases with search engines to protect the privacy of those involved.
  6. Over 700 different legal publications are regularly catalogued.