My road toward the law has been long and not direct — but one web site in particular kept my interest when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Given my science background and near–obsessive need for information, you may not be surprised that the site is BAILII.
BAILII is a database of case law. It contains recent decisions for the full range of courts and tribunals across the UK, historic decisions, and decisions from other jurisdictions. It is free to access, and the best way in the UK for the lay person to access case law, giving the ability to inform themselves about things like legal matters in the press, but more importantly giving the ability to research and arm themselves in situations where there can be little other help — a dispute with a public body, or an employer, for example.
Running BAILII is naturally not free. While a number of firms have made commitments to funding, more is required to guarantee the continuing survival of what, to me, is an essential service. Frankly, I think it should be a publicly–funded service, but that is not likely in this day and age.
If, like me, you believe this service should continue, please consider donating to BAILII. It is a charity, donations are managed via the Charities Aid Foundation, and are gift-aidable (please do that if you can, it means an extra 25% to them).