chapter  1
52 Pages

Law Libraries and Their Users

WithJules Winterton

Law libraries in Britain and Ireland form a distinct and dynamic group within the information world. They are a cross-sectoral group; they have parent institutions which range across the private and public spheres but they retain a common identity through their dealings with the legal profession in its various branches and their management of legal information in its various proliferations. This chapter describes and sets law libraries in Britain and Ireland in context and relates their present state and their historical development to the various branches of the legal profession and the legal systems. It describes professional collaboration, networking and professional associations of law librarians in Britain and Ireland and internationally. The law has always been information-based and information-intensive, particularly in common law systems. Law libraries in Britain and Ireland date from medieval times and were established to serve legal institutions such as the Inns of Court and are closely tied to the development of those institutions.