Soper and Weissman: Give the public online access to case law

Colorado Politics: Often it is said that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for running afoul of the law. Citizens are expected to know and follow the law at all times. In our system of government, sources of law are derived from the constitution, statute, administrative regulations and judicial opinions, also known as case law.

But what if a citizen cannot freely or easily access the law to know what the law says? Can a citizen fairly be expected to obey the law if they cannot freely or easily access the law?

These questions may have been answered differently if the year was 1250 and the law reports included handwritten judicial opinions attributed to specific judges. Since the advent of printing in the 1470s, English case law has been printed and reported and made accessible to the people in large public libraries and law school libraries. By the 1990s, a new technology emerged which was every bit as ground breaking as the printing press: the internet.

Visit Colorado Politics for more.

Subscribe to Our Blog