We are sometimes asked how often we update Foreign Law Guide. It is a good question and one your editors have talked about a great deal.
The answer in specific terms is not an easy one for there are many implications and complications associated with assigning update information.
When we maintained the hard-copy version of Foreign Law, updating and information about updating was quite straightforward because of publishing schedules. Not so with the online version as it is a much more dynamic and fluid resource.
This is related to some of the reasons that compelled us to drop the hard copy version of Foreign Law. One of the “down sides” of the production costs associated with printing limitations was that we were always faced with difficult and compromising decisions about what to include in the releases. Expressed differently, we frequently had additions, changes or revisions for a jurisdiction, but we could not include the jurisdiction in a release because there were other jurisdictions that were even more compelling in terms of how long it had been since we had last updated them, the sheer number of changes and/or the significance of the changes (this is especially so in the areas of constitutional law and codification). In terms of making statements about updating, the “up side” was that we could use the release date as a then current date. In that regard it was neat and easy to deal with updating notations.
Because there was not a practical means of introducing fresh material for unlimited jurisdictions on a constant basis, hard copy had become a dated and unacceptable media. On the contrary, with the online version we make changes and additions as it pleases us and we do so dutifully nearly every day. We include 178 jurisdictions and try to make significant changes to the online version as they come to our attention. We also routinely make "global" changes regularly (usually involving conventions/treaties or the materials we index). These frequently involve a number of jurisdictions and they are simply too difficult to keep track of in terms of specifying changes in individual countries.
"Covering" 178 jurisdictions, ranging from the largest and most sophisticated to the relatively obscure and hardly sophisticated, is a daunting task. Relatively few countries in the world make their legislation and the changes to that legislation easily available. Your editors move information back and forth a few times a week by email, fax, overnight shipping and phone calls. The resulting changes are posted immediately. Keeping all the jurisdictions up to date all the time would require a team of researchers, some of whom would be best situated in the geographical areas and would force us to increase our subscription costs substantially.
All of this is to say that as best we can we try to keep everything up to date all the time. That is not an easy task and it is probably the case that we sometimes come up short of that mark. Be assured that Foreign Law Guide is our life's work and we take pride in handling this work as responsibly as we can.
In addition to our ongoing updating to all the jurisdictions currently covered, we make an effort to add new, or reconstituted jurisdictions and nations to our overall coverage, as the necessary material becomes available. For example, the "Former Yugoslavia" has evolved into at least six independent nations. We have introduced chapters on five of these: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, and we are still working on Macedonia and possibly even Kosovo. So too, we are just starting to make significant progress on the backlog for the former U.S.S.R. and plan to continue the process.
We now introduce a brief, annual listing of jurisdictions added, beginning with those for 2008: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Montenegro and Serbia.
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