Who is PermaLaw?

PermaLaw.Org is a non-profit entity, being organized, which has as a mission resolving the problem of providing permanent web citations to judicial and administrative law opinions and decisions, without having to have a subscription to WestLaw or Lexis. PermaLaw is affiliated with HyperLaw, Inc., which provides services to PermaLaw.

As part of this mission, PermaLaw with HyperLaw will address issues such as citation, searchability of judicial opinions, access to judicial opinions, and xml standards.

In 1991, HyperLaw founder Alan Sugarman was frustrated when attempting to provide hyperlinked citations to the electronic version of a real estate transactions book. This led to the publication of court opinions and litigation with West Publishing Company to establish the public domain nature of judicial opinion text as well as citations. Over these years, public Web versions of court opinions frequently do not have permanent locations or web citations, frustrating authors of legal commentary and journalists from providing permanent links to this primary source information.

PermaLaw and HyperLaw believe that public search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are in the best position to provide search access to these opinions and decisions - but, to do so, the opinions need to be "presented" in some reasonable regular manner.

As a first step, it is proposed that the HTML and Acrobat title fields include all information customarily used in legal citation formats, and if possible include the name of the court in full, the word "opinion", and the docket number of the case from which the opinion originated.

First Initiative

As a first initiative, PermaLaw and HyperLaw are organizing the decisions of a New York City administrative agency. As a model, PermaLaw will host some opinions until such time as the judicial and administrative entities issuing such opinions move toward providing resource locators that may be accessed permanently and remove firewalls and proprietary barriers to direct access to individual opinions.

HyperLaw in the early 1990's pioneered access to the opinions of the United States Court of Appeals. See www.hyperlaw.com.