Legal Search Tools in India

A new blog – Legal Research India – was recently brought to my attention. Created by Arjun Sheoran, a student a NLSIU, it looks like a welcome new legal research tool that not only searches Indian cases, but some foreign jurisdictions as well, along with Indian law journals, publications, and blogs (including this one). And quite importantly, it’s free.

Hopefully, Legal Research India will nicely compliment Indian Kanoon, which I know has updated some of its search functions in the last few months, improving it even more.

Beyond the free legal search engines, there’s been a lot of movement in the pay research tools in the last few months. Since Westlaw bought Indlaw they have dramatically improved their interface and seem to have added some back cases Indlaw had been missing. It now strikes me as a better search option on the pay-side than Manupatra, which had been the gold standard for some time, despite it’s often clunky navigability.

However, Indlaw may soon have a run for its money. I was recently at the Delhi book fair where the Lexis Nexis India representative said they were planning on entering the Indian legal search market in the next couple months. They will begin with cases from the upper judiciary and slowly add more content.

Both Indlaw and Lexis eventually plan to provide searches of Indian legal journals. This should mark a boon both for the journals and Indian legal academics who write in them. For a long time, there was no one place you could go to search Indian legal journals – something Legal Research India makes inroads into fixing. As a result, one has to go to each journal’s website and do a search there. This has slowed the transmission of legal knowledge, research, and argument in India considerably.

The emergence of these new search tools should help solve this problem considerably. I’m also very grateful that websites like Indian Kanoon and Legal Research India are making pioneering inroads with their free legal search engines. The pay websites are still quite expensive (I think Indlaw is about 25,000 Rs a year for an individual), and unlikely to get much cheaper soon. For many lawyers, and most Indian citizens (who have access to the internet and know English), these free portals will be one of their few options to get access to their laws, caselaw, and the articles written about them. (PRS’s laws of India is also a nice site for free legislative searches)

2 comments

  1. Thank you for your post Nick. I would like to copy a new post regarding my blog, that instead of it LAWKHOJ.COM has been launced:

    Launch of LAWKHOJ.COM (with the Best Indian Legal Search Engines)
    Dear Friends

    I am very happy to announce the launch of my website LAWKHOJ.COM, in collaboration with my friend Rahul Sarin, which will provide customized search engines for Indian and foreign legal research. So, now you can do all your Indian legal research at Law Khoj Indian Legal Search Engine. You can also use other search engines like the Openly Accessible Journals Law Khoj (for open/free access journals), U.K. Law Khoj (for judgments and laws from the United Kingdom), U.S. Law Khoj (US legal resources) and World Law Khoj. Cornell University's legal search engine (US focus) will also be available.

    The biggest benefit of shifting to Law Khoj is that the website loads very quickly (as compared to this blog or even indiankanoon.org) and you'll enjoy a simple and clutter free interface. We have also added a number of new websites/blogs in the search index and have provided facility of labelling/categorisation. Thus, all websites have been categorised and labelled according to the kind of content they make available. Therefore, you can choose to search only sites of Central Government ministries, or look through blogs/judgments/legislation only or even search only through freely available or paid content.

    You can find out more about the lawkhoj.com in the "About" page. There is also a page about "How Law Khoj Works" and "How To Make Your Searches More Relevant" which gives ways of getting the most relevant results.

    Our effort would be to expand the list of indexed websites overtime and it'll also be our endeavor to make the Indian legal research as convenient as possible. Therefore, its our humble request that you should kindly try out the different search engines for Indian and foreign legal research. If you think that your search experience can be further improved by adding some website to our index or you have any other suggestions regarding the search results or any other general comments, kindly head over to the Contact Us page and shoot us an email. As Law Khoj still in beta stage we request you to kindly excuse any errors/mistakes.

    Thanks again for your support for this blog, and I hope the same with continue with Law Khoj.

    Regards,

    Arjun Sheoran
    for Legal Research India and Lawkhoj.com

    PS: I will be deleting the search engines from the blog so that you can experience Lawkhoj.com in a better manner without undue confusion.

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