LAWYERS ARE being urged to contribute their expertise to a new wiki designed to assist people with everyday legal issues.
LegalWiki is the brainchild of David Boot, a lawyer, and Deirdre Angus, and contains commentary on a wide-variety of topics including information on buying and selling a home, the legal status of de facto and same-sex relationships, divorce, buying and selling a car, motor vehicle accidents, wills and superannuation. Angus said the aim is to establish a site where people can go to find out about the legal processes involved when faced with everyday legal issues.
“The main purpose is to create a self-sustaining body of thought that’s easy and practical to access at any level in the community. It’s a resource for the community of legal information which would otherwise be difficult to find unless you read 20 million books, search the internet in a million different places, or go to see a lawyer — and even then sometimes you might go to the wrong lawyer,” she said.
The wiki is a low-investment project, being run on a not-for-profit basis and is the first wiki of its kind in Australia. Angus said that content was couched strictly as commentary as opposed to “legal advice” and that it would be up to the profession to help ensure the accuracy of the site by adding to or changing information to keep it up-to-date.
“The accuracy comes down to the community. What a wiki is dependent on is people going in, reviewing, reading, and updating the information to ensure it’s correct. In most cases people don’t change information unless it’s incorrect, as you can see who changes it. We’ve found even now we have content on there, and there have been slight changes here and there with updates. Once the momentum starts it grows quite easily,” Angus said.
Lawyers who want to contribute to the site will first need to register a user name and password. They can then search the topics under the headings “Everyday Law” and “Formal Law”. If the topic already exists they can make changes or add to the site. If the topic does not exist they will be prompted to create a new page before adding their knowledge.
The wiki will automatically keep a record of all contributions and users cannot irrevocably delete or alter contributions.