The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting is a creature of the legal profession itself. The logo that appears at the head of this blog post attests to our official status and standing. The Royal coat of arms is surrounded by those of the four Inns of Court and the now defunct Serjeants’ Inn.

Accordingly, it was fitting that the launch of ICLR’s new service, ICLR Online, took place in the majestic setting of Middle Temple’s Great Hall on 18 October 2011.

The launch of ICLR Online sees the Council enter an exciting new phase in its 146-year history. The launch night was an opportunity for members of the Bar, the judiciary, solicitors, academics and law librarians to assemble together and share in the unveiling of the most significant development in the Council’s history since the launch of The Weekly Law Reports in 1953. By all accounts, the evening was a roaring success!


The ICLR’s cartoon by Alex Williams looked wonderful on a easel

Guests were treated to the sounds of Jazz for Parties, a soulful four-piece featuring one of ICLR’s law reporters, Elanor Dymott, and a personalised cartoon sketch by Alex Williams (of Queen’s Counsel fame). And of course, no social event at the Inns of Court would be complete without a generous helping of drinks and canapés.

The purpose of the evening was to give our guests the chance to see ICLR Online in action, to engage with it and learn why we believe the new service represents an important advancement in the way practitioners, academics and students research the law. Live demonstrations ran throughout the evening, in addition to a large projected visualisation of our product demo at the top of the hall.

Judge Chambers QC opened the speeches at the event

ICLR were incredibly fortunate to launch the new service with the support of the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and our own chairman, His Honour Judge Chambers QC. The Lord Chief Justice delivered a characteristically erudite, charming and amusing speech about why the work of ICLR is so critical to the proper functioning of the courts and how the launch of ICLR Online will further the administration of justice. It wouldn’t be right to attempt to reproduce the speech in this blog post, but there is one point raised by his Lordship that is worthy of additional emphasis.

It remains the case that too much rather than too little law is reported. The incompetent advocate, said his Lordship, is the one who confuses weight with authority. The competent advocate, on the other hand, is the one who directs the court only to those cases that really matter. Sometimes less is more. Selectivity in reportage has been ICLR’s guiding principle since its establishment in the mid-Victorian era and remains so to this day.

Paul Magrath demonstrating the unique features of ICLR Online, including Citator Plus

Rebecca Herlé with The Lord Chief Justice, Judge Chambers QC and other gurests at the event

The development of ICLR Online has been both a rewarding and painstaking process. Our objective has been to create a fair and moderately priced service that combines the solid, dependable virtues of our printed law reports with an easy to use online platform. The launch party represents the fulfilment of that objective. With our new service users will enjoy instant access to over 77,000 of the cases that matter.

146 years on, ICLR remains the master of its art: the provision of the most accurate reports of those cases that change the law with absolute clarity of expression. The launch of ICLR Online on the evening of 18 October 2011 ushered in a new chapter for the Council and there is much, much more to come…