What is JADE?
At its core, JADE is a free, online, searchable database of reported and unreported decisions of Australian courts and tribunals. JADE is an initiative of BarNet, and is the first of their planned OpenLaw initiatives.
Case search functions
It has a number of features that make it particularly useful for researching case law. In particular, the database search function is far more intuitive than most online legal databases. It automatically recognises case names, and suggests relevant matches as you type in your search query. If it doesn’t have the text of a case in its database, it still allows you to search for citations to the case, and displays search results that include links to the citing case, as well as an extract from the case that includes the citation e.g.:
It also allows you to browse the JADE database by areas or keywords.
JADE has many other useful features. In particular, when looking at a case, JADE uses a feature called ‘CaseTrace’ to allow you to easily see details of what other cases have cited that decision.
It also inserts details of the citation throughout the body of the case in a non-intrusive manner, then allows you to easily see which part of the decision has been cited, by what cases, and link through to the citing decision. You can also print, email or download the case you are looking at, including details of the citing cases, with extracts of the citing decision interleaved into the body of the case you are looking at. All these features are easily switched on and off so that it doesn’t unduly interfere with the presentation of the case you are looking at.
JADE allows you to set up and subscribe to custom alert feeds. Jade offers 3 forms of alerts: RSS digest feeds, alerts created from a saved search and alerts generated by customized updates on specific topics or courts. Based on your choices, JADE will then send you email updates at a frequency you determine (e.g. daily, weekly or monthly digests).
For example, I receive email updates of Tasmanian Supreme Court decisions weekly, and monthly emails with a digest of High Court decisions, and notifying me of any decisions from Tasmanian courts including an award for general damages:
Next time I’ll look at some of JADE’s more advanced features, including advanced search techniques and JadeMarks (a combination of bookmark, annotation tool and cross-referencing system that is stored online and can be accessed from anywhere). JadeMarks also allows you to annotate and organise cases found in Jade, by adding tags, highlights and notes to the online report.
JADE can be accessed by clicking on our Links icon on the Home screen. You will find it in the Resources column.