New site explores Anglo-American legal tradition

The O’Quinn Law Library at the University of Houston Law Center has launched a new Web site, Anglo-American Legal Tradition, that provides access to nearly half a million images of U.K. court documents covering roughly four centuries from 1272 to 1650.

The images are of documents on file with the National Archives of the United Kingdom. Previously, access to these documents was possible only by visiting the National Archives and viewing them first-hand. The images were acquired through the 15-year effort of Robert C. Palmer, Cullen professor of history and law at the University of Houston, to negotiate the license. The licensing agreement they reached in August 2006 permits the free, non-commercial, public display and use of the images.

In addition to the document images, the site includes Palmer’s overviews of English legal history. Eventually, it will include additional teaching materials and finding aids to enhance the site’s functionality.