ULC Approves the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA)

On 7/18/2011, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) distributed an e-mail indicating that the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act was “approved during the Vote by States of the 2011 ULC Annual Meeting. Please note that the text is still subject to revision by the Committee on Style, which is scheduled to meet in September.”

In a press release posted on its web site, ULC describes the new uniform law:

A new act approved [July 12, 2011] by a national law group establishes an outcomes-based, technology-neutral framework for providing online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book.  The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act was approved today by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) at its 120th Annual Meeting in Vail, Colorado.

Increasingly, state governments are publishing laws, statutes, agency rules, and court rules and decisions online.  In some states, important state-level legal material is no longer published in books, but is only available online.  While electronic publication of legal material has facilitated public access to the material, it has also raised concerns.  Is the legal material official, authentic, government data that has not been altered?  For the long term, how will this electronic legal material be preserved?  How will the public access the material 10, 50, or 100 years from now?  The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act provides a consistent approach to solving these problems.

The drafting committee’s web page is available at http://www.uniformlaws.org/Committee.aspx?title=Electronic%20Legal%20Material%20Act .  As of 7/18/2011, the approved uniform act has not been posted.

UPDATE:  7/19/2011 — The approved, pre-style final text is available online at http://www.uniformlaws.org/Shared/Docs/AM2011_Prestyle%20Finals/UELMA_PreStyleFinal_Jul11.pdf .