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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS058091)

The Effect of Judicial System Reform on Japanese Law Libraries
No.58, p.91-102
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Purpose: The purpose of this article is to present the issues Japanese law libraries are facing after the judicial system reform which took place in 2001. By examining the effects of the reform, the author identifies the challenges faced by such libraries.

Methods: Interviews were conducted at 17 law libraries to investigate the characteristics of the libraries’ collections and management aspects such as budgets and personnel.

Results: As an effect of the judicial system reform, law libraries in Japan can now be classified into four categories according to their patrons: 1) law libraries for scholars, 2) law libraries for lawyers, 3) law school libraries, and 4) law libraries for the public. The importance of law school libraries and law libraries for the public (law information services at public libraries) has been underlined due to revisions in legal education and the pending introduction of the citizen judge system. With the revised education system still in its early stages, law school libraries are looking to redefine their service framework. The library at the Legal Research and Training Institute at the Supreme Court of Japan may serve as a reference in this matter. Proactive efforts are being undertaken at public libraries in order to support citizens’ involvement in the judicial process. However, taking into account the possibility of judicial information services developing into legal counseling, cooperation with legal experts should be considered.

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