Welcome to OpenLawMap

Hello and welcome to OpenLawMap.

OpenLawMap is an interactive and user-generated map showing sites of legal significance in the UK, with associated blog entries and discussions.

Law can be a daunting and seemingly abstract subject to study. Some commentators have called law a series of commands, or a process of interpretation, or the embodiment of reason. Law is, though, an intensely human enterprise. It takes effect in the physical world around us. It grants us rights or restricts our behaviour in the places where we live and work. Its disputes arise from the interactions of people in real places.

The main aims of the OpenLawMap project are to chart these places and prompt discussion about them. We want users to be able to see the places around them where legally important events happened, and be able to search for sites relevant to their studies and interests (e.g. environmental law sites; places where tort disputes happened; legal locations in literature).

The blog part the site is at least as important as the map. Physical locations are unique and the blog entries can bring to life the location and throw new perspectives on the legal events that happened there. Adding photographs would be really useful, but is not essential.

Relevance is a key theme. Many of our students here in Lancashire did not know that Preston courts have hosted some of the most important criminal trials in the UK in the last 30 years. Charting and discussing this, helps them to understand that they are studying in a major trial centre and provoke further interest in the legal importance of the events that happened on our doorstep.

You do not have to use OpenLawMap in this way. You can map places and discuss them without having to visit the location. The relevance comes from your interest in the subject (e.g. My five top planning law disputes; private nuisance in tort – the prime locations; etc. etc.)

For students (and teachers and anyone else), you can get mapping quickly and easily – just follow the tips and instructions on the Get Mapping page. You can explore and chart the legal events that happened in your village, town, city or region. You can develop your writing and publishing skills. By becoming a contributor, we create an individual page for you that demonstrates those contributions and that you can add to your CV and online profile.

For teachers, you can use OpenLawMap in all sorts of ways – see the Teacher’s Toolkit page for more details. You can use it as a group activity for your students to promote induction, as an interesting mini-project (or even element of assessment) on a substantive module, as a school liaison activity, and we are sure a dozen other ideas that you can come up with.

The OpenLawMap project originates in Lancashire Law School, UCLan and is kickstarted by the generosity of the School – we hope you can check us out! OpenLawMap, though, is very much an open educational resource. It is open to anyone interested in law, and the way it takes effect around them, to use and develop in ways they find interesting and useful.

Happy mapping!

Michael Doherty

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