Welcome to Issue 1 of the European Journal of Law and Technology

We are privileged to participate in this inaugural issue of the European Journal of Law and Technology in which we make available a series of articles (being published in parallel in hard copy form) dealing with the history of legal informatics.

The Issue is a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the British and Irish Law and Technology Association (BILETA) who were sponsors of the Journal of Information Law and Technology (JILT) and continue to be sponsors of the renamed and renewed European Journal of Law and Technology (EJLT). BILETA in spite its name and close British and Irish associations was founded in Rome and has always been pan-European in its approach and we are pleased that the Journal is being launched at the BILETA 25th Anniversary Conference in Vienna.

The Issue would not have been possible without the support of Professor Fernando Galindo, Prof. Pilar Lassala and the Legal Framework for Information Society network (LEFIS) which, together with BILETA, supported the book project A History of Legal Informatics.

The 1980s was a vibrant time to be active in the field with much discussion - heated sometimes - about how best to use the new force of IT in the practice and teaching of law. Legal Informatics - unfortunately - never became as substantial a field of research as we might - in the 1980s - have hoped that it was going to become, but there is no reason why it cannot develop and grow more fruitfully again. There are signs that the field is in the early stages of re-growth.

The problems which gave rise to legal informatics in those early days remain: law is difficult to assimilate if easier to access, more and more litigation is self litigation as legal aid funding dries up, the justice system still seems unwilling to absorb any analysis which is not substantive law-based and we still haven't persuaded colleagues that e-learning is more than a dream.

So, there is certainly more to be done in the coming decades. We hope that the EJLT will receive articles dealing with legal informatics - as well as the more typical legal topics - and thus be able to publish authors work openly and accessibly.

Finally, we would like to thank the authors for their contributions. The Editors feel it is appropriate that some of the pioneers should inaugurate this renewed journal with an account of the history of legal informatics to point us to that elusive brighter future.

Philip Leith - Editor

Abdul Paliwala - Founding Editor

A History of legal informatics, Abdul Paliwala (ed.) Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, LEFIS Series ; 9, Zaragoza, 2010. ISBN 978-84-92774-88-3