Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act

Six states have recently introduced legislation to address the reliability of online primary legal materials deemed official.  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Tennessee are all considering enacting the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).

UELMA requires that official electronic legal material be:

  • Authenticated, by providing the user with a method to determine that the material has not been altered;
  • Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
  • Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.

UELMA specifically covers four categories of state primary legal materials:

  • constitutions
  • session laws
  • codified laws
  • agency regulations which have the effect of law

The Act provides the states with the discretion to include other publications.

The Uniform Law Commission drafted UELMA in a process ending with the Commission’s approval in November 2011. The American Bar Association House of Delegates gave its approval via resolution in February of 2012, and several states introduced UELMA legislation shortly thereafter.

The Uniform Law Commission provides access to more information about UELMA, including the final text of the Act and a page tracking the legislation as it makes its way through the state legislatures.

See also the UELMA FAQ posted by the American Association of Law Libraries.

About Anne Burnett

Foreign and International Law Librarian
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