Military Legal Resources Site at Library of Congress

By Osborne, David L. | Information Outlook, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Military Legal Resources Site at Library of Congress


Osborne, David L., Information Outlook


The Library of Congress Federal Research Division hosts a Military Legal Resources page on its public Web site.

Launched in July 2003, the site is at www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/military-legal-resources-home.html.

The division is the fee-for-service research and analysis group in the Library of Congress that provides its services to executive- and judicial-branch agencies of the federal government through interagency agreements.

The site contains documents from the collections of the Library of Congress--plus others provided by the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School Library in Charlottesville, Virginia. The latter has a collection of historical and current documents of interest to legal scholars, lawyers, and historians.

Daniel C. Lavering, librarian at the Charlottesville facility, spearheads the digitization effort. The posted documents represent both primary research and secondary source materials of interest to military lawyers, judges, and civilian authorities. The site averages approximately 90,000 hits per month.

The documents on the site include The Enactments and Approved Papers of the Control Council and Coordinating Committee, Allied Control Authority, Germany (1945-1948), the legislative history of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and all published issues of Military Law Review from 1958 to the present.

All issues of The Army Lawyer from 1971 to the present are being digitized and will be added to the site soon. Among the other documents planned for digitizing are the Francis Lieber library, the Reno Inquiry into the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and the U.S. Army inquiry into the My Lai Massacre. The Enactments represent the legal framework for governing postwar Germany as established by the victorious allied powers. The Control Council and Coordinating Committee of the Allied Control Authority in post-World War II occupied Germany issued a series of enactments and approved papers. This nine-volume series was compiled and printed by the Legal Division of the Office of the U.S. Military Government for Germany. It represents the effort to govern an occupied country by unanimous agreement of representatives of the four occupying powers: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The collection is not only of historical value but also is a resource for current military legal scholarship.

The legislative history of the Uniform Code of Military Justice provides many related and supporting historical materials that document the development of the code and can be used to argue legislative intent. Hence, this resource can be a valuable tool for lawyers and legal scholars involved in the nation's war on terrorism.

In addition to the 1950 Uniform Code of Military Justice, documents already posted to the site include the Articles of War (1912-1920), the Elston Act (1948), and the Military Justice Acts of 1968 and 1983. Thirteen editions (1890-1968) of the Manual for Courts-Martial will eventually be made available for full-text searching; the 1949 and 1951 editions already have been posted.

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Military Legal Resources Site at Library of Congress
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