LexisNexis Releases California's Plain-English Jury Instructions; to Create Digital U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Sep 12, 2003


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LexisNexis, a provider of legal, news, and business information services, has announced the availability of the official version of the state's new plain-English civil jury instructions. The state of California adopted new plain-English jury instructions in July in an effort to replace phrases like "preponderance of evidence" with language more easily understood by jurors. According to the California Rules of Court and Standards of Judicial Administration, the new plain-English instructions are the "official instructions for use in the state of California" and use of the instructions is "strongly encouraged." Use of the new plain-English jury instructions in California civil courts is effective September 1 pursuant to Rule 855.

As official publisher, LexisNexis produces the jury instructions in print, CD, and online.  In addition, LexisNexis will integrate the new jury instructions in its "Bender's California Forms of Jury Instruction." LexisNexis will also offer the instructions in its new HotDocs document assembly software, which is designed to allow attorneys and judges to customize the instructions to fit the facts of each case. Judges from across the state have already begun training on the new HotDocs jury instruction software.

LexisNexis has also announced plans for a project in which it will digitize the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. The project is designed to broaden research and access to important historic documents and, upon completion, users will be able to access content spanning 1789-1969, including 325,000 documents drawn from nearly 13,000 volumes, 52,000 maps, and the American State Papers. The Serial Set is a historical resource that contains an ongoing collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under directive of the Congress, and consequently traces virtually all aspects of American history, including trade and commerce, military history, geography, scientific exploration, and anthropology.

Congressional Information Service (CIS), which later became part of LexisNexis, released the U.S. Congressional Serial Set on microfiche along with a companion Index in the 1970's. LexisNexis' new digitization project is creating opportunities for full-text searching and online retrieval of digital images, including statistical tables, illustrations, photographs, lithographs, and maps. Users will be able to search all the elements currently found in the LexisNexis CIS U.S. Serial Set Index as well as perform full-text searches on OCR-generated ASCII text and full bibliographic metadata.  

LexisNexis plans to release the Serial Set through monthly updates within a two-year period beginning in December 2003. LexisNexis has partnered with Apex ePublishing to help expedite the digitization process.

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