In order to be a valuable resource, there must be an indication of trustworthiness. One would think that being published by the state would be enough of an indication that the legal information is accurate. However, some states place disclaimers on their websites that lead one to not trust the information contained within. Some examples of these are:
- The Nebraska Unicameral Legislature makes every attempt to ensure accuracy and reliability of the data in the documents contained on this web site. However, the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, express or implied, concerning the content of the documents. For matters affecting legal or other rights, or to confirm content, please refer to the printed version of the appropriate official publication. (Nebraska Statutory Code)
- THE MATERIAL AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE, WHILE BELIEVED TO BE ACCURATE, IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE REFER TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED AT THE TOP TO DETERMINE WHEN THE SITE WAS LAST UPDATED. NEITHER THE OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES (OLS) NOR WEST PUBLISHING, THE OFFICIAL PUBLISHER OF THE STATE STATUTES, MONITORS THE CONTENT OF THIS SITE. NOR DOES OLS OR WEST MONITOR OR PREPARE THE LIST OF SECTIONS AFFECTED (LSA) OR THE INDEX FOR THIS SITE. FOR THE OFFICIAL VERSION OF ANY STATUTE, PLEASE CONSULT THE BOUND VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTS OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE REVISED STATUTES ANNOTATED, PUBLISHED BY WEST, A THOMSON BUSINESS. (New Hampshire Statutory Code)
- While we try to keep the information on this website accurate and up-to-date, we cannot guarantee that it always will be. (Wyoming Statutory Code)
- WARNING: While we have taken care with the accuracy of the files accessible here, they are not “official” state rules in the sense that they can be used before a court. Anyone who needs a certified copy of a rule chapter should contact the APA Office. (Maine Regulations)
- The slip opinions provided on this site are neither final nor official but are provided in an effort to make the opinions freely available to the public on the date of release. The opinions below are subject to correction, modification, or withdrawal at the discretion of the Court before they are published in Southern Reporter and later reprinted in Alabama Reporter, the official report of the opinions of the Alabama appellate courts, and no effort has been made to update these opinions to reflect any such correction, modification, or withdrawal. (Alabama Supreme Court).
The last example shows a common problem with case law. The courts post slip opinions with no indication of later changes. As was recently shown with the supreme court, changes to slip opinions can be quite substantial in nature and are not infrequent. There is a significant question as to the quality of court opinions on court websites.
This study found that while a majority of legal information websites did not have disclaimers, a significant portion did. For case law websites, forty-five (45) out of one hundred and five (105) websites had a disclaimer about the accuracy of the opinions posted.
Disclaimers were placed on eleven (11) out of fifty (50) regulation websites visited.