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History

The Supreme Court Law Library was one of the first libraries to be set up in Belize. However, in 1918, it was destroyed in a massive fire, which destroyed the Supreme Court Building. When the Supreme Court was rebuilt, the library was restored in a small room. There it stayed deteriorating rapidly until the year 1992. In that year, with the financial assistance of the USAID project, the law library moved into its new headquarters in the Sir Albert Staine Building. Under this project, the building was renovated and some new furniture and equipment was provided. The British High Commission donated some new books to complement the old volumes. Today, the Supreme Court Law Library is the country's primary research library geared towards meeting the information needs of the judiciary.

About the Library

In the year 1990, the present librarian, Mrs. Sylvia Hulse J.P., was transferred from the National Library Service in Belize. She was appointed law librarian in 1991. Prior to this appointment, the Registrar General was the librarian.  Because of his already busy schedule, he was forced to designate a member of his Senior Staff to conduct the day-to-day running of the library.

The law library is a special library and its users are judges of the Supreme and Appeal Courts, magistrates, attorneys, law students, para-legal students, sixth form students and those of the University of Belize studying Business Law. The law library also provides information to several other individuals and institutions who need legal information.

The Supreme Court Library's official hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. However, due to the dedication and commitment of the law librarian, the library is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. almost every day. When necessary, the library opens its doors to judges and legal practitioners on weekends.

The Supreme Court Law Library is critical in enabling Belizean attorneys and legal practitioners to keep abreast of happenings not only in the legal profession but also in the local and regional legal landscape. While the importance of doing proper research cannot be underestimated and while the demand for up-to-date information remains constant, the need to upgrade the stock of the library has been recognized. New editions of law reports and other books have been ordered to enable the library to keep abreast of changes in the legal system and legal practice.

The Library's Collection

The library's collection consists of both primary and secondary legal material and includes material from Belize, the English-speaking Caribbean countries, Commonwealth jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand as well as a limited amount of material from the United States of America. The collection amounts to about 10,000 volumes. The material includes:

-- law reports
-- law journals
-- statutes
-- legal reference material
-- judgments of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Belize
-- practice directions
-- legal textbooks and procedural material.

The textbook collection is arranged according to Moys' Classification scheme and the librarian maintains author/title and subject card catalogues. The law reports and bound periodicals are arranged alphabetically on the shelves.

Library Services

Library services include:

-- reference and circulation of materials to the judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal
-- indexing and abstracting of the judgments of the Supreme Court
-- updating of legislation
-- current awareness services to judges
-- legal research
-- photocopying services
-- providing material to judges for court matters, at the request of attorneys-at-law

Contact Information

Supreme Court Law Library
Sir Albert Staine Building
1 Treasury Lane
Belize Cit Belize

Tel: 501-2-75426
Fax: 501-2-70085

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