whatarightmess.gov.uk

Supreme Court emblem via justice.gov.ukA footnote, of sorts, to yesterday’s post on how to find up-to-date legislation in the UK, is how we can find the (soon-to-be) highest court! Of course, I’m talking about the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which will take over the judicial functions of the House of Lords (and some of the work of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council) as of this October. I was greatly amused by this story on the twin dilemnas of ‘which address’ and ‘which web address’. The Supreme Court has many things to take care of before opening its doors (such as how much to charge), and its launch is of great interest to me and many others, but this point, while utterly trivial, is fun.

Setting aside the postal problem for a moment (though do feel free to comment on that – perhaps they should have a word with Liam Lawlor), I’m quite puzzled at why some wise soul has decided that:

http://www.supremecourt.gsi.gov.uk

is the best web address. If total flexibility was on offer, then I think either http://www.supremecourt.uk or http://www.supremecourt.courts.uk would be sensible. However, while such would be a neat recognition of the separation of powers (e.g. parliament.gov.uk would certainly cause some upset to defenders of Parliament’s role!), such lofty legal concepts are not at the top of the list of priorities of those who manage the .uk domain space (Nominet), and – while there’s a long-standing exception for registrations like parliament.uk – the general policy is that a new site must go into one of the established second-level systems like co.uk or gov.uk. That being said, if .gov.uk is required, it seems the height of foolishness to add the further detail of .gsi.gov.uk. I appreciate that in the world of Google, domain name recognition is not the only way to a site, but I see little or no advantage to the GSI approach and clear disadvantages, in that the name will not be ‘deduced’ easily or indeed remembered by those with bare familiarity with it. Hopefully sense will prevail. The newly-relaunched website of the Queen is at royal.gov.uk. Presumably one has no truck with civil servants pushing the GSI gospel….

Covered by the Telegraph here (with a much older article also here) and highlighted by LawPundit and Charon QC. I think the story might be a bit out of date, though, as gsi.gov.uk is no longer in use, and the 2007 guidelines for .gov.uk websites does not seem to require it, and judiciary.gov.uk works quite well, and there don’t appear to be any gsi.gov.uk websites any more (there are some email addresses) – though as the original story was in 2005, it may have been true at the time, and the recent update just pulled it from the archive. It would be truly bizarre if an effectively retired policy was brought back into action for this website only.

I don’t know what stage this important debate is at, then, but the Ministry of Justice’s website on preparations for the Court is indeed live, and can be accessed right here.

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One single comment

  1. James says:

    Further, GSI seems to stand for “Government Secure Intranet” which unless they intend http://www.supremecourt.gsi.gov.uk to be an application endpoint makes even less sense.

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