Legal Reference Service Policy
Please visit the PPLD Law Collection for more information.
Library staff may assist patrons to locate legal materials and may show patrons how to use the legal books and databases. However, according to Colorado State Statutes, only attorneys licensed to practice by the Colorado Supreme Court may interpret the law (statutes, regulations, or cases) or offer opinions as to how someone’s specific legal problem should be handled. Library staff may not interpret the law or offer opinions about a patron’s legal problem. To do so would constitute the unauthorized practice of law and could subject the staff member and the Pikes Peak Library District to prosecution.
Library staff may offer the following services:
- Demonstrate how to effectively use the legal books and databases by explaining how to use the indices and tables of contents.
- Help to find the broad definition of legal words and phrases.
- Perform an online search when the patron is present and has a specific citation.
- Suggest search terms when using indices, tables of content or other finding tools.
- Teach legal research techniques such as the use of digests, codes, statutes and Shepard’s Citations.
- Locate biographical information about attorneys and judges.
- Refer patrons to Nolo Press, Bradford or similar publications or databases to show the patron sample forms in the resources that deal with the patron’s legal questions. The patron will to decide whether or not to use the forms.
Library staff may not:
- Answer questions relating to legal matters over the telephone or e-mail. Patrons may come to Penrose Library for assistance.
- Provide information to patrons via the postal mail or faxing.
- Select, draft or complete legal documents or agreements such as wills, contracts, court pleadings, etc.
- Recommend a specific legal form or explain how to fill in the form.
- Give advice or counsel to patrons as to their legal rights or responsibilities.
- Interpret a legal document from a court or an attorney.
- Make specific recommendations as to which statutes, regulations or cases will answer the patron’s legal questions.
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