by Melody Kozah

The Open Law–Africa Workshop will take place over 12-13 October 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop is the first of a series of a number of regional workshops to be held in Africa, with the next ones organized in Ghana and South Africa. The Nairobi workshop, co-hosted by African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII), Kenya Law and Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII), will provide a platform to discuss opportunities for collaborations that create sustainable free access to law in East Africa.

Free access to law is already well-established in East Africa, with Kenya Law, the Uganda Legal Information Institute, the Seychelles Legal Information Institute and Abyssinia Law serving their countries' laws for years.


Why an Open Law– Africa Workshop Now?

Africa is marked with critical gaps in legal information availability: its collection; processing; preservation and dissemination. This has a negative impact on the continent's development, given the role that the availability of the law has in stimulating investment and strengthening democracy and the rule of law.

It is important to ensure that African citizens gain the necessary leverage from having the ability to freely access the laws that govern them, know their legal rights, understand the limits of public power and enforce accountability.

The justice sector of countries such as South Sudan, Somaliland, Rwanda and Tanzania has expressed interest in making their legal systems more accessible and transparent. The Open Law – Africa workshop is the platform to discuss their participation and how they can benefit from the regional open law community.


Participants of the Workshop

The workshop will bring together African legal information institutes, lawyers, judges, government representatives, developmental partners, publishers of legal material, and open source technology providers. It will be officially opened by the Kenyan Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Professor Githu Muigai.

The keynote address will be delivered by the Chief Justice of Kenya, Dr Willy Mutunga. Other participants include: A/Professor Richard Calland, of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town, and the Director of the DGRU, the Chief Justice of Somaliland, Mr. Aden Haji Ali Ahmed and  Ugandan Court of Appeal  Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire.


Areas of Discussion

Centred on the theme “Partnering to Sustain Free Digital Access to Law in Africa”, there are several topics to be discussed, including:

  • The Interrelationship between Free Access to Law, Democracy, the Rule of Law and Economic Development in East Africa;
  • The Sustainability of Free Access to Law Services from a State and NGO Perspective;
  • Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities for East African LIIs; and
  • Facilitating Economic Development and Regional Integration in East Africa through Free Access to Law.


Outcome and Way Forward

The workshop aims to promote better understanding of the role of free access to law in ensuring regional economic growth, strengthening good governance, and promoting democratic principles and human rights. The participants will identify how best to contribute to ensuring a flourishing free access to law in East Africa as well as identify and conclude partnerships for that.


For more information:

Oluwatoyin  Badejogbin, Policy and Advocacy Lead,  Democratic Governance and Rights Unit



Mariya Badeva-Bright, AfricanLII Project Director



Click here to find out more about the Open Law-Africa Workshops.

Kindly note that the workshop is strictly by invitation.


You can also follow live updates from the workshop on AfricanLII’s Twitter feed and Facebook Page. The hashtag for the workshop is: #openlawafrica