Open Access Legal Publishing in Africa Training

The African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII), South Africa, and the National Council for Law Reporting (NCLR), Kenya have embarked on a project to formalize both organizations’ training programmes and work practices.  The first training event takes place in Johannesburg from 30 July 2012 to 2 August 2012 as part of the collaborative efforts, including also the Uganda Legal Information Institute, the Zambia Legal Information Institute and the Zimbabwe Legal Information Institute, to finalize training videos and manuals.

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Law reporting at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights: Aspirations and Challenges (Part I)

In this first of a two-part blog, legal scholar Yuzuki Nagakoshi reflects on recent training at the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. Offered jointly by the African Legal Information Institute, the Judicial Institute for Africa, based at the University of Cape Town, and by Kenya Law, the course was intended to provide a comprehensive theoretical and practical training in traditional and digital law reporting.

When we think about courts, our imagination often ends when the decision is delivered.

A less public but nevertheless important aspect of courts’ work is the subsequent reporting of decisions after they have been delivered. The resulting law reports are collections of decisions from a specific court or jurisdiction, edited and organised to facilitate the understanding and dissemination of its jurisprudence and to be the official record.

AfricanLII and Kenya Law

Presentations on Participant LIIs Organizational Practices


During Day 1 we will focus our presentations and discussions around organizational models, practices and sustainability ideas for African open access legal publishers. Kenya Law Reports will provide the participants with a thorough presentation on the National Council for Law Reporting model as one of the biggest successes for free access to law in Africa. AfricanLII will provide an overview of the successful, and less so, models of LIIs emerging across Africa and across the world. 

Workshop Agenda

Kenya Law Reports and AfricanLII will present a comprehensive programme spanning organizational, content, and technical aspects of running an open access legal publisher in Africa. A special train-the-trainer session is planned for the last day of the workshop.

The workshop will take the form of presentations by KLR and AfricanLII staff, short guided presentations by participants, and practical exercises. 

Most of the material distributed during the workshop will be made available through this group. 

The agenda for the workshop is available below.



Kerry Anderson on Technology for Law Publishing


Kerry Anderson spoke about technology solutions to facilitate publication of the law. She touched on the, mostly paper based at the source, workflows, the functional requirements for the websites, as well as the actual implementations supported by AfricanLII. 

Kerry also introduced two innovative projects - the Freedom Toaster and the Annotator for Law - that AfricanLII piloted recently. Both are designed to respond to our African context.

Mariya Badeva-Bright on Legal Research on an LII


My presentation in the legal research session of the workshop focused on, very underused (perhaps very hated too), ful ltext search. Over the years, I have often had to respond to critiques about the utility of LII websites that do not editorialize content. I have come to the conclusion that those are partially fuelled by insufficient knowledge of advanced search techniques. So, after a short presentation on boolean operators and constructing search queries, I demonstrated how easy it is to locate up to date and relevant material on ULII without the aide of an Index. 

Joseph Ssinabulya Talks ICTs at the Uganda Judiciary


Understanding the ICT environment at the source of the material is important for a LII to succeed. LIIs can take advantage of the computerization and digitization programmes at institutions producing legal information. In a rare presentation at an open access workshop, Joseph Ssinabulya walked us through the organizational and technical set up at the uganda Judiciary. This allowed a discussion on the possible avenues for collaboration and joint projects.