Imagine trying to play football, but not knowing the rules. It’s ridiculous and hard to imagine such a scenario could ever really happen. Yet in many countries, access to legislation and court rulings (the state’s equivalent of the football rule book) is restricted. In recent times, African Legal Information Institutes have been working to remedy this situation, by creating an umbrella network of legal information institutes that promote greater access to legislation and legal rulings across Africa. Having supported their work for a few years now, we are thrilled to announce a three-year, £90,000 grant to them.
Africa LII exists to provide the following services:
- Host LII websites, develop and support open source legal information hosting software, which makes it easy for anyone to set up and operate a LII. Today, 15, out of the 16 African countries in the umbrella operate on and are hosted on the AfricanLII platform and server.
- Help new LIIs, governments and regional bodies with training and advice on contextualising global standards for the publication of legal and policy information in Africa.
- Develop innovative ways of distributing public legal information in Africa, such as Pocket Law, which is a LII website contained on a USB stick, searchable and browsable offline, with updates capabilities once the user is in coverage.
- Implement global technical standards for legal data, converting African legislation into a future-proof, open format, AkomaNtoso XML.
- Advocate for and promote the liberation of the law of African countries through engagement with various stakeholders in government, the legal profession, NGOs, etc. to entrench a policy, practice and institutional environment conducive to long-term accessibility of the law.
Our £90,000 grant to African LII will be used to cover salary and web hosting costs that will enable African LII to continue liberating more legal content, promoting its use and becoming a resilient, sustainable organisation.