Opportunities and challenges to free access to law in a changing world: a case of Zimbabwe Legal Information Institute (ZimLII)

Josiline Phiri

Abstract


The wave of free access to law movement hit Zimbabwe leading to the establishment of the Zimbabwe Legal Information Institute (ZimLII). This was started with the help of African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII) which sourced funds to kick start the project and then held training workshops to equip the people who will be working with the administrator. There is a steering committee which comprises of academics, lawyers, publishers, information technologists and librarians from various organisations. This board is chaired by the Director of Legal Resources Foundation. This led to the creation of a website and content has been uploaded to populate the site. The website is up and running and an administrator was employed to oversee the day to day running of the website and its maintenance. This paper is an account of the opportunities and challenges that has been faced by the institute. The major challenge was the issue of sustainability in terms of non availability of funds to continuously support the project. The ZimLII project can be regarded as one of the successful initiative towards the availability of legal information to the general public since there are plans to make it a one stop shop for those looking for such information.


Keywords


Zimbabwe Legal Information Institute, ZimLII, Free access to law - Zimbabwe

References


Minutes of the ad hoc meeting to discuss findings from a visit to High Court Bulawayo to collect unreported judgements held at UZ Women’s Law computer lab on 26 October 2006.

FALM (2004), Montreal Declaration on free access to law. Available at: http://www.canlii.ca/en/info/mtldeclaration.html.

Poulin, D. (2004), Open access to law in developing countries, First Monday, Vol. 9, No. 12. Available at:

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1193/1113

Skype interview with Thembani Malapela, a former ZimLII steering committee member on 02 July 2013.

University of Tasmania (2005), Project Evaluation Toolkit. Available at: http://www.utas.edu.au/pet/index.html.

ZimLII (2013), ZimLII pamphlet. Available at www.zimlii.org.


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