The Legal Information Needs of Civil Society in Zambia


  • Marc Julien Masson Cornell University
  • Ovais Tahir Cornell University


Law, Legal Information, Unions, Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Inequality, Lawyers, Legal Practitioners, Access to Justice, Legal Information Institute, Zambia, Development, Paralegals, Capacity Building


This research seeks to assess the legal information needs of a variety of actors within Zambian civil society. We first determined the major ways in which civil society actors in Zambia, specifically civil society organisations, labour unions, and legal practitioners, access legal information. Secondly, we surveyed the limitations and barriers associated with these paths to accessing legal information. We found that the provision of openly accessible legal information relies on two factors: the ease of accessing legal information and the capacity of civil society to interpret and understand it. Major limitations to accessing and using publicly available legal information were found to be bureaucracy, financial costs, lack of legal knowledge, and the lack of computerisation and internet access. Major factors influencing the ability of civil society organizations to effectively use legal information were donor funding and capacity building services, as well as the use of paralegals.


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Open government data and its applications