UPDATE: Sources of Online Legal Information for African Countries

 

By Jane Williams

 

Jane Williams is Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian at Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Memorial Law Library. She holds a JD & MSLS from the Wayne State University (Detroit).

 

Published April/May 2015

(Previous update on May/June 2011)

See the Archive Version!

 

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Secondary Sources

2.1 News Sources

2.2 Indexes and Catalogs

3. Primary Sources

    3.1 Subscription Database

3.2 Regional Collections

3.3 Subject Collections

3.4 Resources by Country

4. Regional Organizations

1. Introduction

The purpose of this article is to identify online resources for locating the legal materials of African states.  It will first identify meta-sites useful for both background information and links to legal information.  The next part will identify secondary sources, which can help locate sources and issues.  The third section will list primary sources grouped by region, topic, and country.  The final part will list the web sites of some African regional organizations.

 

Africa has about fifty-four states plus six dependent territories.  The post-colonial period, through much of the continent, has been characterized by political instability, civil strife, war, economic underdevelopment, and weak legal systems.  Thus, only a few African countries have a strong history of publishing and disseminating legal materials.  A useful source for determining what legislative materials are published for each jurisdiction is the Reynolds and Flores [ [1] ] treatise. It is also available as an online subscription

 

In the past decade, there has been a trend in some countries toward better governance and transparency.  Increasing numbers of governments have web sites and/or parliamentary sites, some of which provide news, government reports, and other documents. Meta sites, which include links to governments’ web sites, country information, and legal information, include the following:

 

2. Secondary Sources

Given that there are a limited number of comprehensive databases or internet sites for the legal materials of African countries, and that few law libraries have complete collections, secondary materials are important for identifying issues, recent developments, and documents.  These include news sources, indexes and library and institute catalogues, journals, and papers. 

2.1 News Sources

2.2 Indexes and Catalogues

3. Primary Sources

One can find online legal materials for African countries in fee-based databases, within subject or regional collections, and on various country specific sites.  Few of the internet sites are comprehensive and it can sometimes be difficult to determine the currency of the information. 

 

3.1 Subscription Database

·        Vlex   has legislation collections for about half the African states, most of which are not current.

3.2 Regional Collections

3.3 Subject Collections

 

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources:

 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations provides three databases:

 

Business Law:

 

 

Competition Law:

 

 

Constitutions and Constitutional law:

 

·        Codices : Infobase on Constitutional Case Law from the Council of Europe Venice Commission publishes case law from constitutional courts and their jurisdictional equivalent .

 

Copyright, Patents, and Trademarks:

 

 

Criminal Law:

 

 

Drugs:

 

 

Health Law:

 

 

Human Rights:

 

 

Humanitarian Law:

 

 

 

Labor Law:

 

 

Land Law:

 

 

Non-Profit Law:

 

 

Occupational Safety and Health:

 

 

Refugees:

 

 

Tax and Commercial Law:

 

3.4 Resources by Country

 

Algeria:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Angola:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Benin:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Botswana:

 

Collections:

 

Research Guide:

 

Burkina Faso:

 

Law and Legislation

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Burundi:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Cameroon:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Central African Republic:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

 

Chad:

 

Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Congo (Democratic Republic)

 

Collections:

 

Research Guide

 

Congo (Republic):

 

Legislation:

 

Djibouti:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

 

Egypt:

 

Law and legislation:

 

Research Guide

 

Equatorial Guinea:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Gabon:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide

 

Gambia:

 

Collections

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Ghana:

 

Subscription database:

 

Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Research Guide:

 

Guinea:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Ivory Coast:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Kenya:

 

Databases:

 

Subscription Database:

 

Research Guide:

 

Lesotho:

 

Database:

 

Research Guide:

 

Liberia:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Other:

 

Madagascar:

 

Law and Legislation:

                                    

Jurisprudence:

 

Malawi:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Mali:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Research Guide:

 

Mauritania:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Mauritius:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Morocco:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Mozambique:

 

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

 

Namibia:

 

Subscription database:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Niger:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Nigeria:

 

Collection:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Rwanda:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Special Tribunal:

 

Research Guide:

 

São Tomé and Príncipe:

 

Legislation:

 

Senegal:

 

Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Seychelles:

 

Collections:

 

Legislation:

 

Sierra Leone:

 

Collections:

 

Legislation:

 

Special Tribunal:

 

Research Guide:

 

South Africa:

 

Subscription databases:

 

Collections:

(1995-), the Supreme  Court of Appeal (1984-) , the Labour Appeal Court (1997-), Labour Court (1997-),  Land Claims Court (1996-), the Competition Tribunal (1999-), Competition Appeal Court (2000-), Electoral Court (2001-2009), and the provincial courts.

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

In addition to the SAFLII database, the following courts provide decisions on their web sites:

 

Research guide:

 

South Sudan:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Swaziland:

 

Collections:

 

Legislation:

 

Research Guide:

 

Tanzania:

 

Subscription databases:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Jurisprudence:

 

Research Guide:

 

Togo:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation

 

Tunisia:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide

 

Uganda:

 

Subscription database:

 

Collection:

 

Research Guide:

 

Zambia

 

Subscription database:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Zimbabwe:

 

Subscription database:

 

Collections:

 

Law and Legislation:

 

Research Guide

4. Web Sites of Regional Organizations

 



[ [1] ] Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores, Foreign Law Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World (Buffalo, N.Y.: Wm. S. Hein & Co., 1989-)