Digital Law Library

Lead PI: Oliver Goodenough

A Digital Means to Improve Access to Law in Developing Nations

Computer lab in Dakar, Senegal
CC BY-NC 2.0, Aluka Digital Lab

A frequently noted impediment to using the law to support the activities of entrepreneurial business in the developing world is a lack of good access to authoritative versions of laws, regulations and other legal resources. In collaboration with partners in Senegal, Law Lab has developed an initial prototype for a Digital Law Library wiki, a project focused on digitizing and facilitating access to documentation and analysis of Senegalese law.

Working in close collaboration with CREDILA, Universite Cheikh Anta Dioin in Dakar and Vermont Law School, the Law Lab focused this pilot program on cataloging and analyzing Senegalese and other West African law online in a searchable and easily accessible format. The wiki is a free one-stop shop for legal information and analysis for Senegal and takes advantage of the growing digital literacy of new generations of Senegalese and availability of mobile Internet access.

In partnership with local lawyers, professors, researchers, and students, the initial stage of the project seeks to improve online access to the laws and other materials for a variety of actors, including government representatives, NGOs, scholars, and citizens.

The Law Lab has supported CREDILA in establishing this access-controlled curated wiki, with a particular emphasis on Senegalese commercial and business related laws. It covers lawmaking in all three branches of Senegal, in addition to the law of international bodies, such as treaties, as well as that of regional organizations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. The Digital Law Library Wiki also includes links to relevant websites containing Senegalese law, like those of government ministries, and original material not available online elsewhere (like the scholarly review published by CREDILA annually).

By inviting users to contribute and discuss the law, anyone can engage in interpreting the law and can share comments, resources, and ideas, making the wiki both an effective research and dynamic learning tool.

This project was funded by the generous support of the Kauffman Foundation.

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