4 J. Open Access L. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/jopacc4 and id is 1 raw text is: 













The   Legal   Information Needs of Civil Society in Zambia

Marc  Masson*, Ovais Tahir.
* Cornell University, ILR School
Cornell  University, College of Human Ecology

Abstract. For a government to ensure access to justice, it is imperative that it first ensure
open  access to legal information. This research seeks to assess the legal information
needs of 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 access
to 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.

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

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