Shout-Out to Soulette

Slaw readers may not have caught up yet to an interesting piece by a young Ottawa lawyer, Soulette Gray, reprinted in the Jamaica Gleaner.

Her final recommendation is for a Jamaican Legal Information Institute:

Recommendation # 5

I recommend the creation of the “Jamaica Legal Information Institute” as an agency of the Ministry of Justice. The Jamaica Legal Information Institute would be the organization that is responsible for: developing and maintaining the Institute’s website as well as the development and maintenance of the general Courts of Jamaica website; setting up the community legal information internet portals to be located at public libraries and within post offices across the island; and managing the technological infrastructure and delivery channel for the free legal information portal. A technical, editorial and managerial team would be required to run the Institute. The institute’s computer laboratory could be located on the campus of the University of Technology of Jamaica since they have a School of Computing & Information Technology at that university. The employees of the Institute that work in the laboratory on the University of Technology campus would be paid out of the Law Foundation of Jamaica funds. The managerial team of the Institute could be lawyers at the Ministry of Justice. Law
students from the Norman Manley Law School could be hired to work on a part-time basis with the Institute as legal editors. Alternatively, law students from the Norman Manley Law School could work with the Institute for a semester as a kind of legal clinic program whereby they could obtain course credits instead of financial payment. This would lower the cost of running the program while still getting the legal documents edited.

A similar program providing a free legal information website is in operation in Canada. It is called The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). For more information about the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) you can visit their website. To obtain information about the team that manages the
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website and the scope of the work that they do, you can visit
the Lexum website and view the two letters attached as appendices to this submission.

Funding Options for Recommendation # 5

This program would be funded by the Law Foundation of Jamaica as explained in recommendation number
four above.

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Comments

  1. Michael Lines

    An excellent suggestion. One of the major jobs would be locating and scanning Jamaican case law. I understand the state of records keeping in the Jamaican court system is… varied, so the task may have its own natural limits. This is a job for a team: networking, programming, records management, and information design.