Montreal-based legal informatics group LexUM, in collaboration with the Southern African Legal Information Institute and the Centre for Internet and Society, recently released a preliminary project report called Free Access to Law—Is it here to Stay? An Environmental Scan Report. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa:
The overall goal of this research is to respond to a need to study what free access to law initiatives do and how they do it. This will lead to an understanding of the effects FAL [free access to law] initiatives have on society and to an exploration of the factors determining their sustainability. The general hypothesis is that success leads to sustainability. That is, if the free access to law initiative is successful, it will have greater chances of securing funds and ensuring sustainability.
This report looks at the situation for the free open distribution of legal information in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda), Asia (Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philippines) and Canada.
The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from different countries and continents are the most well-known examples of FAL initiatives and together form the Free Access to Law Movement. The goal of the LIIs is to maximize free access to public legal information such as legislation and case law from as many countries and international institutions as possible. CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, is a prominent member of the movement.