AfricanLII liberates public legal information in Africa.
AfricanLII is a programme of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town.
They help individuals, organizations, and governments build and maintain sustainable free access to law portals, and reach the people of Africa and beyond.
They convene a network of 16 African LIIs - a collaborative group of organizations and individuals in Africa, dedicated to free access to law on our continent.
Free Access to Law, or LII, websites are indispensable sources of legal information for the justice sector and citizens of the countries LIIs serve.
To access the Legal Citator, click on the following link: https://citator.africanlii.org/
A Citator is a tool which allows you to track the history of your case and the treatment of your case by subsequent courts. Citators allow you to determine if your case is still good law and it acts as a research tool allowing you to find other cases (and other secondary materials) which cited your case. Read more about this invaluable legal research tool at UWash.
The Citator application automatically extracts references to other cases from the body of a judgment. It does this by looking for patterns in the text that look like a case reference. The AfricanLII citator looks up references to case names, case numbers and case citations, thus being able to overcome the difficulties presented by the sporadic and unreliable law reporting practices of many African countries. We are then able to match up these extracted citations with cases in our database, and external URLs were available to us, to provide links to cases referred to and noter uppers.
LIIs have accumulated large collections of judgments, which are often presented in non-edited form. Users have asked us time and again to provide short summaries and assist them to determine whether or not a precedent is applicable to their matter.
The Summarizer application automatically summarizes judgments to allow users to quickly determine whether or not a case is of interest to them when searching.
The summarizer application works by extracting key phrases from the document and also using Artificial Intelligence to look for sentences in the judgment that cover the key topics in the judgment.
Classifying documents into a taxonomy can make the search easier by:
This page describes in detail how to use the Citator to find the case-relationships that you are looking for. If you would like a quick how-to, we recommend first watching the video.
First, you should decide whether you are looking for a paticular case that you know the name or citation for, or whether you are looking for case law on a particular topic.
Next, you may optionally add filtering by year and/or by jurisdiction.
Next, click on "Search"
You will now be on the results page. At the top of the results page, you will see the same search bar and filters as before. If you would like to perform a new search, you can do so from here, without having to navigate back to the home page.
Below the search bar and filters, you will see your case results. Note that you can scroll down through these results by hovering over the results and using the mouse wheel.
The top of each result box will contain the following information:
Below the metadata, you will see an automatically generated flynote. The flynote consists of two components:
Below the flynote, you may see a button reading "Show citations". This will appear if our citator has found references to other cases inside the judgment (cases referred to), or if the citator has found a reference to this judgment in another decision (referred to in). This is a beta release of the citator algorithm. Over time, it will be able to more accurately identify all citations in a judgment. Click on "show citations" to view that cases referred to and referred to in.
Two buttons appear next to "show citations":
Click on "view on graph". You will see a graph appear in the window to the right of the case results. This graph represents our case, which has a circle around it, and the cases that are related to our case. The arrows point from the earlier judgment to the later one that cited it. Put differently, they show the direction of movement of the precedent. The size of the circles represents how influential that decision has been. Click on a circle to see which case it represents. You can also re-center the whole graph on this case by clicking "view on graph" after selecting a decision on the graph.
We can further increase the depth of the graph to show more distantly related judgments. Finally, we can highlight the cases on the graph, so that cases that were heard in the same court are shown in the same colour.
The Human Rights Law Index is a collection of international treaties and case law from African courts on topics relating to human rights. The case selection aims to provide a snapshot of human rights law in a country, as well as within the African Union. The index currently covers over 1000 documents.
The Commercial Case Law Index is a collection of judgments from African countries on topics relating to commercial legal practice. The collection aims to provide a snapshot of commercial legal practice in a country, rather than present solely traditionally "reportable" cases. The index currently covers 400 judgments from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
Get started on finding judgments that are relevant to you by clicking on the following link: https://africanlii.org/commercial
The Environmental Case Law Index is a collection of judgments from 10 African countries on topics relating to environmental law, both substantive and procedural. The collection focuses on cases where an environmental interest interacts with governmental or private interests.
Get started on finding judgments that are relevant to you by clicking on the following link: https://africanlii.org/environmental
The Laws of South Africa is a project by the University of Pretoria to make available the South African Consolidated Legislation, including historical versions of Acts.
Access them via the following link: http://www.lawsofsouthafrica.up.ac.za/
The Southern African Legal Information Institute is the greatest resource of South African cases and legislation. Their coverage ranges from tribunal decisions to Constitutional Court cases. They also have a large range of legislation and a few journals as well.
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