Democracy Through Access to Legal Information for Newly Democratizing Nations: The Kenyan Perspective and Lessons from the American Experience

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2005



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The rule of law is essential for a country's development process, providing one of the ingredients for stability in newly democratizing countries that eventually promotes strong judicial systems. Likely factors contributing to weaknesses in the judicial systems include the absence of functional legal information systems, especially the availability of judicial decisions, as well as the inability of the populace generally to access legal material and legal information. Taking Kenya as an example and using the US judicial process as a foil, this paper examines the proposition that the availability of judicial decisions in case reporters enhances democracy by increasing judicial transparency and contributing to some predictability in the law, thus enhancing the rule of law. The paper also emphasizes the crucial role that information technology and the Internet could have in advancing access to legal information. (c) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Government Information Quarterly, v. 22, no. 1, 108-121.