Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-jb2ch Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-24T06:27:26.438Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Right of Public Access to Legal Information: A Proposal for its Universal Recognition as a Human Right

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019

Abstract

Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

This Article examines the desirability of the universal recognition of the right of public access to legal information as a human right and therefore as part of a legal framework for improving national and global access to legal information. It discusses the right of public access to legal information as a legal right and the importance of its international human rights framework. The Article argues that every person has the right of public access to legal information, which casts a legal and moral duty on every government and every intergovernmental organization (IGO) with judicial and legislative functions to provide adequate and free access to its laws and law-related publications. It argues further that every government can afford the provision of adequate public access to its legal information and that the lack of political will to do so is the preeminent factor responsible for inadequate—and in some cases extremely poor—public access. Additionally, this Article advocates the universal recognition of the right of public access to legal information as a human right and makes a proposal for a UN Convention on the Right of Public Access to Legal Information. It provides the essential contents of the proposed UN Convention which incorporate The Hague Conference Guiding Principles to be Considered in Developing a Future Instrument. These contents provide valuable input for urgent interim national and regional laws and policies on public access to legal information, pending the Convention's entry into force. The proposed UN Convention will significantly enhance global access to official legal information that will promote widespread knowledge of the law. It will also facilitate national and transnational legal research and remedy the chronic injustice from liability under inaccessible laws under the doctrine of “ignorance of the law is no excuse”—which is similar to liability under ex post facto and nonexistent laws—and promote the proposed doctrine of “ignorance of inaccessible law is an excuse.”

Type
International Jurisprudence
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by German Law Journal, Inc. 

References

1 See discussions infra Section D.II.5 (discussing the remedy for the injustice from the ignorantia juris doctrine); Section D.II.6 (discussing the numerous benefits from adequate public access to legal information); Section D.II.8 (discussing the global promotion of the rule of law).Google Scholar

2 The Latin maxim is ignorantia juris non excusat (“ignorance of the law is no excuse”) or ignorantia juris neminem excusat (“ignorance of the law excuses no one”).Google Scholar

3 Rex v. Bailey (1800) 168 Eng. Rep. 651 (Eng.) (holding that a sailor at sea who had no way of knowing of a new law was guilty under it).Google Scholar

4 United States v. Casson, 434 F.2d 415 (D.C. Cir. 1970) (holding that an amending legislation enacted just about six hours before the accused person committed a federal crime was applicable to him, even though it was obvious that people could not have known of the existence of the law and its contents within such a short period).Google Scholar

5 Jeremy Bentham & John Bowring, The Works of Jeremy Bentham 547 (1843); see Griswold, Erwin N., Government in Ignorance of the Law—A Plea for Better Publication of Executive Legislation, 48 Harv. L. Rev. 198 (1934) (discussing inaccessibility of regulations in the light of Bentham's quote on the injustice in liability for contravening them).Google Scholar

6 Regina v. Chambers [2008] EWCA (Crim) 2467 [55]–[76] (UK), http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2008/2467.html (revealing that previous decisions of the England and Wales Court of Appeal over a period of seven years were based on a repealed regulation that neither the Court nor the lawyers that appeared before it knew of).Google Scholar

7 See Chambers Review: Review of Confiscation Orders in Tobacco Cases, The Crown Prosecution Serv., http://cps.gov.uk/publications/others/chambers_review.html (last visited July 6, 2017) [hereinafter Chambers Review].Google Scholar

8 See discussion infra Part B (arguing that a lack of political will hinders public access to legal information).Google Scholar

9 See id. Google Scholar

10 See discussion infra Part D.I (discussing the existing literature on the right of public access to legal information as a human right).Google Scholar

11 For example, persons with disabilities need alternate legal information formats. See discussion infra Section D.III.2.11 (discussing the alternate formats for equal access by persons with disabilities).Google Scholar

12 For an explanation of the elements in this definition, see discussion infra Part C (defining the “right of public access to legal information”).Google Scholar

13 See Am. Ass'n of Law Libr., State-By-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources: Executive Summary 2 (Mar. 2007), http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/authen_rprt/executivesummaryreport.pdf (“An authentic text is one whose content has been verified by a government entity to be complete and unaltered when compared to the version approved or published by the content originator”). Authentication of digital legal information is vital to its integrity. See The IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management 14 (Danner, Richard A. & Jules Winterton eds., 2016); see also infra Section D.III.2.3 (discussing integrity and authoritativeness of legal information). See generally Germain, Claire M., Worldwide Access to Foreign Law: International & National Developments Toward Digital Authentication 1–2 (University of Florida Levin College of Law Working Papers No. 1, 2012), http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=working.Google Scholar

14 See Am. Ass'n of Law Libr., supra note 13 (“An official version of regulatory materials, statutes, session laws, or court opinions is one that has been governmentally mandated or approved by statute or rule. It might be produced by the government, but does not have to be”).Google Scholar

15 Leesi Ebenezer Mitee, Public Access to Legislation and Its Inherent Human Rights: A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom and Nigeria (June 2006) (unpublished LLM dissertation, University of Huddersfield).Google Scholar

16 For example, LexUM provides affordable industry-standard products and services for the management and dissemination of legal information. See Our Company, LexUM, https://lexum.com/en/about-us (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

17 See Poulin, Daniel, Open Access to Law in Developing Countries, 9(12) First Monday (2004), http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1193/1113 (stating that “electronic distribution is the least expensive means of publishing” legal information and discussing its feasibility and the use of open source software); discussions infra Part B (arguing that lack of political will hinders public access to legal information); Section C.III (discussing the use of advanced technologies to enhance accessibility); Section D.III.2.1 (arguing that provision of free public access to legal information online is indispensable); see also Greenleaf, Graham, Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement, GlobaLex (2008), http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Legal_Information_Institutes.html (stating that the World Wide Web provides “a low cost distribution mechanism” for free online access to legal information).Google Scholar

18 See Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship of 2009 (Feb. 11, 2009), https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/durhamstatement#statement [hereinafter Durham Statement].Google Scholar

19 See id.; discussion infra Section C.III (discussing the use of advanced technologies to enhance accessibility).Google Scholar

20 See Perritt, Henry H., Jr. & Lhulier, Christopher J., Information Access Rights Based on International Human Rights Law, 45 Buff. L. Rev. 899, 900–01 (1997) (discussing the reluctance of some governments to provide electronic access to their legal information); Judith Bannister, Open Access to Legal Sources in Australasia: Current Debate on Crown Copyright and the Case of the Anthropomorphic Postbox, 3 JILT (1996), http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/1996_3/bannister (discussing the importance of “the will and cooperation of the institutions which produce the primary sources”); Marc Masson & Ovais Tahir, The Legal Information Needs of Civil Society in Zambia, 4 JOAL 18 (2016), https://ojs.law.cornell.edu/index.php/joal/article/view/45/61 (stating that the Zambian Government Printer officially responsible for publishing legal information explained that they could not publish its electronic version online because they lacked the statutory mandate to do so).Google Scholar

21 In 2014, Nigeria's US$568,508 million Gross Domestic Product was ranked twenty-second in the world and number one in Africa, followed by South Africa and Egypt. See Bank, The World, Gross domestic product 1 2014, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf.Google Scholar

22 For example, the website of Nigeria's federal legislature, the National Assembly, contains only principal legislation made between 1999 and the present and Bills of the same period, yet Nigerian federal legislation in force spans a long period of more than 100 years (1914–2016). See Fed. Republic of Nigeria Nat'l Assembly, http://www.nassnig.org/document/acts (last visited July 6, 2017). I had previously suggested that the reluctance of the Nigerian federal government to provide online access to its public information must have led to the late launch of its first website in 2005. See Mitee, supra note 15, at 102.Google Scholar

23 See Bayly, Vallery, Legal Information and Human Rights, McGill Univ. (July 31, 2015, 11:16 AM), http://blogs.mcgill.ca/humanrightsinterns/2015/07/31/legal-information-and-human-rights/.Google Scholar

24 For express statements that the UK legislation online database is neither comprehensive nor up-to-date, see Help: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Legislation.gov.uk, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/help#aboutRevDate (last visited July 6, 2017); The Nat'l Archives, Guide to Revised Legislation on Legislation.gov.uk 6–7 (Oct. 2013), http://www.legislation.gov.uk/pdfs/GuideToRevisedLegislation_Oct_2013.pdf.Google Scholar

25 TISL Encouraged by Enactment of RTI in Sri Lanka, Transparency Int‘l Sri Lanka (July 11, 2016), http://www.tisrilanka.org/tisl-encouraged-by-enactment-of-rti-in-sri-lanka/; 3.1 – Information management and Access Laws for the 21st Century, Open Gov‘t Partnership Australia (Oct. 10, 2017), https://ogpau.pmc.gov.au/commitment/31-information-management-and-access-laws-21st-century. See discussion infra Section C.I (discussing the existence of the right of public access to legal information under the general right of access to public or government-held information).Google Scholar

26 Carroll, Michael W., The Movement for Open Access Law, 10 LEWIS & CLARK L. REV. 741, 746 (2006) (discussing free access to legal information).Google Scholar

27 See Neil, Martha, Georgia Sues Carl Malamud Group, Calls Publishing State's Annotated Code of Laws Online Unlawful, ABAJournal.com (July 24, 2015, 2:10 PM), http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/State_of_Georgia_sues_Carl_Malamud_says_he_published_its_annotated_code_of; Michael Hiltzik, Georgia Claims that Publishing its State Laws for Free Online is “Terrorism,” L.A. Times (July 27, 2015, 12:31 PM), http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-state-of-georgia-copyright-wall-20150727-column.html.Google Scholar

28 See Tom McMahon, Improving Access to the Law in Canada with Digital Media, 16 Government Information in Canada (Mar. 1999), http://www.usask.ca/library/gic/16/mcmahon.html. Many governments monopolize the provision of access to legal information as a means of generating revenue. See Perritt, supra note 20, at 900–01.Google Scholar

29 See Grube, Nick, Many States Charge Insane Fees for Access to Public Records, Huffington Post (Oct. 17, 2013, 8:49 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/fees-for-public-records_n_4119049.html.Google Scholar

30 See How Much Does PACER Cost?, Pub. Access to Court Elec. Records, https://www.pacer.gov/ (last visited July 6, 2017). For a campaign against PACER's fee-charging policy, see Tashea, Jason, Carl Malamud's Crusade to Fix PACER, Technical.ly (Apr. 20, 2015, 11:14 AM), http://technical.ly/dc/2015/04/20/carl-malamud-pacer-dc-legal-hackers-meetup/.Google Scholar

32 See The EnAct System, Tasmanian Legis., http://www.thelaw.tas.gov.au/about/enact.w3p (last visited July 6, 2017); Timothy Arnold-Moore & Jane Clemes, Connected to the Law: Tasmanian Legislation Using EnAct, JILT (2000), https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2000_1/arnold/. Legal information websites “may start small and simple” and progress to use “sound technology” for enhanced accessibility. See Poulin, supra note 17.Google Scholar

33 See discussion infra Section D.II.8 (discussing global promotion of the rule of law).Google Scholar

34 See Santoso, Benny, “Just Business”—Is the Current Regulatory Framework an Adequate Solution to Human Rights Abuses by Transnational Corporations?, 18 German L.J. 533, 540–41 (2017) (“Enforcement, including compensation, builds on jurisprudence that includes enforceability in the definition of legal rights.”). For discussions of the concept of legal rights, see generally Raz, J., Legal Rights, 4 Legal, Oxford J. Stud. 1–21 (1984); Coleman, Jules L. & Jody Kraus, Rethinking the Theory of Legal Rights, 95 Yale L.J. 1335–72 (1986).Google Scholar

35 This term encompasses human beings who have attained the age of legal responsibility, and who have the capacity to read and understand the texts of the law, as well as corporate organizations.Google Scholar

36 “Laws and law-related publications” refers to primary legislation, secondary legislation, court decisions, international legal instruments, administrative memoranda, bills and other public documents directly related to the law-making function of the legislature (for example, debates and public hearings), reports on legal matters (for example, white papers and commissions of inquiry reports), and value-added publications that aid understanding and navigation of laws (for example, annotations, summaries, indexes, and digests). The oral or unwritten customary law of indigenous communities is inaccessible and unreliable. It should therefore be recorded in a written form in a manner—and through a process—that conforms to human rights and the specific rights of indigenous peoples. See discussion infra Section D.III.2.12 (discussing public access to the customary law of indigenous communities). For my discussion of my new concept of human rights-compliant public access to the customary law of indigenous communities, see Mitee, Leesi Ebenezer, Huricompatisation: The Concept of Human Rights-Compliant Public Access to the Customary Law of Indigenous Communities (forthcoming 2017).Google Scholar

37 “Legislative jurisdiction” refers to the geographical area under a particular legislature (national, state, or local).Google Scholar

38 See supra notes 26–27 and accompanying text discussing the assertion of copyright in official annotations in legislation in the United States.Google Scholar

39 See discussion infra Section D.III.2.11 (discussing alternate formats for equal access by persons with disabilities).Google Scholar

40 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Gov't from Barack Obama, the President of the U.S., to the Heads of Exec. Dep'ts and Agencies (Jan. 21, 2009), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment & https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-12.pdf.Google Scholar

41 ACHPR/Res.62(XXXII)02, art. IV, para. 1, Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (Oct. 23, 2002).Google Scholar

42 Free Access to Law Movement, Declaration on Free Access to Law of 2002, http://www.falm.info/declaration/ [hereinafter Montreal Declaration]; see also Greenleaf (2008), supra note 17 (discussing historical background to legal information institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement).Google Scholar

43 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 168.Google Scholar

44 Deaton v. Kidd, 932 S.W.2d 804, 806 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996).Google Scholar

45 See, e.g., Freedom of Information Act 2000, c. 36, §§ 21–44 (UK) (the numerous types of exempt information that cannot be accessed under the Act).Google Scholar

46 This Act is one of the four fundamental laws that comprise the Swedish Constitution. Tryckfrihetsförordningen [TF] [Constitution] 2:1 (Swed.) (Dec. 16, 2016), http://www.riksdagen.se/en/How-the-Riksdag-works/Democracy/The-Constitution/.Google Scholar

47 Sweden: International Focus, Univ. Coll. London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/foi/countries/sweden (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

48 Access to Information Laws: Overview and Statutory Goals, Right2Info (Jan. 20, 2012), http://www.right2info.org/access-to-information-laws.Google Scholar

49 Deaton, 932 S.W.2d. For the facts of this case, see infra text accompanying note 100.Google Scholar

50 See McMahon, supra note 28 (limitations with using FOIAs to access legal information).Google Scholar

51 For the meaning of reactive and proactive disclosures, see Address by the Interim Information Commissioner of Canada on Proactive Disclosure Before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, Office of the Info. Comm'r of Can. (Apr. 29, 2010), http://www.oic-ci.gc.ca/eng/pa-ap-appearance-comparution-2010_3.aspx.Google Scholar

52 See generally Darbishire, Helen, Proactive Transparency: The Future of the Right to Information? A Review of Standards, Challenges, and Opportunities, The World Bank (2011), http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTGOVACC/Resources/DarbishireProactiveTransparency.pdf; Publish Core Information about Government on a Proactive Basis, Open Gov't Guide, http://www.opengovguide.com/commitments/publish-core-information-about-government-on-a-proactive-basis/ (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

53 Memorandum on the Freedom of Info. Act from President Barack Obama to the Heads of Exec. Dep'ts and Agencies (Jan. 21, 2009), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/freedom-information-act.Google Scholar

54 See supra note 13 (discussing authentication). For the specific and technical aspects of an adequate public access to legal information program, see discussion infra Section D.III.2 (discussing contents of the proposed UN Convention).Google Scholar

55 The Code of Hammurabi (L. W. King trans. 2008), Yale L. Sch., http://avalon.law.yale.edu/ancient/hamframe.asp (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

56 Law Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, The Louvre Museum, http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/law-code-hammurabi-king-babylon (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

57 See discussion infra Section D.III.2.4 (discussing preservation of legal information).Google Scholar

58 G.A. Res. 53/144, UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Dec. 9, 1998) [hereinafter UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders].Google Scholar

59 Tanada v. Tuvera, G.R. No. L-63915, 136 SCRA 27 (Apr. 24, 1985) (Phil.). See infra notes 99 & 296 and accompanying text on the Court's requirement that laws must be published before they take effect.Google Scholar

60 See, e.g., Statutory Instruments Act, R.S.C. 1985, c S-22 s 11 (Can.); Statutory Instruments Act 1946, 9 & 10 Geo. 6 c. 36, § 3(2) (Eng.); Andrew Ashworth, Ignorance of the Criminal Law, and Duties to Avoid It, 74 Mod. L. Rev. 1, 2 (2011) (discussing some recognized exceptions to the doctrine of ignorance of the law is no excuse); Mitee, supra note 15, at 38–39.Google Scholar

61 See Statute L. Soc'y, Statute Law Society Working Party on Commencement of Acts of Parliament, 1(1) Statute L. Rev. 40, 51 (1980).Google Scholar

62 See Ingram, Jefferson L., Criminal Evidence § 6.13 (12th ed. 2015) (discussing the presumption of knowledge of the law). Iowa Code § 701.6 (2016) is an example of statutory provision that “[a]ll persons are presumed to know the law.”Google Scholar

63 See Blackpool Corporation v. Locker [1948] 1 KB 349, 361 (Eng.), in Bannister, supra note 20; Don Stuart, Canadian Criminal Law: A Treatise 295–98 (3d ed., 1995), in Corporation de l'École Polytechnique v. Canada, 2004 FCA 127, para. 37 (CanLII).Google Scholar

64 See Yu, Bin, Embracing Statistical Challenges in the Information Technology Age, 49 Technometrics 237, 237–38 (2007); Germain, Claire M., Legal Information Management in a Global and Digital Age: Revolution and Tradition 22–23 (Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-005, 2007), http://ssrn.com/abstract=983197 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.983197.Google Scholar

65 See Allen, Layman E., Festschrift: Lee Loevinger, 40 Jurimetrics 394, 394 (2000).Google Scholar

66 See Loevinger, Lee, Jurimetrics: The Next Step Forward, 33 Minn. L. Rev. 455 (1949).Google Scholar

67 See Or. Rev. Stat. § 173.763(2)(a) (2015).Google Scholar

68 See id. § 173.763(2).Google Scholar

69 See id. § 173.763(5).Google Scholar

70 UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, June 25, 1998, 2161 U.N.T.S. 447; 38 ILM 517 (1999) [hereinafter Aarhus Convention].Google Scholar

71 Accessibility: Assistive Technology, Fed. Reg. of Legis., https://www.legislation.gov.au/Content/Accessibility (last visited July 6, 2017); Listen to this Website with Browsealoud, Fed. Reg. of Legis., https://www.legislation.gov.au/content/browsealoud (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

72 See supra note 32 (sources cited discussing the EnAct System).Google Scholar

73 Born-digital information here refers to information that was created originally in electronic format, as opposed to information converted from its original print to an electronic format.Google Scholar

74 Durham Statement, supra note 18.Google Scholar

75 Jill Treanor, Atom Becomes UK's First Digital-Only Bank, The Guardian (Apr. 8, 2016, 6:11 PM), http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/apr/08/atom-first-uk-digital-only-bank.Google Scholar

76 The Independent Becomes the First National Newspaper to Embrace a Global, Digital-Only Future, The Independent (Feb. 12, 2016, 1:24 PM), http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/the-independent-becomes-the-first-national-newspaper-to-embrace-a-global-digital-only-future-a6869736.html.Google Scholar

77 Montreal Declaration, supra note 42.Google Scholar

78 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles to be Considered in Developing a Future Instrument (2008), an annexure to Access to Foreign Law in Civil and Commercial Matters: Conclusions and Recommendations, Eur. Comm'n, https://assets.hcch.net/upload/foreignlaw_concl_e.pdf (last visited July 6, 2017) [hereinafter The Hague Conference Guiding Principles]. The Principles were developed by the experts who met on Oct. 19–21, 2008 at The Hague Conference on Private International Law.Google Scholar

79 Law.Gov, Law.Gov Principles and Declaration of 2010, https://law.resource.org/index.law.gov.html [hereinafter Law.Gov Principles].Google Scholar

80 Council of Canadian Academic Law Library Directors, Calgary Statement on Free Access to Legal Info. of 2011, http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Calgary_Statement_2011–05-14.pdf [hereinafter Calgary Statement].Google Scholar

82 EUR-Lex, Joint Practical Guide for Persons Involved in the Drafting of European Union Legislation 74 (2015), http://eur-lex.europa.eu/content/techleg/KB0213228ENN.pdf.Google Scholar

83 Mohammad v. State, 1953 AIR 227, para. 19 (PB) (India) (holding that “[i]gnorance of law by a foreigner may be no legal defence but it is a matter to be taken into consideration in the matter of mitigation of punishment”); Regina v. Barronet (1852) 169 Eng. Rep. 633 (QB) (Eng.) (rejecting the defense that acting as seconds to their friend who died in the duel was lawful in their home country, France, and they were not aware that it was unlawful in Great Britain where they committed it); Regina v. Esop (1836) 173 Eng. Rep. 203 (Eng.) (rejecting the defense that buggery, anal sexual intercourse, was lawful in his home country, Iraq, and he did not know it was unlawful under English law where he committed it).Google Scholar

84 See Arnold, Timothy J.-Moore, Point-In-Time Publication of Legislation (XML and Legislation): Automating Consolidation of Amendments to Legislation in Common Law and Civil Jurisdictions, Paper presented at the 6th Law Via the Internet Conference, Paris, Nov. 3–5, 2004, http://www.frlii.org/IMG/pdf/2004_frlii_conference_tja.pdf (discussing the duty of the government to provide free access to legal information and the indispensability of online databases to achieving it); see also Timothy Arnold-Moore, XML and Legislation, CompLRes 29 (2003), http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/other/CompLRes/2003/29.html; McMahon, supra note 28; Mitee, supra note 15, at 70 (stating that “every government is under both legal and moral obligations to provide adequate access to the full-text of every legislation that is applicable in its jurisdiction”).Google Scholar

85 See Ingram, supra note 62.Google Scholar

86 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. Wisconsin Dept. of Admin., 768 N.W.2d 700, 712–13 (2009).Google Scholar

87 For the accounts on how West Publishing ownership right in the JURIS database caused huge problems to the U.S. Department of Justice when it pulled out of JURIS and removed its data, see Ford, Beth, Open Wide the Gates of Legal Access, 93 Or. L. Rev. 539, 546–49 (2014); Gary Wolf, Who Owns the Law?, Wired (May 1, 1994), http://www.wired.com/1994/05/thelaw/. Resources on Sri Lanka's official legal information website, see LawNet, http://www.lawnet.lk/ (last visited July 6, 2017), developed with funding from the World Bank, have been inaccessible since the outsourcing private company went out of business more than six years ago. See Greenleaf, Graham, Free Access to Legal Information, LIIs, and the Free Access to Law Movement, in IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management (Danner, Richard A. & Jules Winterton eds., 2011), http://ssrn.com/abstract=1960867.Google Scholar

88 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 95.Google Scholar

89 See Law Reporting, The Judiciary of Uganda, http://www.judiciary.go.ug/data/smenu/25/Law%20Reporting.html (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

90 See Judgments: Other Judgments, Parliament.uk, http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/judgments/ (last visited July 6, 2017). The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website (http://www.bailii.org/) contains vast resources on the UK legal information, including legislation and judgments. It is a nonprofit organization and a member of the Free Access to Law Movement (http://www.fatlm.org/).Google Scholar

91 See, e.g., Decided Cases, The Sup. Ct., https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/index.html (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

92 See supra note 13 (discussing the definition of authentic texts of legal information) & note 14 (discussing the definition of official texts of legal information).Google Scholar

93 Disclaimers of Liability, Brit. & Irish Legal Info. Inst., http://www.bailii.org/bailii/disclaimers.html (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

94 Graham Greenleaf, Andrew Mowbray & Philip Chung, The Meaning of “Free Access to Legal Information”: A Twenty Year Evolution, 1 JOAL (2013), https://ojs.law.cornell.edu/index.php/joal/article/view/11 (emphasis added).Google Scholar

95 Legal information institutes are members of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), an international nonprofit association that provides and supports free access to legal information from different countries. See The Free Access to Law Movement, http://www.fatlm.org/ (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

96 Arnold-Moore (2004), supra note 84 (discussing the duty of the government to provide free access to legal information and the indispensability of online databases to achieving it) (emphasis added); see also Arnold-Moore (2003), supra note 84; McMahon, supra note 28.Google Scholar

97 See Slapper, Gary & Kelly, David, The English Legal System: 2010–2011 134–39, 141–42 (11th ed. 2010) (Kindle edition).Google Scholar

98 House of Lords Practice Statement [1966] 3 All ER 77.Google Scholar

99 Tañada, supra note 59.Google Scholar

100 Deaton, 932 S.W.2d.Google Scholar

101 Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591 (1834).Google Scholar

102 Davidson v. Wheelock, 27 F. 61 (1886). See Ford, supra note 87, at 544–45.Google Scholar

103 See, e.g., Copyright Act (1988) Cap. (C28), § 4(1) (Nigeria) (“Copyright shall be conferred by this section on every work which is eligible for copyright and is made by or under the direction or control of the Government, a State authority or a prescribed International body.”).Google Scholar

104 See infra Section D.III.2.2 (stating that there should be no copyright in the texts of legal information and its official value-added features).Google Scholar

105 See discussion supra Section C.I (discussing the existence of the right of public access to legal information under the general right of access to public or government-held information).Google Scholar

106 Victoria Univ. of Wellington Students Ass'n v. Shearer (Gov. Printer) [1973] 2 NZLR 21, 23 (SC), in David Harvey, Public Access to Legislative Information and Judicial Decisions in New Zealand: Progress and Process, 4 UTSLawRw 105, 108 (2002).Google Scholar

107 Laurens Mommers, Access to Law in Europe, in Innovating Government (Information Technology and Law Series 20) 383, 395 (S. van der Hof & M. M. Groothuis eds., 2010).Google Scholar

108 See Jamar, Steven D., The Human Right of Access to Legal Information: Using Technology to Advance Transparency and the Rule of Law, 1 Global Jurist Topics No. 2 Art. 6 (Sept. 2001), http://ssrn.com/abstract=1148802 (emphasis added).Google Scholar

109 See Mitee, supra note 15.Google Scholar

110 See id. at 187 (emphasis added).Google Scholar

111 See id. at 175–76.Google Scholar

112 See Mommers, supra note 107, at 395.Google Scholar

113 See id. at 392.Google Scholar

114 See id. at 395.Google Scholar

115 Danner, Richard A., Open Access to Legal Scholarship: Dropping the Barriers to Discourse and Dialogue, 7 JICLT, 65, 6667 (2012). The other declarations are Budapest Open Access Initiative (Feb. 14, 2002), http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read; Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (Oct. 22, 2003), https://openaccess.mpg.de/Berlin-Declaration.Google Scholar

116 Danner, supra note 115, at 66 (emphasis added).Google Scholar

117 Yolanda Jones & Caroline Ilako, Dynamic Law Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation in Africa and the United States, IFLA (June 16, 2015), http://library.ifla.org/1120/1/114-jones-en.pdf.Google Scholar

118 Anne Hellum & Farhat Taj, Taking What Law Where and To Whom? Legal Literacy as Transcultural ‘Law-Making’ in Oslo, in From Transnational Relations to Transnational Laws: Northern European Laws at the Crossroads (Anne Hellum, Shaheen Sardar Ali, & Anne Griffiths eds. 2016).Google Scholar

119 See Jamar, supra note 108.Google Scholar

120 For opinions relating to how it may be derived or construed as a human right, see id. See also Mommers, supra note 107, at 392–97.Google Scholar

121 Some scholars hold the opinion that the UDHR is binding as customary international law. See generally Hannum, Hurst, The Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in National and International Law, 25 Ga. J. Int‘l & Comp. L. 287 (1995); Jochen von Bernstorff, The Changing Fortunes of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Genesis and Symbolic Dimensions of the Turn to Rights in International Law, 19 EJIL 903 (2008); What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?, Austl. Hum. Rts. Comm‘n, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/what-universal-declaration-human-rights (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

122 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 19, para. 2, Dec. 16, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171.Google Scholar

123 See, e.g., European Convention on Human Rights art. 10, Nov. 4, 1950, 213 U.N.T.S. 221; African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, art. 9; League of Arab States, Arab Charter on Human Rights, art. 32., May 22, 2004, reprinted in International Human Rights Reports 893 (2005) [hereinafter Arab Charter]. The Arab Charter expressly provides for the right of access to public information, in addition to freedom of Opinion and expression.Google Scholar

124 See, e.g., Bundesverfassung [BV] [Constitution] Apr. 18, 1999, SR 101, art. 16 (Switz.); Constitution of Malta (1964), art. 41; Constitution of Nigeria (1999), § 39.Google Scholar

125 See, e.g., Organization of American States, American Convention on Human Rights, art. 13(1), 22 Nov. 1969, O.A.S.T.S. No. 36, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123 [hereinafter ACHR].Google Scholar

126 See, e.g., Constitution of Nigeria (1999), § 39(1).Google Scholar

127 Claude-Reyes v. Chile, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, Judgment, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 151 (Sept. 19, 2006).Google Scholar

128 Matky v. Czech Republic, App. No. 19101/03 Eur. Ct. H.R. 1205 (July 10, 2006).Google Scholar

129 Org. of Am. States, Report of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression 1 (2009), http://www.oas.org/dil/access_to_information_IACHR_guidelines.pdf.Google Scholar

130 Frank La Rue (Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of opinion and Expression), Rep. of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, U.N. Doc. A/68/362, at 3 (Sept. 4, 2013).Google Scholar

131 Deaton, 932 S.W.2d.Google Scholar

132 HelpAge International, International Human Rights Law and Older People: Gaps, Fragments and Loopholes, UN Dep't of Econ. and Soc. Affairs (2012), http://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/documents/GapsinprotectionofolderpeoplesrightsAugust2012.pdf.Google Scholar

133 See, e.g., Jamar, supra note 108.Google Scholar

134 See Matky case, supra note 128 and the accompanying text.Google Scholar

135 See Glossary of Terms Relating to Treaty Actions, UN Treaty Collection, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/Overview.aspx?path=overview/glossary/page1_en.xml (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

136 Office of the UN High Comm'r for H.R., Frequently Asked Questions on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation 1 (2006), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FAQen.pdf.Google Scholar

137 Id. Google Scholar

138 Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Human Rights as a Basis for Justice in the European Union 11–13 (WZB Discussion Paper No. SP IV 2015-804, 2015), https://www.econstor.eu/dspace/bitstream/10419/121482/1/838036562.pdf. The quote is from the abstract to the article.Google Scholar

139 Id. Google Scholar

140 The preamble to the CRPD mentions these deprivations and the need to remedy the injustice.Google Scholar

141 See discussion infra Section D.II.5 (discussing the remedy for the injustice from the ignorantia juris doctrine).Google Scholar

142 Office of the UN High Comm'r for H.R., Who will be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda 10 (2013), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/WhoWillBeAccountable.pdf.Google Scholar

143 United Nations, Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/convinfofaq.htm#qa (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

145 See supra notes 21–22 and accompanying text (discussing poor public access to legal information in Nigeria).Google Scholar

146 See Germain, Claire M., Worldwide Access to Foreign Law: International & National Developments Toward Digital Authentication 1–2 (University of Florida Levin College of Law Working Papers No. 1, 2012), http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=working.Google Scholar

147 See UN Sanctions: What They Are, How They Work, and Who Uses Them, UN News Centre (May 4, 2016), www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=53850#.V13VY1QrLIV.Google Scholar

148 See Nigeria Suspended from the Commonwealth, The Commonwealth (1995), http://thecommonwealth.org/history-of-thecommonwealth/nigeria-suspended-commonwealth.Google Scholar

149 See generally Peksen, Dursun, Better or Worse? The Effect of Economic Sanctions on Human Rights, 46 JPR 59 (2009). North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and Zimbabwe are examples of dictatorial regimes that have refused to bow to the pressure from sanctions.Google Scholar

150 See, e.g., sources cited supra notes 21–23 and accompanying text (discussing poor public access to legal information in Nigeria and Mali).Google Scholar

151 Ashcroft, Richard E., Could Human Rights Supersede Bioethics? 10 H.R.L. Rev. 639, 643–44 (2010).Google Scholar

152 See Office of the UN High Comm'r for H.R., The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System 1939 (2012), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet30Rev1.pdf (mechanisms for implementation of human rights standards).Google Scholar

153 Aarhus Convention, supra note 70.Google Scholar

154 See generally Boyle, Alan, Human Rights and the Environment: Where Next?, 23 EJIL 613–42 (2012); UN Econ. Comm'n for Europe (UNECE) Aarhus Convention Secretariat, The Role of the Aarhus Convention in Promoting Good Governance and Human Rights (Sept. 2012), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/GoodGovernance/Corruption/ECONOMIC_COMMISSION_FOR_EUROPE.pdf; UNECE, What People are Saying about the Aarhus Convention, http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/documents/statements.pdf (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

155 Deaton, 932 S.W.2d.Google Scholar

156 See Ingram, supra note 62.Google Scholar

157 Human Rights: A Basic Handbook for UN Staff, Office of the UN High Comm'r for H.R. 3, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/HRhandbooken.pdf (last visited July 9, 2017) (emphasis added).Google Scholar

158 See supra Section D.II.5 (discussing the remedy for the injustice from the ignorantia juris doctrine).Google Scholar

159 Bentham & Bowring, supra note 5.Google Scholar

160 G.A. Res. 217 (III) A, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 2 (Dec. 10, 1948) [hereinafter UDHR].Google Scholar

161 What are Human Rights?, Office of the UN High Comm'r for H.R., http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

162 For discussions on the universality of human rights, see generally Robert Spano, Universality or Diversity of Human Rights? 14 H.R.L. Rev. 487 (2014); Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, The Controversial Universality of Individual Human Rights, 26 Verbum et Ecclesia 700 (2005); Louis Henkin, The Universality of the Concept of Human Rights, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 506 Human Rights Around the World 10 (Nov., 1989); John O'Manique, Universal and Inalienable Rights: A Search for Foundations Source, 12 H.R.Q. 465 (Nov. 1990).Google Scholar

163 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 76–92 (discussing the right of access to public information, right to education, right to indigenous languages, disability rights, and the right of access to public service and participation in public affairs as human rights inherent in the right of access to legislation).Google Scholar

164 Regina v. Chambers [2008] EWCA (Crim) 2467 (Eng.).Google Scholar

165 Chambers Review, supra note 7. See also Mitee, supra note 15, at 167–68 (stating the possibility of per incuriam decisions due to lack of access to legislation).Google Scholar

166 See Matthews, Paul, Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse? 3 Legal Stud. 174 (1983) (listing ancient statements and references on the maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse”).Google Scholar

167 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 37. See, e.g., Model Penal Code § 2.02(9) (U.S.); Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) s 9.3(1) (Austl.); Criminal Code Act (1916) Cap. (C38), § 22 (Nigeria); Crimes Act 1961, s 25 (N.Z.); Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 s. 19 (Can.).Google Scholar

168 Sams, Julia P., The Availability of the “Cultural Defense” as an Excuse for Criminal Behavior, 16 Ga. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 335 (1986).Google Scholar

169 John Selden, The Table-Talk of John Selden 82 (London, John Russell Smith, 2nd ed. 1856), https://archive.org/details/tabletalkofjohns00seldiala.Google Scholar

170 For discussions on mistake of law and mistake of fact in criminal law, see generally Mohamed Elewa Badar, Mens Rea—Mistake of Law & Mistake of Fact in German Criminal Law: A Survey for International Criminal Tribunals, 5 Int'l Crim. L. Rev. 203 (2005); Re'em Segev, Moral Rightness and the Significance of Law: Why, How, and When Mistake of Law Matters, 64 U.T.L.J. 36 (2014).Google Scholar

171 See supra note 13 (providing a definition of authentic texts of legal information). See also supra note 14 (providing a definition of official texts of legal information).Google Scholar

172 See, e.g., Richard Cracknell & Rob Clements, Acts and Instruments: The Volume of UK Legislation 1950 to 2014 7 (2014), http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN02911/SN02911.pdf.Google Scholar

173 See, e.g., Michael Anthony Cottone, Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in the Regulatory Age, 82 Tenn. L. Rev. 137, 142–44 (2015); Baker, John S., Revisiting the Explosive Growth of Federal Crimes, The Heritage Foundation (June 16, 2008), http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/06/revisiting-the-explosive-growth-of-federal-crimes; Gary Fields & Emshwiller, John R., Many Failed Efforts to Count Nation's Federal Criminal Laws, The Wall Street Journal (July 23, 2011), http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304319804576389601079728920.Google Scholar

174 See Montriou v. Jefferys (1825) 2 Car. & P. 113, in 12 Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the English Courts of Common Law 50, 52 (Thomas Sergeant & Lowber, John C. eds. 1839); Fields & Emshwiller, supra note 173 (quoting Ronald Gainer's statement that “[y]ou will have died and resurrected three times,” and still be laboring to count the exact number of the U.S. federal crimes).Google Scholar

175 See infra note 297 and accompanying text (mala prohibita offenses).Google Scholar

176 R. v. Campbell [1972] 2 All E.R. 353 (Eng.), in Cases and Materials on Criminal Law and Procedure 522 (Friedland, Martin L. ed., 5th ed. 1978) (emphasis added); Stuart, supra note 63, at para. 32 (CanLII) (discussing the justification of the doctrine of ignorance of the law is no excuse).Google Scholar

177 United States v. Casson, 434 F.2d 415 (D.C. Cir. 1970).Google Scholar

178 Rex v. Bailey (1800) 168 Eng. Rep. 651 (Eng.).Google Scholar

179 Id. at 653; see also Matthews, supra note 166, at 179–85 (discussing some of the cases on the application of the doctrine of ignorance of the law is no excuse).Google Scholar

180 See, e.g., International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights art. 15, Dec. 16, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S 171 [hereinafter ICCPR].Google Scholar

181 See Brudner, Alan, Punishment and Freedom: A Liberal Theory of Penal Justice 186–87 (2009) (discussing the similarity between liability under retroactive and unpublished law).Google Scholar

182 Id. Google Scholar

183 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 165–67.Google Scholar

184 See supra text accompanying note 180 (discussing the right against ex post facto laws).Google Scholar

185 See infra Section D.III.2.15 (discussing the proposal that there should be no liability under any inaccessible law).Google Scholar

186 World Comm'n on Env't and Dev., Rep. of the World Comm'n on Env't and Dev.: Our Common Future (1987) adopted by G.A. Res. A/RES/42/187 (Dec. 11, 1987), http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf. The Commission is also known as the Brundtland Commission. Google Scholar

187 See Jamar, supra note 108 (“Businesses seeking to invest overseas would be better able to make investment decisions based in part on the content of the law more easily.”).Google Scholar

188 See id. (“A foundational principle of the rule of law is governmental transparency, i.e., governments operating not secretly, but openly. One aspect of this transparency is ready access to the law.”).Google Scholar

189 See UN Public Admin. Network, Providing Access to Legal Information to Accelerate Sustainable Development, http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/Internet/Documents/UNPAN94768.pdf (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

190 Regina v. Chambers [2008] EWCA (Crim) 2467.Google Scholar

191 Chambers Review, supra note 7.Google Scholar

192 Regina v. Chambers [2008] EWCA (Crim) 2467 [65]–[68].Google Scholar

193 See Jamar, supra note 108 (“Scholars studying comparative law would find their work significantly easier to do.”). On how poor global access to legal information hampers international legal research, see Bayly, supra note 23 (discussing a Canadian human rights intern's frustration with the unavailability of Malian legal information online in 2015).Google Scholar

194 See Poulin, supra note 17 (discussing how the Internet facilitates free dissemination of national laws thereby making them available for a global audience).Google Scholar

195 See Bayly, supra note 23.Google Scholar

196 Helen XANTHAKI, Drafting Legislation: Art and Technology of Rules for Regulation 1753–80 (2014) (Kindle edition) (“Amongst the very first considerations of the drafter is to ensure that they understand clearly and fully the current legal position on the topic of the requested legislation.”).Google Scholar

197 Ron Beal, The Art of Statutory Construction: Texas Style, 64 Baylor L. Rev. 339, 414–15 (2012).Google Scholar

198 Perritt, supra note 20, at 899 (discussing how public participation in the decision-making process of the government promotes good governance).Google Scholar

199 Id. See also Montreal Declaration, supra note 42 (“Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law.”).Google Scholar

200 Graham Greenleaf & Ginevra Peruginelli, A Comprehensive Free Access Legal Information System for Europe 2 (University of New South Wales Law Research Paper No. 2012–9, 2012), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2012956; see also Poulin, supra note 17 (discussing the importance of free access to legal information to the rule of law and democracy).Google Scholar

201 Montreal Declaration, supra note 42.Google Scholar

202 See supra note 13 (providing a definition of authentic texts of legal information) & note 14 (providing a definition of official texts of legal information).Google Scholar

203 See Perritt, supra note 20, at 899; Montreal Declaration, supra note 42.Google Scholar

204 Montreal Declaration, supra note 42.Google Scholar

205 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78.Google Scholar

206 Law.Gov Principles, supra note 79.Google Scholar

207 Calgary Statement, supra note 80.Google Scholar

208 A. V. Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution 171–92 (3rd ed. 1889), https://ia802701.us.archive.org/11/items/introductiontos04dicegoog/introductiontos04dicegoog.pdf (last visited July 9, 2017).Google Scholar

209 Brooke, D., Q&A Jurisprudence 40 (6th ed. 2013).Google Scholar

210 Dicey, supra note 208, at 190.Google Scholar

211 U. N. Secretary General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, UN Doc. S/2004/616 (Aug. 23, 2004), at 4; The Rule of Law, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (June 22, 2016), http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rule-of-law/ (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

212 United Nations, supra note 143, at 2.Google Scholar

213 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See the Appendix to this Article for a Microsoft Word version of The Hague Guiding Principles that is available online as a PDF document in the public domain.Google Scholar

214 Id. Google Scholar

215 Id. See Principles 1 & 2.Google Scholar

216 See Ingram, supra note 62.Google Scholar

217 See supra Section C; Section D.II.5 (discussing a remedy for the injustice from the ignorantia juris doctrine).Google Scholar

218 See Harvey, supra note 106, at 107–08 (discussing the New Zealand Depository Library Scheme); see generally Pettinato, Tammy R., Legal Information, the Informed Citizen, and the FDLP: The Role of Academic Law Librarians in Promoting Democracy, 99 L. Libr. J. 695 (2007) (discussing the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program). See also Mitee, supra note 15, at 56–58.Google Scholar

219 See Greenleaf (2008), supra note 17 (discussing the role played by legal information institutes in the evolution of the concept of free public access to online legal information). For my discussions on innovative ways of enhancing public access to available official online legal information, see Mitee, Leesi Ebenezer, Enhancing Public Access to Legal Information: A Proposal for a New Official Legal Information Generic Top-Level Domain, 22(2) EJOCLI (2017), http://webjcli.org/article/view/562 & http://ejocli.org/; Leesi Ebenezer Mitee, Towards Enhanced Public Access to Legal Information: A Proposal for Official Networked One-Stop Legal Information Websites, 8(2) or (3) EJLT (2017), http://ejlt.org/ (forthcoming).Google Scholar

220 McMahon, supra note 28.Google Scholar

221 Durham Statement, supra note 18. On the indispensability of online legal information resources, see McMahon, supra note 28; Arnold-Moore (2003), supra note 84. For the need for authentication of digital legal information, see sources cited supra note 13; see infra Section D.III.2.3 (discussing the integrity and authoritativeness of legal information).Google Scholar

222 See Org. for Security & Cooperation in Eur., Access to Court Decisions: Legal Analysis of Relevant International and National Provisions 3, 13 (Sept. 2008), http://www.right2info.org/resources/publications/publications/OSCE_AnalysisAccesstoCourtDecisions17092008.pdf. As emphasized throughout this Article, online access to authentic judicial decisions is indispensable; on the need for authentication of digital legal information, see sources cited supra note 13 (authentication) and see infra Section D.III.2.3 (discussing the integrity and authoritativeness of legal information).Google Scholar

223 See generally Versmissen, Koen, OSCE Mission to Skopje, Expert Report on Access to Court Decisions and Protection of Personal Data in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Oct. 2011); Krisztina Kovács, European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission), Report: The Anonymity Requirement in Publishing Court Decisions (July 1, 2011), http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-JU(2011)010-e.Google Scholar

224 See, e.g., Unreported Judgments Online, LexisNexis, http://www.lexisnexis.com.au/en-AU/Products/unreported-judgments-online.page (last visited July 6, 2017) (claiming that LexisNexis has a database of over 237,200 Australian judicial decisions that it updates three times daily).Google Scholar

225 See Poulin, supra note 17 (discussing how free access to legal information strengthens national judicial systems).Google Scholar

226 ECLI Background, Bldg on ECLI, http://bo-ecli.eu/ecli/background (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

227 See supra Section D.II.1 (discussing the right of public access to legal information as a human right with a derivative status). Self-representation is a human right under international and regional human rights instruments such as Article 14(3)(d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 6(3)(c) of the European Convention on Human Rights.Google Scholar

228 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principle 3.Google Scholar

229 Ford, supra note 87, at 550.Google Scholar

230 See sources cited supra notes 26–27 and accompanying text (discussing the assertion of copyright in official annotations in legislation in the United States).Google Scholar

231 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, July 24, 1971, 1161 U.N.T.S. 3 [hereinafter Berne Convention].Google Scholar

232 See Johan Pas & Bruno De Vuyst, Re-establishing the Balance between the Public and the Private Sector: Regulating Public Sector Information Commercialization in Europe, JILT (2004), http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2004_2/pasanddevuyst/ (stating that the Berne Convention may be used by European countries that are Parties to it to impose some copyright restriction on legal information in contradistinction to the U.S. position under its copyright legislation that excludes copyright from works of the federal government.Google Scholar

233 See Mitee, supra note 15, at, 65–68 (stating that “the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works has contributed negatively to access to government-held information including legislation by leaving the issue of copyright in such information at the discretion of each State party”).Google Scholar

234 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principles 4 & 5.Google Scholar

235 Authentication, U.S. Gov't Printing Office (Oct. 13, 2005) https://www.gpo.gov/pdfs/authentication/authenticationwhitepaperfinal.pdf; Germain, Claire M., Worldwide Access to Foreign Law: International and National Developments Toward Digital Authentication, 9 Comp. L. J. Pacific 185 (2013), https://ssrn.com/abstract=2676279. See also The IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management 14 (Danner, Richard A. & Jules Winterton eds., 2016).Google Scholar

236 State-By-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources: Executive Summary, Am. Ass'n of Law Libraries (Mar. 2007), http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/authen_rprt/executivesummaryreport.pdf.Google Scholar

237 See IFLA Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age, Int‘l Fed‘n Library Associations and Institutions (Dec. 15, 2016), https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11064.Google Scholar

238 See About Us, Govinfo, https://www.govinfo.gov/about (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

239 Public Law 115–6—Feb. 28, 2017, Govinfo, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-115publ6/pdf/PLAW-115publ6.pdf (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

240 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principle 6.Google Scholar

241 People v. Melchor, 237 Cal. App. 2d 685 (1965); Greenleaf (2013), supra note 94, at 7.Google Scholar

242 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principle 7.Google Scholar

243 See Why is the UK Still Printing its Laws on Vellum?, BBC (Feb. 15, 2016), http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35569281.Google Scholar

244 See Stenton, Doris Mary, Magna Carta, Encyclopædia Britannica (2017), https://www.britannica.com/topic/Magna-Carta.Google Scholar

245 Vellum: Printing Record Copies of Public Acts, Parliament.uk, (May 11, 2016), http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7451.Google Scholar

246 Christopher Hope, Anger as MPs Bow to Peers' Pressure and End 500-Year Old Tradition of Printing New Laws on Vellum, Telegraph (Mar. 21, 2017), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/21/anger-mps-bow-peers-pressure-end-500-year-old-tradition-printing/.Google Scholar

247 Id. Google Scholar

248 Peter Sandborn, Software Obsolescence—Complicating the Part and Technology Obsolescence Management Problem, 30(4) IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies 886 (2007), http://www.enme.umd.edu/ESCML/Papers/IEEE_SoftwareObs.pdf. See also Whitt, Richard S., “Through A Glass, Darkly” Technical, Policy, and Financial Actions to Avert the Coming Digital Dark Ages, 33 Santa Clara High Tech. L.J. 117 (2017), http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/chtlj/vol33/iss2/1.Google Scholar

249 16363: Space Data and Information Transfer Systems—Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories, Int'l Organization for Standardization, https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:16363:ed-1:v1:en (last visited May 29, 2017).Google Scholar

250 About Us, Govinfo, https://www.govinfo.gov/about (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

251 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principles 8 & 9.Google Scholar

252 Dove, Edward S., Reflections on the Concept of Open Data, 12(2) SCRIPTed 154, 157–59 (2015), https://scripted.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Dove.pdf.Google Scholar

253 Authentication, Govinfo, https://www.govinfo.gov/about/authentication (last visited July 9, 2017).Google Scholar

254 See Legislative XML for the Semantic Web: Principles, Models, Standards for Document Management (Giovanni Sartor, Monica Palmirani, Enrico Francesconi, & Maria Angela Biasiotti eds., 2011); Legislative Documents in XML at the United States House of Representatives, U.S. House of Representatives (Sept. 2, 2016), https://xml.house.gov/; Uses of XML, IBM, https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/ssw_i5_54/rzamj/rzamjintrouses.htm (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

255 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78 (Principle 10).Google Scholar

256 See sources cited supra notes 26–27 and accompanying text (discussing the assertion of copyright in official annotations in legislation in the United States).Google Scholar

257 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principle 11.Google Scholar

258 Id. See Principle 12.Google Scholar

259 Frédéric Pelletier, The Neutral Citation Standard for Case Law: A Summary, https://lexum.com/ccc-ccr/neutr/docs/NeutralCitation_Summary_2010.doc (last visited July 9, 2017).Google Scholar

260 Catherine Vidler-Smith & John Prebble, The Emergence of Neutral Citation, 4(1) OUCLJ 121, 125 (2004), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1604994.Google Scholar

261 Id. at 125–28.Google Scholar

262 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principles 13, 14, & 15.Google Scholar

263 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 84–87.Google Scholar

264 EU laws are translated into the 24 Official EU languages, see Translation: Official EU Languages, Union, European, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/translating/officiallanguages/index_en.htm (last visited July 6, 2017) (listing all the languages and the importance of the translation of E.U. laws).Google Scholar

265 See Ingram, supra note 62.Google Scholar

266 Lambert v. California, 225 U.S. 355 (1957), https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/355/225/case.html.Google Scholar

267 ICCPR, art. 27; G.A. Res. 61/295, arts. 2–3, 5, 8, 13–16, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 13, 2007). See Universal Declaration on Linguistic Rights, art. 18 (June 9, 1996), http://www.unesco.org/cpp/uk/declarations/linguistic.pdf. This Declaration was made by institutions and nongovernmental organizations in Barcelona.Google Scholar

268 See International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights arts. 1, 3, 6 & 15, Dec. 16, 1966, 993 U.N.T.S. 3 [hereinafter ICESCR]. Language as a means of communication is intricately interwoven with culture. See Kramsch, Claire, Language and Culture 3 (1998).Google Scholar

269 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles, supra note 78. See Principles 16, 17, & 18.Google Scholar

270 See EUR-Lex, supra note 82, at 7–8; Xanthaki, supra note 196, at loc. 3408–4018.Google Scholar

271 For the meaning and use of plain language, see generally Anthony Watson-Brown, Defining “Plain English” as an Aid to Legal Drafting, 30 Statute L. Rev. 85 (2009).Google Scholar

272 Fischer, Judith D., Why George Orwell's Ideas about Language Still Matter for Lawyers, 68 Mont. L. Rev. 129, 132 (2007). See also Assy, Rabeea, Injustice in Person: The Right to Self-Representation 73–74 (2015) (discussing how the use of plain English makes the law accessible and intelligible to non-lawyers, thereby facilitating their right to represent themselves in judicial proceedings).Google Scholar

273 See Ball, David, David Ball on Damages: The Essential Update—A Plaintiff‘s Attorney‘s Guide for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases 294–95 (2005).Google Scholar

274 Jefferson Co. v. Halverson, 276 F.3d 389, 393 (8th Cir. 2002). See also Fischer, supra note 272, at 142.Google Scholar

275 Fischer, supra note 272, at 142–43. See also Mead, Julia C., Legal Latinisms, Dead or Alive?, N.Y. Times (Jan. 26, 2003), http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/26/nyregion/legal-latinisms-dead-or-alive.html.Google Scholar

276 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Dec. 13, 2006, 2515 U.N.T.S. 3 [hereinafter CRPD]. See Mitee, supra note 15, at 87–90.Google Scholar

277 See Tswanya, Yolisa, Laws in Braille will Help Blind Understand their Rights, PressReader (July 19, 2012), https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/cape-argus/20120719/281736971571697.Google Scholar

278 See Lambert, 355 U.S. at 355 (1957) (noting the evil in any law “written in print too fine to read” or in a language that members of the community do not understand).Google Scholar

279 See Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, https://udhr.audio/UDHR_Video.asp?lng=eng (last visited July 6, 2017) (audio version of UDHR); Universal Declaration of Human Rights: History of the Document, United Nations, http://www.un.org/en/sections/universal-declaration/history-document/ (last visited July 6, 2017) (stating that Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of U.S. President Roosevelt, Franklin D., chaired the committee that drafted the UDHR).Google Scholar

280 See, e.g., UDHR in Sign Languages, Office of the UN High Comm‘r for Hum. Rts. (last visited July 6, 2017), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/UDHRinsignlanguages.aspx (featuring videos of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in British and Spanish sign languages); New Zealand Sign Language Content Offers Deaf Community Better Access to Legal Information, N.Z. L. Soc‘y (May 12, 2016), https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news-and-communications/latest-news/news/new-zealand-sign-language-content-offers-deaf-community-better-access-to-legal-information.Google Scholar

281 See sources cited supra note 71 (discussing the use of assistive technology for access to legal information by persons with disabilities).Google Scholar

282 Customary Law Systems and Mixed Systems with a Customary Law Tradition, JuriGlobe—World Legal Systems, http://www.juriglobe.ca/eng/sys-juri/class-poli/droit-coutumier.php (last visited July 6, 2017).Google Scholar

283 See Soderlund, Walter C., Liberia, 1990: ECOMOG I, “Operation Liberty,” UNOMIL in Humanitarian Crises and Intervention: Reassessing the Impact of Mass Media 21 (Soderlund, Walter C. et al. eds., 2008).Google Scholar

284 See Aalen, Lovise, The Politics of Ethnicity in Ethiopia: Actors, Power and Mobilisation Under Ethnic Federalism 87 (2011).Google Scholar

285 See JuriGlobe—World Legal Systems, supra note 282.Google Scholar

286 Van Breda v. Jacobs, 1921 (AD) 330, https://www.coursehero.com/file/21226446/VAN-BREDA-AND-OTHERS-v-JACOBS-1921-AD-330/. See J. C. Bekker & I. A. van der Merwe, Proof and Ascertainment of Customary Law, 26(1) Southern African Pub. L. 115, 120 (2011), http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/18455.Google Scholar

287 Leesi Ebenezer Mitee, Huricompatisation: The Concept of Human Rights-Compliant Public Access to the Customary Law of Indigenous Communities (forthcoming 2017). For the flaws of codification as a method of ascertainment of the customary law of indigenous communities, see Weisbrot, David, Customary Law, 1 Aboriginal L. Bull. 1, 3–4 (1981–1998); Joan Vincent, Contours of Change: Agrarian Law in Colonial Uganda, 1895–1962, in History and Power in the Study of Law: New Directions in Legal Anthropology 166 (June Starr & Collier, Jane F. eds., 1989); Jelle J. P. Wouters, Land Tax, Reservation for Women and Customary Law in Nagaland 52 (9) Economic & Political Weekly 20, 23 (2017).Google Scholar

288 The term with its abbreviation is my coinage.Google Scholar

289 See Mitee, supra note 15, at 56–62 (discussing legislation awareness programme).Google Scholar

290 Mary Omogor Ifukor, Channels of Information Acquisition and Dissemination Among Rural Dwellers, 5(10) IJLIS 306, 307 (2013), http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/IJLIS/article-full-text-pdf/494E19F40088 (lasted visited July 8, 2017); Uzuegbu, Chimezie P. & Naga, Moses M., Information Communication to Rural Cassava Farmers in Nigeria: A Pilot Study, 9(2) JAIST (2016), http://jaistonline.org/vol9no2_2016.html (lasted visited July 8, 2017); Henry Kam Kah, Civil Society, Socio-Economic Development and Nation-Building In West Africa, 7(4) AAJOSS (2016), http://www.onlineresearchjournals.com/aajoss/art/220.pdf (lasted visited July 8, 2017).Google Scholar

291 Free Internet connectivity should be available in public depository libraries that stock government-held information which includes legal information.Google Scholar

292 See Arnold-Moore (2003), supra note 84.Google Scholar

293 Frank La Rue (Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression), Rep. of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/27, at para. 65 (May 16, 2011) [hereinafter Frank La Rue (2011)].Google Scholar

294 Id. Google Scholar

295 Id. at paras. 78–79. For a discussion on the human right of access to the Internet, see generally Stephen Tully, A Human Right to Access the Internet? Problems and Prospects, 14 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 175 (2014).Google Scholar

296 Tañada v. Tuvera, supra note 59 (“[B]efore the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially informed of said contents and its penalties.”); Corporation de l'École Polytechnique v. Canada, 2004 FCA 127, para. 39 (CanLII):Google Scholar

Invincible mistake of law, accepted by the courts and Parliament, refers to mistakes which it is impossible to avoid because it is impossible for the person charged to know the law, either because it has not been promulgated or because it was not published in a satisfactory way so that its existence and contents could be known.Google Scholar

(emphasis added).Google Scholar

“[Ig]norance of the law due to its nonpublication must be a credible defence.” See Anyangwe, Carlson, Criminal Law: The General Part 207 (2015). Frans Rumpff, the Chief Justice of South Africa, delivered a revolutionary unanimous judgment in 1977 that abolished the general application of the doctrine of ignorance of the law is no excuse in relation to mens rea in criminal offenses. See State v. De Blom 1977 (3) SA 513 (A) at 529 H (S. Afr.).Google Scholar

297 See Garvey, Stephen P., Authority, Ignorance, and the Guilty Mind, 67 SMU L. Rev. 545, 556 (2014) (conceding that ignorance of the law should not be an excuse with regard to mala in se offenses); see also Cottone, supra note 173, at 143 (asserting the relative ease of public awareness of the unlawfulness of mala in se offenses in contrast with regulatory offenses: “For example, one would be hard-pressed to find a person that never heard of someone going to prison for murder or robbery—the illegality of these acts has been hammered into our collective consciousness.”). The age-old judicial distinction between mala prohibita (evil-because-prohibited) and mala in se (naturally-evil) offenses is established in criminal law. See generally Davis, Mark S., Crimes Mala in Se: An Equity-Based Definition, 17 Crim. Just. Pol'y Rev. 270 (2006); State v. Anderson, 5 P.3d 1247, 141 Wash. 2d 357 (2000); Note, The Distinction between “Mala Prohibita” and “Mala in se” in Criminal Law 30 Colum. L. Rev. 74 (1930). The distinction, despite its imperfection, is necessary for the attainment of justice in special circumstances to prevent avoidance of liability based on my proposed human-right defense of inaccessible and therefore unknowable law. The application of this distinction here is based on accessibility of the law, not on criminal intent—mens rea. Google Scholar

298 See supra Section C.I (discussing the existence of the right of public access to legal information under the general right of access to public or government-held information).Google Scholar

299 See id. Google Scholar

300 See supra Section C.V (discussing judicial recognition and enforcement of the existing right of public access to legal information).Google Scholar

301 See supra Section C.II (discussing the traditional requirement of publication of legal information).Google Scholar

302 See supra Section C.III (discussing the use of advanced technologies to enhance accessibility).Google Scholar

303 See supra Section D.II.1 (discussing the normative gaps associated with the existing derivative status).Google Scholar

304 See supra Section C.V (discussing judicial recognition and enforcement of the existing right of public access to legal information).Google Scholar

305 See supra notes 21–23 and accompanying text (discussing the poor public access to legal information in Nigeria and Mali).Google Scholar

306 See Douglas-Scott, supra note 138.Google Scholar

307 See Office of the UN High Comm'r for Hum. Rts., supra note 142, at 2–3.Google Scholar

308 See supra Section D.II.2 (detailing the human rights framework for the right of public access to legal information).Google Scholar

309 For instance, with regard to the CRPD, there was a period of about seven years between the setting up of its Ad Hoc Committee by the General Assembly in 2001 and when it entered into force on May 3, 2008. See Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Why a Convention?, United Nations (Apr. 21, 2016), http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/questions.shtml#five (providing the background to the Convention that was adopted on Dec. 13, 2006).Google Scholar

310 See generally Kingdon, Tony, The Relevance of Research to Policy Formulation: An Australian Perspective, 88 Addiction 61S (Supplement s1, Jan., 1993); Wagenaar, Alexander C., Research Affects Public Policy: The Case of the Legal Drinking Age in the United States, 88 Addiction 75S (Supplement s1, Jan., 1993); Amanda Wolf, Research Strategies for Policy Relevance, 23 Soc. Pol'y J.N.Z. (2004); UNCTAD Virtual Inst. on Trade and Dev., Research-Based Policy Making: Bridging the Gap between Researchers and Policy Makers (Recommendations for Researchers and Policy Makers Arising from the joint UNCTAD-WTO-ITC Workshop on Trade Policy Analysis, Geneva, Sept. 11–15, 2006), https://vi.unctad.org/tda/papers/tradedata/tdarecs.PDF.Google Scholar

311 See, e.g., supra notes 21–23 (discussing the poor public access to legal information in Nigeria and Mali).Google Scholar

312 See supra Part B (discussing the lack of political will hinders public access to legal information).Google Scholar

313 Regina v. Chambers [2008] EWCA (Crim) 2467 (revealing that previous decisions of the England and Wales Court of Appeal over a period of seven years were based on a repealed regulation that neither the Court nor the lawyers that appeared before it knew of).Google Scholar

314 Rex v. Bailey (1800) 168 Eng. Rep. 651 (Eng.).Google Scholar

315 United States v. Casson, 434 F.2d 415 (D.C. Cir. 1970).Google Scholar

316 See supra Section D.III.2.15 (discussing the proposal that there should be no liability under any inaccessible law).Google Scholar

317 The Hague Conference Guiding Principles to be Considered in Developing a Future Instrument (2008), an annexure to Access to Foreign Law in Civil and Commercial Matters: Conclusions and Recommendations, Eur. Comm'n, https://assets.hcch.net/upload/foreignlaw_concl_e.pdf (last visited July 6, 2017). These are principles developed by the experts which met on Oct. 19–21, 2008 at the invitation of the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law as part of its feasibility study on the “access to foreign law” project.Google Scholar