Collaboration Between Lexum and AfricanLII Brings South African Law Reports Online

As a signatory of the Montreal Declaration on Free Access to Law and a member of the Free Access to Law Movement, Lexum has built strong connections with other Legal Information Institutes worldwide. One of these partners is AfricanLII, and the scope of their work is reason enough to take a few moments to delve into.

AfricanLII convenes a network – the Open Law Africa community – of 16 African Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) and provides unified access to hundreds of thousands of judgments, regional laws, and national gazettes. This programme is critical for the justice and legal sectors in Africa, where access to legal materials – in print or digital – is minimal or non-existent. AfricanLII is central in securing primary access to legal information in many African countries through capacitating African governments and Judiciaries to publish the law online. Beyond that, it spreads vital information on important legal subjects , such as human rights, environmental protection laws, and  freedom of association. Several user studies provide clear evidence of the positive impact of the LIIs on the judiciary, lawyers, students, and communities.

Over the winter of 2023, AfricanLII learned that the Supreme Court of Canada Library was emptying its shelves of historic law reports from the Southern African region. The team from Cape Town was interested in the material. However, the cost of shipping these volumes to South Africa was significant. Instead, these reports were sent to Lexum office in Montreal, where they were digitized. Altogether, the Lexum digitization team processed over 80 volumes and more than 55,000 pages of case law from the following law reports:

The resulting files were sent to AfricanLII, which proceeded with their online publishing. This new content will be available from August 2023 for anyone to access at and .