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Primary Law

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Legislation and case law are the two most important primary sources of law. While many countries now enjoy access to legislation and jurisprudence at the click of a mouse, there remain several for whom reliable and efficient access to up-to-date and properly indexed research material still seems a long way off.

LexisNexis is deeply committed to making a contribution to the development of nations in Africa and across the world. For this reason, in 2003, LexisNexis established its "Primary Law" division – a team of editors specialised in the creation of effective and up-to-date legal referencing products in countries where this does not currently exist, or has been neglected for some time.

If access to primary sources of law is restricted or cumbersome, knowledge of the law is effectively denied. In such circumstances, the government, the legal profession and the general public have no certainty as to the content or application of the law. This poses overwhelming challenges to the fair and efficient administration of justice, not to mention anxiety amongst would-be investors.

Based in South Africa, the Primary Law team's mission is to improve the effectiveness of the legal systems of the countries with which we partner: empowering government and citizens alike, promoting the rule of law and facilitating transparency and good governance. We believe that the provision of adequate access to legislation and case law can play a vital role in achieving this. We are also strong advocates of the potential of electronic legal research products to promote access to a country's laws to an ever-widening digital audience.

We also recognise that the laws of any country evolve constantly, and that research tools are of limited use without training in how to maximise their potential. Consequently, our publishing solutions include, as standard, training packages in legal editing and legal research tools for government officials and lawyers.

No international legal publisher has initiated a service as tailor-made to the needs of developing countries as LexisNexis' is. This site showcases the tried and tested solutions offered by the Primary Law team as it partners with governments, and often with donors, to develop the reliable legal reference frameworks that peaceful, stable and prosperous nations require.


What can law revision achieve?

In short, the restoration of an effective means of accessing laws. In a short time frame (under a year), LexisNexis can edit and publish, both in print and electronically, a revised edition of all the laws in force. This revised edition will consolidate all amendments made over time, incorporate new laws and omit repealed or spent laws. The editing process can also be tailored to include other minor changes to the text of the laws. Such changes usually represent a "tidying up" – addressing minor errors and inconsistencies.

Click here to watch a report on the transformational effect of our 2011 law revision project in Grenada. This was the first revision of laws there for 20 years.


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    With this Revised Edition in place it can now be made available to serve the needs of the people; our Parliamentarians, Court systems, Judicial and Legal Officers, the Legal Profession and the wider public thus ensuring transparency, good governance and accountability. May the Revised Edition contribute to the advancement of the cause of justice in Grenada

    - Hon. Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs of Grenada
    Click here to watch a report on the transformational effect of our 2011 law revision project in Grenada.

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6 Reasons to Prioritise Law Revision

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1. A vital foundation to any programme for improving transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law.

Institutions such as the United Nations and the World Justice Programme agree that clear, well-publicised laws are a pre-requisite to the good governance and the rule of law.

Download all 6 Reasons here


2. Create a platform to support future Law Revision and Reform.

The sooner a Revised Edition of Laws is available, the sooner the Law Revision Commissioner can use it as a starting point for undertaking the revision or reform of those laws that require it.

Download all 6 Reasons here

3. Empower ordinary people to take part in the legislative process.

Enabling citizens to take part in making the laws that affect them can create a more inclusive democracy as well as a more responsive and effective law. But unless citizens can access the law as it currently stands, the need for reform, or the context for reforms that are under consideration, will not be clear.

Download all 6 Reasons here

4. Give confidence to investors.

Investors frequently despair at the difficulty in obtaining clear, unambiguous advice on their rights and obligations under the laws of developing countries. LexisNexis can help to create an up-to-date database of a country's laws and jurisprudence in a matter of months, thereby helping the government to back up its marketing campaigns to investors with visible transparency.

Download all 6 Reasons here

5. Put an end to unnecessary wastage of time and money

Every day, civil servants and lawyers in developing countries waste many hours of their time and thousands of dollars of their clients' money in battling to locate and make sense of laws and judicial decisions that are scattered in the archives of ministries, universities, libraries and courts. Revising legal reference resources will reduce government expenditure on legal advice, and increase the speed at which organs of state can take decisions and develop new legislation.

Download all 6 Reasons here

6. Leave a legacy of positive reform for future justice sector practitioners

Many developing countries suffer from a dearth of new lawyers qualifying into the profession. Law students often feel compelled to seek their legal education overseas and many will stay there when they qualify. Developing legal reference resources in partnership with LexisNexis (which are usually made available to educational institutions at a large discount) can help to facilitate the training of the next generation of lawyers, and to prevent a brain drain of some of the country's best minds.

Download all 6 Reasons here

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