Thursday, March 17, 2011

Legal Information Institute of India

Graham Greenleaf AM, Professor of Law & Information Systems, University of New South Wales (UNSW), faculty of law, recently described the launch of an important new free access web site containing materials of law from India.  

The Legal Information Institute of India (LII of India - was officially launched in Delhi on 9th March, 2011, followed by the first regional launch in Hyderabad on 11 March. Further regional launches will take place in Bangalaru and Kolkota over the next fortnight. Each launch is hosted by a partner National Law University.

The official launch in Delhi was by Dr (Shri) M Veerappa Moily, Union Minister of Law and Justice, Government of India. Other Guests of Honour to speak at the launch included Dr Lachlan Strahan, Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Chief Justice Dipak Misra of the Delhi High Court, the Justice V P Reddi, Chairman of the Law Commission of India, and Prof Ved Prakash, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, as well as representatives of LII of India and of AustLII. The Delhi launch, at the Vigyan  Bhavan, was hosted by the National Law University, Delhi (NLUD).

The Hyderabad launch was by Justice M Jagannadha Rao (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Indian and Chairman of the Indian Law Commission), and the Bangalaru launch will be by Justice Malimath, Chairman, Karnataka Law Commission and Former Chief Justice of Kerala.

LII of India now has 108 databases (plus 8 virtual databases), with the recent additional of 59 databases of State and Territory legislation. It currently provides  free  online  access  to  Indian legislation (63 databases), treaties (2 databases), case law (41 databases), law reform (1 database) and legal scholarship (9 databases). Further databases are being added.

The LII of  India  was initially a  joint project of  the National Law Schools of Hyderabad (NALSAR), Delhi (NLUD), Bangalore (NLSIU),and Kolkata (NUJS), plus the law school at IIT Kharagpur (RGSOIPL), in conjunction with the Australasian Legal Information Institute  (AustLII). LII of India has received initial  funding assistance  from AusAID. The Indian technical base of LII of India is at NALSAR.

Three new Partner Institutions have now joined LII of India: Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU); Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, Chennai (TNDALU); and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala (RGNUL). The Parliamentary Research Service (PRS) is also a Supporting Institution.

LII of India is the 34th member of the Free Access to Law Movement.  (

Access to free and authoritative information is critical to human social, economic, cultural and political development.  It is also a fundamental basis for participation in society.   This is especially critical with respect to access to information about law--statutes, regulation, judicial proceedings and the like.  Rule of law governance cannot be implemented in the absence of this sort of access to lawyers, officials, civil society elements and the public.  It provides no more than the ability of people to contribute to the function ing of the state and the social order in accordance with its terms and to participate in its development.  No state, whatever its political foundation, ought to be threatened by the availability of information about its official actions and rules.  See also  World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII), described in William F. ("Bill") Heinze has produced a potentially useful list of information sites that may serve as a resource.  See William F. Heinze, Free, Independent, and Non-Profit Access to Worldwide Law, I/P Updates, Jan. 21, 2005 .

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