Citizen Access to Sources of Law: re-engineering for e-Gov?


  • Philip Leith Queen's University of Belfast


The better models of e-Gov posit high levels of informational communication between citizen and state. Unfortunately, in one area, that communication has traditionally been poor: that is, access to sources of law. There have been a number of reasons for this, but a primary one has been that law was historically mediated for the citizen by the legal profession. This situation is changing with ever increasing numbers of unrepresented litigants being involved at all levels of national court systems in each and every country as well as a generally higher level of intrusion of legislation into everyday home and business life. There have been attempts to improve access through internet based services, but these have improved communication (‘understanding of law’) to only a limited extent. It may be time, this article suggests, to consider re-engineering legal sources so that they better fit the needs of eGov.