Inadequacies necessary to enable people to know the

Inadequacies in the existing system of providing public access to legal information cause difficulties in knowing the law, and these difficulties have profound adverse implications for justice, democracy, law reform, legal scholarship, sustainable development, legal practice, the rule of law, etc.  For instance, injustice occurs whenever the doctrine which states that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”  to avoid prosecution or culpability (hereinafter “ignorantia juris doctrine”) is applied on the ground that every person is presumed to know the law, even when the law is inaccessible and therefore unknowable. That is what happened in the old case of Rex v. Bailey,  and more recently in United States v. Casson.  Close to 200 years ago, Jeremy Bentham scathingly likened this injustice to that of a tyrant and slaveholders.  Additionally, difficulties in knowing the law—on the part of judges and lawyers—cause injustice through wrong judicial decisions. In Regina v. Chambers, it was a last-minute discovery “by a fortunate accident” that prevented the England and Wales Court of Appeal from delivering yet another wrong judgment due to ignorance of inaccessible law.  The discovery led the Crown Prosecution Service to review previous cases of more than 2,615 affected defendants from 2001 to 2008, some of whom successfully appealed their confiscation orders. Inadequate—and in some cases extremely poor—public access to legal information is a prevalent problem in both developed and developing countries, but it is worse in the latter.  The preeminent factor responsible for this problem appears to be the lack of political will on the part of governments to provide the legal framework, policies, facilities, programs, and institutions that are necessary to enable people to know the laws that regulate their conduct and activities.  Therefore, any effective solution should be able to compel governments—within the limits of international law—to provide free access to comprehensive and up-to-date legal information as a legal and moral duty. This should be part of a global mechanism for the promotion, realization, and protection of the people’s right to know the law that they are bound to obey. The existing literature on the right of public access to legal information as a human right consists of: (1) Merely stating that it is a human right without supporting the claim with arguments; (2) attempts to derive it from existing human rights and legal principles, some of which are remote; and (3) discussion of some aspects of the implications of lack of free access to legislation, which is just one category of legal information.  There is likely no substantial discussion on why it should be formally recognized as a human right and the proper legal framework under which it can thrive as successfully as the established human rights. These gaps may explain why there appears to be no existing formal proposal for its universal recognition as a human right.Therefore, to fill the said gaps in the existing literature, this Article aims to examine the desirability of the


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