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Legal research training Presentation made at the Africanlii training by: Linda Awuor Ochieng July 29 – August 3 rd,

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Presentation on theme: "Legal research training Presentation made at the Africanlii training by: Linda Awuor Ochieng July 29 – August 3 rd,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal research training Presentation made at the Africanlii training by: Linda Awuor Ochieng July 29 – August 3 rd, 2012 Johannesburg

2 Legal research is "the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making. In its broadest sense, legal research includes each step of a course of action that begins with an analysis of the facts of a problem and concludes with the application and communication of the results of the investigation. J. Myron Jacobstein and Roy M. Mersky, Fundamentals of Legal Research, 8th ed. (Foundation Press, 2002) p. 1

3 Sources of Kenyan Law The Constitution of Kenya Acts of Parliament Treaties and Conventions General Principles of International Law English Statutes of General Application in force in England on 12 th August 1887 The substance of the common law, the doctrines of equity and the statutes of general application in force in England on the 12th August,1897, and the procedure and practice observed in courts of justice in England at that date African Customary law Judicial precedents

4 Publish the information in books (KLR & Laws of Kenya volumes) Publish online – (www.kenyalaw.org)www.kenyalaw.org Integrate legal research in electronic case flow management systems Provide a research support help desk – BRH Provide legal research training induction training for judicial researchers Librarians training East Africa Community training on case flow management Magistrates training Provide continuing education and training on legal research – CLE Publishing an interdisciplinary journal – Kenya Law Review Journal The approach of the NCLR in legal research support for judicial officers/legal fraternity

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6 Case law provides the bulk of law in Kenya and acts as a source of law through the mechanism of the doctrine of precedent. According to this doctrine, a court is bound by the decisions of a court above it and, usually, by a court of equivalent standing. Superior courts have the power to overrule decisions of lower courts and in certain cases to overrule their own decisions. Because of this reliance, it is vital to find relevant cases and make sure they are still good law.

7 Elements of a Case Case decisions have many common elements. The following are basic elements of a case on 1.Parties Names 2. Case Number 3.Court Station 4.Judge(s) 5.Citation 6. Catchwords

8 The concept of precedent After a case has been decided, it can be applied to subsequent cases, I.e. it becomes precedent for future cases. The process of using cases in this way is called stare decisis. Because of this reliance, it is vital to find relevant cases and make sure they are still good law. Parties names Date of delivery Court station citation Case Number Judge(s)

9 Case search General search Has been integrated with the Google custom search. The Google search is simple, just type in whatever you are looking for, case name, number, judges name, cause list, date etc, click the search button to the right of the tab or hit the enter key on your key board and Google will search the website for content that is relevant to your search.

10 Case search General search The general search has been integrated with the Google custom search. the Google search is simple, just type in whatever you are looking for, case name, number, judges name, cause list, date etc, click the search button to the right of the tab or hit the enter key on your key board and Google will search the website for content that is relevant to your search.

11 To make your search more useful keep your search criteria simple. The search engine is not human, it is a program that matches the words you give to pages on the website so use the words that are most likely to appear. The search is case insensitive and punctuations are generally ignored but ensure all your search terms are spelt correctly. Searching in general mode is suited for finding any or all cases that contain a given word, set of words or phrase used.

12 Specific Search Searching in the specific search mode is suited for finding a particular case when you have details that describe the case at hand e.g. (names of parties, case number, and date of delivery) To find a case according to its details (names of parties, case number, and date of delivery) one need not fill in all the fields. You may use any one or more search criteria; search using whatever information you have.

13 Specific Search Searching in the specific search mode is suited for finding a particular case when you have details that describe the case at hand e.g. (names of parties, case number, and date of delivery) To find a case according to its details (names of parties, case number, and date of delivery) one need not fill in all the fields. You may use any one or more search criteria; search using whatever information you have.

14 Using only one or two search criteria will yield a high number of results – using more search criteria significantly reduces the number of results yielded. When searching for a case using the names of parties (specific search mode) you need not fill in all the names. Any or two names of either party will suffice. Similarly, if you are searching for a case by case number, do not type in the entire length of the case number (e.g. instead of entering Miscellaneous criminal Application No. 94 of 2004, you may simply enter 94 of 2004) Ensure all your search terms are spelt correctly. Try to use alternative spellings of names, words or acronyms appearing in your search terms. Searching in general mode is suited for finding any or all cases that contain a given word, set of words or phrase.

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16 Laws of Kenya NCLR Mandate – to revise, consolidate and publish the official Laws of Kenya Through legal notice number 29 of 2009, the Attorney General delegated his powers of law revision to the National Council for Law Reporting. To download the full text of a statute, on the Laws of Kenya tab, the icon Selected PDF Statutes contains the several statutes that have been fully revised and converted into the format. This category is however not exhaustive as the revision process is still ongoing. All the laws can be obtained under the Laws of Kenya Database.

17 OR searches often produce large numbers of documents. Combining search terms with the NOT operator narrows a search by excluding unwanted terms. To find cases on children but not infants the engine will search for cases containing the word children and exclude all cases with the word infant. Boolean search terms may be combined in various ways to carefully refine searches. Examples: murder OR manslaughter AND sentence advocate AND taxation NOT KRA children NOT infants AND adoption

18 OR searches often produce large numbers of documents. Combining search terms with the NOT operator narrows a search by excluding unwanted terms. To find cases on children but not infants the engine will search for cases containing the word children and exclude all cases with the word infant. Boolean search terms may be combined in various ways to carefully refine searches. Examples: murder OR manslaughter AND sentence advocate AND taxation NOT KRA children NOT infants AND adoption

19 Archive of the Kenya Gazette from 1906 plus selected notices from current editions updated weekly. The search engine for the Kenya Gazette Archive has been developed in such a way as to enable full-text search within and across the entire collection of Kenya Gazette editions Kenya Gazette

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22 Access to the historical and current records of the debates of the Kenya National Assembly and previous parliaments or legislatures dating as far as 1960 and coming forward Hansard

23 The Kenya Law Review Journal is a platform for the scholarly analysis of Kenyan law and interdisciplinary research on the law

24 Kenya Law Review Journal

25 The Kenya Law Review Journal is a platform for the scholarly analysis of Kenyan law and interdisciplinary research on the law Kenya Law Review Journal

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27 The Kenya Law Review Journal is a platform for the scholarly analysis of Kenyan law and interdisciplinary research on the law Kenya Law Review Journal

28 The Wakilishare Forum is an open and moderated discussion forum on any subject concerning the law and the legal system in Kenya. Wakilishare

29 Established in November 2006, the Bench Research Hotline (BRH) is a research help desk whose mandate is to receive research queries from judicial officers, conduct legal research and provide feedback on the queries. Supports the administration of justice by providing judicial officers, especially Judges of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with dedicated research facilities taking advantage of online legal database resources combining it with case law, statute law, legal commentaries, and encyclopedic data. Bench Research Hotline

30 1.Seek to understand the question posed (Do you and the user have the same understanding of the question?) 2.Ascertain the time limit you have in conducting your research. 3.Identify the primary sources of law, or primary authority, in a given jurisdiction such as statutes, cases and regulations, etc. Provide research assistants or a research support help desk - BRH

31 THE BENCH RESEARCH HOTLINE Query A BRH Query B Query C Query D Feedback Hard Copy Feedback Soft Copy courier fax telephone courier walk-in

32 Research Queries logged into a central system

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34 The Law Society of Kenya officially made NCLR a certified CLE provider. NCLR undertakes advocates training on emerging jurisprudence in Kenya under the programme. NCLRs Research & Development Department will be the responsible for the running of this activity. The department is mandated to undertake continuous legal research on frontier issues in jurisprudence and would be mainly responsible in the preparation of material to be used during the trainings. Continuing legal education training

35 1.Role of legal research in case flow management – Judicial officers from the East African Community 2. Librarians training 3.Magistrates training 4.Judicial Researchers induction training Legal Research training

36 1.Seek to understand the question posed (Do you and the user have the same understanding of the question?) 2.Ascertain the time limit you have in conducting your research. 3.Identify the primary sources of law, or primary authority, in a given jurisdiction such as statutes, cases and regulations, etc. Research steps

37 THE END


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