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A New and Improved Case Law Database

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A New and Improved Case Law Database

A New and Improved Case Law Database

By the Law Reporting Department


Law Reporting Department

The New Case Law Database

Kenya Law has launched a new Case Law database that meets the highest standards of database design and quality. Kenya Law recently upgraded its Case Law database that runs on its main website www.kenyalaw.org which contains cases collated from the superior courts of record of Kenya (the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Kenya and other courts and tribunals established under the Laws of Kenya)

Who is Kenya Law?

Kenya Law is the brand name of the National Council for Law Reporting, an award-winning service state corporation in the Judiciary, established under the National Council for Law Reporting Act, Cap.1A.

The mandate of Kenya Law is:

– To monitor and report on the development of Kenyan jurisprudence through the publication of the Kenya Law Reports;

– To revise, consolidate and publish the Laws of Kenya; and

– To undertake such other related publications and perform such other functions as may be conferred by law.

Kenya Law is led by Council of Members chaired by the Chief Justice and has a secretariat with members of staff led by a Chief Executive/Editor.

What are the features of the new case law data base?

a)   Scalability:

ü  This new database is built on a scalable architecture that can contain and manage huge amounts of documents and metadata and which represents the best international standards in openness, interoperability and technology neutrality, including Semantic Web and conformity to Akoma Ntoso 2.0 eXtensible Markup Language (XML) Schema.

b)   Workflow Management

The new database collapses the workflow processes for the collection, inventorying, editing and online publishing of judicial opinions into a stable, robust, user-friendly and secure user interface and an administrator’s back-end with a variety of features such as;

ü  capture of the workflow processes and mapping them seamlessly into the backend

ü  has a rich modern web-based functionality for creation and editing of content with rich text editing capabilities, dynamic content previews, tagging and/or classification and immediate feedback of saved content,

ü  support of simultaneous log-ins by multiple users with role based user access with clear separation of various functions and editing abilities of users,

ü   system audit log to trace user activities on the system,  and provide notification and task scheduling on the document processing chain through alerts, reminders and escalation notes,

ü   provides a mode through which back-end users can generate reports.

What is Case Search?

This is the service that enables the user to access the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of Kenyan case law from the superior courts of record dating from 1980 to date by a click of a button.

For our end users, they will be able to;

Enjoy a friendly web 2.0. Compliant user interface with powerful built-in search module where they will be able to perform simple and advanced search and filtering of cases such as,

  1. Full-text search,
  2. Boolean search,
  3. and be to able restrict search to metadata or the content of the document.

ü  Search results are paginated

ü  Search terms in context are highlighted in search results

ü  Search button and search options available on all user/front-end pages


How are the judicial opinions displayed?

ü  judicial opinions/documents are displayed along with metadata

ü  the database also enables publishing of the eventual case laws into both relational database and XML formats

Are the judicial opinions downloadable?

Yes, the end user can download the judicial opinions and has the following other options;

  1. Option to print
  2. Option to share individual document by email and on social media platforms
  3. Option to export document to a variety of formats, including XML, current and previous versions of MS Word, PDF

The database provides uniform formatting of exported, shared or downloaded documents including but not limited to optional display of metadata in exported document

Can I access the judicial opinions in Swahili language?

Yes, a number of selected case summaries have been translated to Swahili. We are also in the process of translating cases on public interest matters into Mwananchi friendly version.

How Interactive is the case law database?

ü  It allows the user to post comments with moderation by the admin.

ü  It allows the user to share/post content to social media.

How can I access the Case Law Data Base?


(a) Cost:

The case search is provided free of charge on www.kenyalaw.org/caselaw

(b) Accessibility:

The Case Law database conforms to the international standards for the accessibility of web content by persons of all abilities as outlined in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It is based on an open and interoperable technology (XML), can be accessed using a variety of devices and technology platforms and has features that make it easily accessible to persons with visual disabilities.

Can I access the Case Law database on my mobile device?

The front-end is optimized for access by a variety of media, including desktop computers, tablets computers and mobile devices. We are also in the process of integrating the case law data base to a mobile application that will run on Android.

Is the Case Law Database Search engine optimized?

The database lends itself to easily be crawled by internet search engines


How often will the Case Law Database be updated?

The  Case law database is  updated on a daily basis.

What other online publications can I access?

Kenya Law Case Updates

The “Kenya Law Case Updates” is an exclusive weekly newsletter that alerts its subscribers of precedent setting cases from the superior courts of record. The Case Updates contain cases that cover substantive and procedural issues as well as points of law of public interest.

Kenya Law Weekly e-Newsletter

The “Kenya Law Weekly e-Newsletter” is an online publication featuring write-ups of judicial opinions from the superior courts of record. Such judicial opinions are considered on the basis that they meet the guidelines under the Kenya Law Editorial Policy and that they advance Kenya’s indigenous jurisprudence. A selected judicial opinion for publication usually termed “Case of the Week”.

The Weekly e-Newsletter also contains excerpts of Gazette Notices from the Kenya Gazette (both weekly and Special Issue editions). These are selected gazette notices that touches on issues of public interest e.g. Public and State appointments, revocation of land titles, Practice Directions issued by the Chief Justice, etc.

How do I Subscribe to these two publications?

The subscription is FREE. Once a person has navigated the site to the publications page, all they are required to do is key-in their email address in a tab provided and they will receive an email prompting them to confirm their subscription.

What is Creative Commons and what is its association with Kenya Law?

Creative Commons (CC) (www.creativecommons.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the range of creative works available for others to share and build on legally. The organization has released a number of information labels (called licences) designed to enable the publishers and creators of other works to communicate with clarity and simplicity what copyright restrictions, if any, apply to their work.

Kenya Law is an affiliate and partner of Creative Commons and a member of the Creative Commons-Kenya team. Kenya Law is also a member of the Free Access to Law Movement (www.worldlii.org).  In these two roles, Kenya Law embraces and champions the open sharing of information, knowledge and creativity.

What copyright restrictions apply to the use of the Laws of Kenya?

As a  member of the Free Access to Law Movement, at Kenya Law we believe that:

  • Public legal information is part of the common heritage of humanity and maximizing   access to this information promotes Justice and the Rule of Law;
  • Public legal information is common property and should be accessible to all;
  • As an organization that has the public mandate to publish public legal information, we should not impose unfair restrictions on the use and reuse of that information by other persons.

By law, no person may claim copyright to the text of the Laws of Kenya. In that regard, while the text of the Laws of Kenya is in the public domain, the design, structure, metadata and format of the Laws as presented by Kenya Law is subject to a few restrictions and it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

This means that:

You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work

to make commercial use of the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

With the understanding that:

  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  • Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
  1. Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
  2. The author’s moral rights;
  3. Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.

Notice – For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

For more information go to: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ 

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