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The Right Of Access To Legislation – Public Access To Legislation

The Right of Access to Legislation webpage features continuous academic research and publication by Leesi Ebenezer Mitee, a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, on contemporary issues relating to access to legislation. His research interest in this area emanated from his Master of Laws (LLM) Dissertation, details of which appear below.

Author: Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Title: Public Access to Legislation and Its Inherent Human Rights: A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom and Nigeria 2006 (LLM)

University: University of Huddersfield, England, United Kingdom


The doctrine that ignorance of the law is no excuse, because everybody is presumed to know the law, casts a parallel duty on every Government to guarantee adequate provision of public access to legislation. Technological, economic, and socio-cultural factors pose the formidable challenge of performing that duty. This study aims to articulate systematically the emerging doctrine of public access to legislation, with particular emphasis on its inherent human rights; to evaluate critically its implementation in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, using a comparative approach; and to propose functional initiatives for improvement and reform in both jurisdictions and on the global level. It is limited to textual access, with only brief references to intelligible and organisational access. The comparative law research method advocated by Professor Reitz was used. Relevant field surveys were conducted for purposes of ascertaining the available means of providing public access to legislation in both jurisdictions. In addition, the researcher developed a model for generating quantitative assessment in comparative law methodology. The major human rights inherent in public access to legislation are the right of access to public information, right to education, right to indigenous languages, disability rights, and right of access to public service and participation in public affairs. The United Kingdom has recorded significant progress as opposed to Nigeria, where public access to legislation is virtually non-existent, which suggests the likelihood of this trend between some developed and developing countries, based on objective parameters. Many countries are likely to benefit from the numerous national and global initiatives proposed for enhancing public access to legislation, which include creation of the right of access to legislation as a new human right and amendment of Article 2(4) of the Berne Convention to encourage the exemption of copyright from legislation and other Government works.





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