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Ghana has a poor legal information culture. Ghana's statutes, law journal articles, law reports and regulatory notices that issue from government agencies are generally in bad shape. Regulatory notices are not systematically compiled, even by the agencies that issue them. Statutes have not been comprehensively consolidated and published since the mid-1950s.

They are not annotated or cross-referenced to case law and law journal articles. Our official law reports are several years in arrears. The leading law journals, UGLJ and RGL are published irregularly. No systematic collection has been made of foreign writings on Ghana law. In each of these categories, many important items are out of print.

The situation is improving. The Banking and Financial Law Journal has thankfully appeared and brightened this unfortunate scene. Private law reporting initiatives, such the Ghana Bar Law Reports, and the Supreme Court Law Reports, along with a host of other monographs together constitute a rebirth of legal publishing. The current interest of donor agencies in legal sector development projects is sure to generate an improved legal information culture.

DataCenta's law database project, promises to provide a quantum boost to the development of Ghana's legal information culture. Internet and CD-Rom dissemination of Ghana's published legal materials will make law more accessible than ever before. This is only a start. DataCenta will move forward to the tasks of consolidation, cross-referencing and annotation of statutes to case law and to law journal articles. This will improve the speed and ease with which the law can be accessed.

Forum, the online legal newsletter will hopefully provide a lively vehicle for discussion of legal issues, important developments, cases and publications such as has never been available in Ghana.

At the end of the day if this project makes a contribution to the development of the rule of law in Ghana, all the effort involved to date will have been worthwhile.


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