Skip to content

A Complete Database of African Law

August 31, 2021

I ran across an article this afternoon about three African legal tech startups, one being a multinational data base of law from across the continent of Africa.

Senegal based, Sunulex.Africa was founded in 2014 by Nafissatou Tine, a lawyer and entrepreneur when she noted the absence of Senegalese and sub-regional legal information online. 

She created Sunulex to make legal texts accessible and understandable to citizens – and legal professionals.

The problem? Access to African legal information is a real challenge for the public and lawyers, whether they be in Africa or anywhere, worldwide.

Companies, individuals, lawyers and academia need to count on reliable information – and, unfortunately, Google can not be relied on to give you everything you need.

The answer was publishing legislation, court decisions, thesis, books and more.

Sunulex has located, accessed, digitized and published online, African legal and fiscal resources (legislation, court decisions, legal scientific texts). Available on subscription, their database contains more than 70,000 official documents.

Subscription leaves the data base out of reach for most of the public. But the point of gathering law which had not been gathered before should not be lost on those of us of interested in building archives of the law.

The first thing I thought when reading about Sunulex was African legal blogs?

  • How many are there?
  • Are the blogs written solely by academics?
  • Do lawyers and law firms publish blogs in Africa?
  • Would legal blogs be more likely to take off in Africa, where traditional legal publishing and legal libraries filled with the law, including secondary law, may not have been as prevalent?
  • Are there lists of African Legal Blogs?
  • Are ethics rules our cultural norms that hinder or support legal blogs?
  • What if African legal professionals were provided a legal blog publishing platform and the necessary straining and support? Would they publish niche focused legal blogs?

Biggest question would be why wouldn’t an organization such as Sunulex include credible African legal blogs in its data base?

  • Annotate primary law with insight and commentary from blogging African legal professionals.
  • Vetted blogs.
  • Published in any language.

With African legal blogs, Sunulex would truly have a complete database of African law.