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Year : 2019, Volume : 6, Issue : 1
First page : ( 8) Last page : ( 15)
Print ISSN : 2348-1765. Online ISSN : 2348-1773. Published online : 2019  1.
Article DOI : 10.5958/2348-1773.2019.00002.X

Legal Information Access of Lawyers in Private Practice: A Case Study of the Kingdom of Eswatini

Mathabela Ntombikayise N.1,*

1Assistant Librarian, Reader's Services-Law Collection, University of Eswatini Libraries, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kwaluseni, Swaziland

*Email id: mathax@uniswa.sz

Received:  18  December,  2018; Accepted:  15  February,  2019.

Abstract

For a society to have justice, it is important to ensure access to timely legal information. Eswatini has a legal professional body, the Eswatini Law Society (ELS) where all practicing lawyers are members. Its main role is to promote and support lawyers in various aspects of their profession. Access to quality legal information for its membership is supposed to be one of the ELSs tasks. It is a general expectation that information is a fundamental right for all; hence, States have to ensure information provision. Therefore, access to legal information is acknowledged as playing a significant role in the justice service delivery hence libraries play a significant role. The study investigated four main libraries that have legal resources accessible to lawyers in the country with the aim of assessing access by private practicing lawyers. These are the University of Eswatini libraries, Eswatini National Library Services, Ministry of Justice Library as well as the Eswatini Law Society Library. The objective of the study was to examine the information needs and legal information access of private practicing lawyers. In this regard, libraries with law collections accessible to lawyers including the ELS library were investigated to determine the extent to which such information is accessible. Wilson's 1999 model of information behaviour was used as it was seen as comprehensive in human information behaviour covering information needs and factors of information access. The study found that very few of the lawyers who responded to the questionnaire access legal information from the four libraries identified in the study. The major challenge being that legal information resources are inadequate or outdated and there is a lack of adequate electronic legal resources in all the collections.

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Keywords

Information access, Information needs, Information seeking behaviour, Legal information resources, Eswatini.

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