LawAfrica is the regional giant in legal and paralegal publishing, a specialty it has perfected for over a decade. It prides itself in serving professionals, governments, students and non-governmental organizations around the world, and is currently expanding into Africa’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.
To be the principal legal and related information provider in Africa
To uplift the standards of legal research by providing up to date and relevant decision support information
Brief History of LawAfrica
LawAfrica was founded in 1999 to fill the gap in legal publishing in East Africa.
It began when Katarina Juma noticed the difficulty that existed in getting materials of any court rulings. While at the university in the US she was assigned on a project with another Kenyan student who had also experienced the same difficulty. She noticed that it was very easy to get rulings for American courts in computer form, and she thought of creating a business using the same concept.
On coming back to Kenya, Katarina teamed up with Maina Waweru. They saw an untapped publishing niche in the East African legal field, and with a burning entrepreneurial spirit -while still working at full-time jobs- the two young lawyers started the company that would eventually become LawAfrica in 1999. Armed with a passion to contribute to the development of the African continent and fulfill the age-old maxim that ‘knowledge is power’, they set up the pioneer online law-reporting firm in East Africa.
In 2000, LawAfrica acquired the rights to reprint the East Africa Law Reports - a series of law reports that date back to 1957 when the East Africa Community was initially formed with the principal members being Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. That year, LawAfrica also created the very first online presence for the Law Society of Kenya, a major milestone for the legal community.
In 2001, LawAfrica formed a Book Trading Division that negotiates continent-wide trade discounts for books then imports them from various overseas suppliers. The importance this of this division is that it promotes access to justice through the provision of the right information, to the right people at the right and very affordable prices. That same year (2001) also saw the Company expand to Uganda when it set up LawAfrica Publishing (Uganda) Ltd in Kampala.
In 2005, LawAfrica joined hands with the East Africa Law Society. This culminated into the launch of the one-of-a-kind Compendium of Codes of Legal Practice, Conduct, Ethics and Etiquette in East Africa. The project was oiled with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). That same year (2005), armed with a commitment to customer service excellence, LawAfrica ventured into training its existing clients, a project that was mainly aimed at supplementing its information chain. LawAfrica also firmly set foot in Tanzania, developing a partnership with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to reprint the Zanzibar Protectorate Law Reports covering the period from 1868 to 1956.
In 2006, LawAfrica set up a New Business Division, with a specific focus to identify, explore and conquer new market areas in legal information publishing. The venture bore fruit with the entrance of LawAfrica into Southern Sudan and developed an electronic dataset of the Sudan Law Reports and Journal dating back to 1953 and putting together the 1st legal library in Southern Sudan - Ministry of Legal Affairs.
In 2009, LawAfrica Uganda successfully entered into a joint venture with Uganda Law Society (The Official Bar Association of Uganda with over 1,500 members) which culminated in the publishing of the Uganda Law Society Reports.
In 2010, LawAfrica began consolidating and publishing the Laws of Tanzania (Main and Subsidiary Legislation) and Tanzania Law Reports, the cornerstone of the legal framework of the Republic of Tanzania. That same year, the first ever Kenyan commentary on civil Case Law & Procedure, Odunga’s Digest in hardback volumes was published. 2010 also saw LawAfrica partner with the Government of Uganda through the Law Development Centre – established in 1970 by the Law Development Centre Act (Cap. 132, Laws of Uganda) for the publishing of Uganda Law Reports - the official Law Reports of the Republic of Uganda. The same year (2010), LawAfrica won the contract from the Financial and Legal Sector Technical Assistance Project (Government of Kenya and World Bank funded project) for the publishing and printing of select laws for the National Council of Law Reporting (established under the National Council for Law Reporting Act, Cap 11, Laws of Kenya). The key legislations namely, Commercial Law, Family Law, Public Law, Finance Law, Land Law and most notably, the Grey Book.
In 2011, LawAfrica published the Sudan Law Reports and Journal with funding from International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) for the Sudan Judiciary. The same year saw the publication of the 1st Supplement on Odunga’s Digest on Civil cases to update the previous publication with changes in the new constitution. That same year, LawAfrica released the East Africa Protectorate Law Reports (1909 - 1933) and the East Africa Court of Appeal Reports (1934 - 1956), thereby increasing recorded years of Law Reporting to 102 years and showcasing how case law reporting has evolved since the days of King Henry to the present Queen Elizabeth rule. That same year LawAfrica acquired Adobe InDesign, the most advanced desktop publishing software program and started publishing Laws of Kenya, law reports and commentaries (local titles) in-house.
In 2012, LawAfrica published Uganda Protectorate Law Reports dating back to 1901 and published its 100th Commentary. LawAfrica also started designing its marketing materials in-house by utilizing staff with graphic design skills and saw the creation of an IT department to handle the company’s computer systems, networking and general support. The company also released 3 new issues of Laws of Kenya, a new yearly record. In addition, LawAfrica redesigned its website to enhance the database law reports engine, add applications and features, integrate the database and applications enable online payment.
In 2013 LawAfrica made the big move and acquired its own permanent premises. The same year the production team worked hard and saw LawAfrica release over 20 new local titles (commentaries) including the design of all the title covers and marketing materials in-house. The same year saw the online team increase the LawAfrica Law Reports (LLR) online database by over 5,000 cases. In keeping up with technology, LawAfrica also collaborated with ekitabu to launched 10 titles in epub format which can be purchased, downloaded and read from smartphones, tablets and laptops.
This year, 2014 LawAfrica has released more titles and expanded the online database to include East Africa Law Reports (EALR, 1957-2013), East Africa Court of Appeal Reports (EACA, 1934-1956) and East Africa Protectorate Law Reports (EAPLR, 1909-1933). LawAfrica has also launched ebooks for the international market through a partnership with African Books Collective. This year has also seen the start of the first comeprehensive legal index.
Although LawAfrica began as an online law publisher, we are now viewed as the regional leader in the provision of law and related information and services. Given our professional staff and business portfolio which is a perfect blend of international expertise and local knowledge, we look forward to a brighter and better future.