Digitalization, Fragmentation, and Justice in Nigeria

ABSTRACT:

The digital revolution in Africa has expanded access to technology, particularly mobile phones and software applications, across various sectors. This transformation is likely driven by Africa's young, growing tech-savvy population. Regardless of the transformation’s source, digitalization in Africa remains influenced by language, the legacy of colonialism, exclusion, and societal divides. 

The legal field has also undergone significant digitalization, particularly in countries like Nigeria and across Africa. Legal digitalization efforts have covered legal information, court administration, legislation, advocacy, and access to legal resources, but they have been uneven and varied. Fragmentation is a prominent issue, with uneven implementation of digital initiatives and a lack of interoperability among legal platforms. 

Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) have played a crucial role in providing free access to legal information in Africa, benefiting not only legal professionals but also society in general. The digitalization of law in African contexts offers valuable lessons for future efforts and how philanthropic organizations can support these initiatives. Ensuring equitable legal participation and access to justice requires flexibility, regular evaluation, and careful consideration of technology and design choices.

This chapter focuses on the impact of digitalization of the law, particularly as digitalization relates to the administration of justice and access to justice in Nigeria and other countries in Africa.