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Declaration on Free Access to Law

Legal information institutes of the world, meeting in Montreal, declare that:

Public legal information means legal information produced by public bodies that have a duty to produce law and make it public. It includes primary sources of law, such as legislation, case law and treaties, as well as various secondary (interpretative) public sources, such as reports on preparatory work and law reform, and resulting from boards of inquiry. It also includes legal documents created as a result of public funding.

Publicly funded secondary (interpretative) legal materials should be accessible for free but permission to republish is not always appropriate or possible. In particular free access to legal scholarship may be provided by legal scholarship repositories, legal information institutes or other means.

Legal information institutes:

All legal information institutes are encouraged to participate in regional or global free access to law networks.

Therefore, the legal information institutes agree:

The parties to this Declaration also support the principles stated in the 'Guiding Principles' on State obligations concerning free access to legal information developed by an expert group convened by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in October 2008, and the 'Law.Gov principles' for 'the dissemination of primary legal materials in the United States' developed in 2010 by Public Resources.org.

This declaration was made by legal information institutes meeting in Montreal in 2002, as amended at meetings in Sydney (2003), Paris (2004), Montreal (2007) and Ithaca (2012).