HURIDOCS has been working with the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) to develop a on-line tool called the Caselaw Analyzer, which will allow IHRDA (and other groups in the future) to “easily browse inter-related court decisions, to quickly access the primary caselaw for a given type of [human rights] violation, to highlight and comment relevant sections of a decision, and to share their commentary with their colleagues and work collaboratively on case research” (see the full description of the program and project here). The goal of the project was to help IHRDA have quick access to both the body of court decisions the organization has collected from the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), and to provide a means of quickly and efficiently accessing caselaw research lawyers have already done in order to apply that research to new cases that the organization takes on. You can access IHRDA’s Caselaw Analyzer connection here. As stated in HURIDOCS’ description of the program, there is a particular challenge associated with using and managing caselaw that this new program will help organizations like IHRDA address:
Court decisions often reference specific paragraphs of other decisions, which in turn reference other decisions. Caselaw Analyser allows you to easily navigate from one decision to the next. And because it uses inline-browsing to jump stright to the quoted paragraph, you don’t even lose your page. Also, all incoming and outgoing citations are listed next to the text of the decision.
Also, CaseLaw Analyser will use a specifically designed CaseRank algorythm, meaning that the decisions that are the most often referenced, will appear first (like Google’s PageRank). This gives the user an indication of which cases are the most important: the primary caselaw.
In addition to assisting in the organization and management of such data, in the future, the program will also offer a social networking and collaboration feature that will allow multiple individuals within an organization to develop a case together on-line. This feature will permit organization members working over a broad geographic area to consolidate notes, caselaw, and opinions as they develop new cases.
The International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology (ITRT) is designed to facilitate information retrieval and exchange. In print since 1988, the Thesaurus has proven an essential resource for librarians and information workers. However, the specialized nature of and ongoing evolution in refugee terminology meant that the print editions were soon outdated. In 2002, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Library and Forced Migration Online (FMO) began discussing how to create a web-based version of the Thesaurus that would be more responsive to the needs of its users.
The Thesaurus is now available as an interactive and searchable tool online, in English, French and Spanish. The editors hope that this new version will serve as a more efficient medium for identifying relevant indexing terminology and as a value-added mechanism for managing refugee- and forced migration-related information.
This on-line resource should be an important tool for organizations seeking to categorize and catalog refugee cases as they are documented.