Development of the Internet for Asian Law

Access to World Law on the Internet


An Asian Development Bank Regional Technical Assistance Project

A Law Library on the Internet?

There is a huge and growing quantity of legal materials being made available on the Internet's World Wide Web (WWW). Most of it is available for free access to anyone with access to the Internet. Governments, courts and universities around the world are making the legal information they produce available in this way. There is already available the full texts of legislation from over 100 jurisdictions (including the leading jurisdictions of the world), major collections of case law, treaties, law reform reports and the texts of hundreds of law journals.

The quantity of available legal materials is growing rapidly. It is a free access Internet Law Library.

 The problem is that it is often very difficult to find the right legal material from around the world or from a specific country when you need it. Existing research tools on the Internet do not provide world-wide coverage and are often difficult to use with enough precision for legal research.

What is DIAL?

DIAL (Development of the Internet for Asian Law) is a project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which aims to make it easier to find and use legislation-related materials from this growing Internet Law Library. DIAL is a free access one-stop starting point to the world of legal information on the Internet.

DIAL is a catalog and search facility of legal materials on the Internet from all countries world-wide. DIAL does not add new legal materials to the Internet - it provides better access to what is already there.

What's in DIAL?

DIAL contains two main components.

Catalog of links DIAL is based on a well-structured catalog of links to thousands of the world's best law sites. Although DIAL is only in its early stages of development as yet, it already links to legislation from over 100 jurisdictions world-wide, hundreds of law journals and much other material. DIAL has material indexed by over 70 subjects.

Search engine As well as providing links to law sites, DIAL also allows the full text (every word) of most of these sites to be searched. The search facility already covers over 12 gigabytes of legal texts, and this is growing rapidly. The search facility is built by a web robot being sent to sites in the catalog.

What's special about DIAL?

Many additional DIAL features make it a powerful research resource:

Who operates DIAL?

The Asian Development Bank has provided funding for DIAL under a three year US$600,000 Law and Development Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) from July 1999-2002. The ADB's Office of the General Counsel oversees the Project.

DIAL is being carried out by an international project team from eight countries led by DataLex Pty Ltd.

 The Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) provides the host computer facilities, technical development and content development for DIAL. AustLII is a joint facility of the Law Faculties of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

DIAL is the part of AustLII's World Law facility which provides special emphasis on legislation-related materials. World Law (http://www.austlii.edu.au/links/) covers case law, legal education and other legal materials as well.

 The Regional Training Coordinator for DIAL (Philippines-based CD Technologies Asia, Inc) is assisted by local Training Associates in the seven countries in which in-country training in DIAL use will be provided.

 The DIAL team is also seeking contributions from content Contributors with expertise in the laws of particular countries or subjects.

Who benefits from DIAL?

Access to DIAL is free to all users, but DIAL is developed with the particular aim to assist the Developing Member Countries (DMCs) of the ADB in the process of law reform by providing efficient access to a world-wide online library of legislation related materials. DIAL's first priority target audience is the law reform and legal drafting personnel of DMCs who do not otherwise have access to comparative law materials.

 DIAL is also intended to benefit legal education, the legal profession and the general public, particularly in Bank DMCs.

In-country training

The DIAL team will provide in-country training in internet legal research to government lawyers in selected DMCs: the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. DIAL's Regional Training Coordinator will establish DIAL Internet workstations at key locations in each country, and will assist the local Training Associate in each country to provide ongoing local training. All DIAL trainees receive ongoing support and assistance by DIAL's email user list.

On-line training and user list

DIAL will include on-line training facilities accessible to all DIAL users through the About DIAL page. User Guides and self-directed learning are available on-line.

DIAL users can obtain on-line support and receive news on new DIAL content and features by joining DIAL's email user list.


DIAL also includes DIALogue, an e-mail based facility by which Authorised Users in DMCs can obtain make contact with, and obtain some assistance from, panelists with expertise in particular legal subjects. The assistance might include brief statements of general principles, and guidance on resources and further contacts. Officials in DMCs are authorised as users by the ADB's Office of the General Counsel.


Further information about DIAL can be obtained from the DIAL home page at http://www.austlii.edu.au/dial/, or from any of the following:

An Asian Development Bank
Regional Technical Assistance Project