1.2. Project DIAL - objectives
`Project DIAL' is formally titled `Feasibility Study For Project DIAL
(Development of the Internet for Asian Law) (RETA No. 5701)' and describedhttp://www.asiandevbank.org/law/bulletin/bdmcs.htm]
Feasibility study on the creation of the ADB Development Law
Electronic Resource Center (DLERC) to provide electronic (Internet) access by
DMC officials involved in the law reform process to (i) full text legislative
and regulatory materials drawn from developed countries and developing
countries in those areas of law reform currently of greatest interest to ADB's
DMCs; and (ii) a panel of legal experts to provide preliminary advice on
international experience with such laws and regulations.
feasibility study is required to address the following matters (paraphrasing
the original terms of reference):
- The extent of potential demand for this type of facility among DMCs;
- The extent of current and potential Internet access by interested parties
in DMCS, particularly those officials involved in the development of
legislation (the project's primary audience), but also other lawyers, law
students, NGOs etc (the `secondary audiences').
- The extend of DMC need for access to experts in law reform, and in which
- The types of law reform related resources now and prospectively available
via the Internet in both developed and developing countries world-wide.
- The types of indexing and search tools that need to be developed to
provide effective access to these materials.
- Any differentiation of access to these facilities between the primary and
secondary audiences that may be needed.
- Whether and to what extent user charges should be paid for use of any of
- The appropriate role for the Bank and other parties to play in the
creation and long-term development of such facilities.
The project also required the development of prototype resources on the
Internet to demonstrate the use and value of such facilities to DMCs and to
other interested parties.
The terms of reference were clarified in project inception meetings at the Bank
in April 1997 between the project consultants and the Office of General Counsel
(OGC) of the Bank, and in particular in these respects:
Bank is already involved in a number of projects concerning computerised legal
Since February 1996, the Bank has hosted a law and development Internet
discussion list, LAW-DEV, to provide an international forum for research,
discussion and information exchange `on creating and sustaining legal
environments conducive to economic growth and equitable social development in
the emerging markets of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union'http://www.asiandevbank.org/law/law&devt/law-dev.htm].
LAW-DEV is an unmoderated list, open to the public, and currently has more than
500 subscribers in over 40 countries. LAW-DEV is discussed further in Chapter 7
in relation to the DIALogue component of Project DIAL.
The Bank is also involved in projects to develop the legal information
resources of specific DMCs. For example, the purpose of the Study on the Legal
Information System of PRC (T.A. No. 2707-PRC) is `to assist the Government with
publication and dissemination of official foreign language translation of laws
and regulations of the People's Republic of China to increase transparency of
the legal environment for foreign companies and others interested in trade,
investment and other forms of economic exchange with the country.'
Other international organisations involved in law reform are also assisting the
development of projects which will assist lawyers in developing countries and
elsewhere use the Internet to obtain legal information. A notable example is
the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) project at the US Library of
Congress, aspects of which involve the World Bank and the Inter-Americas
Development Bank. GLIN is discussed in Chapter 2, and involves a different
approach to some of the same issues addressed in Project DIAL.
- Because the main intended audiences for the project are located in the
Bank's DMCs, any DIAL facilities will have to be available at no cost or low
- This project does not involve converting otherwise unavailable legislation
and related materials from DMCs and making them available via Internet. It
involves finding ways to create more effective access to those legislative
materials which are already being placed on the Internet, not adding to the
stock of such materials. It is in essence a project to made existing
information more accessible, through indexing and (to the extent possible)
provision of search facilities.
- The access mechanisms to be included in the prototype are to include
methods of remote full-text searching, not just the provision of hypertext
links to existing materials.
- The development of the prototype Project DIAL Internet facilities is a
very significant component of the overall project.
- If the Bank decided to play a role in the further development of DIAL
facilities after the completion of this feasibility study (a matter on which
the terms of reference required recommendations to be made), then this would be
likely to take the form of Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) a form of
Technical Assistance `for the promotion of activities of a regional nature
covering more than one DMC'http://www.asiandevbank.org/pubguide/taac/taa-02B.htm].
Any RETA would be likely to operate only for a short duration (perhaps up to
four years), as the Bank is not involved in long-term funding of projects of
this nature. For these reasons, recommendations concerning possible expenditure
and involvement by the Bank are referred to as `a follow-on RETA' for