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3.10. Recommendations - Assisting use of DIAL by DMC users

The main priority, and cost involved, in ongoing development of Project DIAL and in any follow-on RETA will be at the `supplier end', the development and maintenance of the DIAL facilities. These factors are considered in more detail in the following Chapters.

Separate consideration must be give to what steps the Bank and interested DMC governments could take (within justifiable cost limits) at the `user end', in order to facilitate effective usage of the DIAL facilities by their intended audiences. The maximum utility from the development of the DIAL facilities will be obtained if potential users in the widest range of DMCs have sufficient access to the Internet and understand how to make the most effective use of the DIAL facilities.

We assume that it would not be possible at this stage for the Bank to provide specific assistance in DIAL access and use to every DMC, due to the costs involved and the early stage of the Project. However, it would be valuable to develop a model for effective DIAL access in a selection of DMCs, as this would provide a number of benefits:


3.10.1. Equipment and communications costs

Although survey respondents identified communications costs as the main potential impediment to DIAL access, it may not be sensible to make this a high priority in expenditure of Project DIAL funds. There is obviously a limit to the extent to which the Bank could or should underwrite internet access costs in DMC law-related Ministries, in order to further the aims of this Project. The costs of underwriting access in any open-ended way would be unpredictable, and the costs of internet access are small compared with the potential benefits that Project DIAL can deliver. It would also be very difficult and unduly intrusive to ensure on an ongoing basis that Internet usage was for DIAL use.

Governments in DMCs are likely to provide computing facilities and Internet access to legislation officials for a range of reasons and potential uses, with the use of Project DIAL facilities being only one of many potential uses. Users will make the best use of Project DIAL if use of the Internet becomes a routine part of their working lives, not something divorced from normal routine. It would therefore usually be extremely difficult to assess to what extent the provision of any computing facilities, or communications costs, could be attributed to DIAL use. In addition, telecommunications costs are generally declining around the world, and this element is likely to be less of an impediment to access in future.

The provision of effective access to the Internet for legislation officials is the most tangible indication that a DMC government can give that it wishes to make use of Project DIAL. It can be seen as that country's contribution which helps justify the cost (to the Bank or other funding bodies) of provision of assistance in DIAL training, and (perhaps) admission of that country's officials as Authorised Users of DIALogue.


3.10.2. Training of users

Once a country has provided Internet access to officials, provision of various forms of training in Project DIAL use, should form part of the Project priorities. Various forms of training are possible, and it is probable that a mix of forms should be supported, depending on available funds. It is possible that DMC governments would be willing to pay for some training, but it is equally reasonable for the Bank or funding bodies to bear some of this cost.

Provision of training via the Internet

The most obvious and probably most cost-effective form of training, given the nature of the subject matter, is training delivered via the Internet. This will also support all other forms of training that may be considered, and make them more effective.

One element of such training, accessible to any users of DIAL, is the type of interactive `study guide' of which a simple example is provided in the interactive hypertext Guided Tour of Project DIAL[104]http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/dial/tour.html]. On-line tutorials on use of the AustLII system are also under development[105]http://avoca.austlii.edu.au/~dan/tutorials/].

A more effective but more resource-intensive method of providing Internet-based training is to offer a course running for some weeks where a hypertext study guide is supplemented by e-mail contact between students and teacher, and possibly an e-mail discussion group open only to the students in the group. Students can then be required to do research exercises, and have group discussions of any problems they encounter. It would be possible to offer such a course to 40 or more legislation officials from DMCs at a time. Models for such forms of teaching are available[106]http://www2.austlii.edu.au/itlaw/]. Since such courses involve no travel costs for either teacher or students, and can be done `out of hours' at times of the student's choosing, there are significant cost advantages. However, the required teaching resources are significant, and the highest priority for such courses would be `train the trainer' courses, where those who are admitted to the course have made a commitment to `on-training' of other legislation officials in their country in Project DIAL use.

There is a valuable potential symbiosis with the DIALogue facility, if anyone who had completed such a course then became an Authorised User of DIALogue, so that the DIALogue facility can become one of the ways in which they maintained their `DIAL expertise'.

Incorporation of DIAL training in training of legal officials

If a DMC is undertaking some form of systematic training of legal officials, then it may be sensible to consider providing DIAL training as part of this. This may involve an expert in DIAL research travelling to the location where the training course is taking place in order to give a few days intensive training courses. Those trained could then be required to do follow-up training via Internet.

Centralised `train the trainer' courses

Another alternative, but more expensive for either DMC governments or funding bodies, is to bring key officials from a range of countries to a central location (such as the Bank, or the location of the DIAL facilities) for group training. The highest priority should be `train the trainer' courses, rather than high level `end users'. Again, those trained could then be required to do follow-up training via Internet.

The International Development Law Institute (IDLI), based in Rome and the Philippines, runs regular training for lawyers from developing countries, and it could be very valuable if courses on Internet legal research and DIAL use were included in its programmes.

Delivery of training

The parties best placed to develop and deliver training, at least in the first instance, will be those who are operating the DIAL facility. Whichever mix of training options is chosen , it seems that the development of training resources and delivery of training will be a substantial part of the task of those operating the ongoing DIAL facilities.


3.10.3. Identification of `key agencies' for Project DIAL assistance

In any follow-on RETA it will be necessary to choose one or more agencies in each selected DMC to whom assistance and training will be provided, as it will not be possible to provide training to all agencies involved in the drafting and reform of legislation.

One strategy for well-targeted publicity and/or training concerning Project DIAL may be to identify one such `key legislation agency' for each country, and to encourage that agency to become expert in locating and using foreign law resources on the Internet, and to encourage other Ministries involved in the drafting and reform of legislation to also use these resources.

Potential `key legislation agencies' to participate in this aspect of Project DIAL include the State Secretariat in Indonesia, the Ministry of Justice in Vietnam, the Ministry of Law and Justice in Pakistan, the Ministry of Law and Justice in India, and the Bureau of Legislation Affairs in China.

In keeping with the previous discussion and recommendations, it should be a condition of the choice of agency for involvement in this aspect of the project that it makes some commitment to the provision of internet access costs for its legislative staff, and that it has some willingness to communicate and encourage DIAL use among other legislative officials in the country.

However, the interest, capacity and suitability of any particular agency to be involved in any follow-on RETA cannot be decided in advance of further information about an agency and discussions with it, so it would be unwise to specify at the outset the agencies to offered involvement.


3.10.4. Summary of recommendations - Assisting use of DIAL by DMC users

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