HOME Workshops The Institute of Law at Birzeit University Launches The Birzeit Portal for Legal Knowledge

The Institute of Law at Birzeit University Launches The Birzeit Portal for Legal Knowledge

On Monday, 7 December 2015, the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birzeit University launched the Birzeit Portal for Legal Knowledge.

The ceremony included the participation of His Excellency Mr. Hasan al Ouri, Advisor to the Palestinian President for Legal Affairs; His Excellency Mr. Ali Abu Dayyak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of the Bureau of Legal Counsel and Legislation; Dr. Jamal al Khatib, Assistant to the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers for Legal Affairs; Mr. Marc Frings, Head of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) ‒ Palestinian Territories; Dr. Ghassan Faramand, IoL Director; and Mr. Mahmoud Alawneh, Manager of the IoL’s Legislative Support Department (LSD). In addition to members of the legal community, the event also brought together a select number of representatives of government bodies and civil society actors with interest in the development of legislative and legal activity and promotion of the rule of law.

Having welcomed the audience, Dr. Faramand highlighted the IoL’s historical role in improving legal structures within the Palestinian legal system. Informed by legal informatics, the IoL provides all sorts of legislation through the Palestinian Legal and Judicial System (Al-Muqtafi). Using electronic platforms, Dr. Faramand asserted that the Birzeit Portal for Legal Knowledge would complement the role the IoL has played in developing and promoting legal Knowledge.

Drawing attention to Al-Muqtafi, Mr. Ouri highlighted the longstanding achievements made by the IoL. The IoL has played a positive role and exerted a favourable impact on members of the legal community. In addition to providing legal Knowledge, the IoL has contributed to consolidating the rule of law principle, realising justice, and enhancing the justice system in Palestine. Mr. Ouri stated that the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge “is now launched in the midst of current challenges posed by, and confrontation with, the Israeli occupying authorities on the Palestinian soil.” The Israeli occupying regime is making an unrelenting effort to undermine Palestinian achievements. Having launched this portal, the IoL demonstrates and confirms that the Palestinian people are challenging the occupation by means of science and knowledge.

Mr. Abu Dayyak explained that the complex Palestinian legal system, which dates back to various, successive periods, has rendered the Palestinian legislature’s task more difficult, creating a greater responsibility for upgrading, developing and consolidating legislation. Since the internal Palestinian divide took place, the legislative process has marked close cooperation between the government, President’s Office, parliamentary blocs, committees of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), human rights organisations, and civil society groups. According to Mr. Abu Dayyak, the latest outcome of such cooperation is the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge, which will provide a hub of interaction between legal institutions.

Dr. Al Khatib said the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge was a crucial step towards consolidating and improving legal awareness within the Palestinian society. The portal is an essential pillar that supports the Legislative Authority by providing legal e-services as well as easy and timely access to legal Knowledge. Legal bodies would, thus, be capable of delivering respective tasks both effectively and efficiently. Also ensuring a sound law enforcement process, Dr. Al Khatib emphasised that the portal would contribute to maintaining rule of law, “which we all seek to promote and enforce within the Palestinian society.”

Mr. Frings stated that cooperation between the KAS and IoL “focuses on promotion of the principles of rule of law, good governance, civil society empowerment, and legal pluralism. According to Mr. Frings, the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge is an outcome of longstanding cooperation between the KAS and IoL. Featuring a variety of interdisciplinary Knowledge, the portal plays a pivotal role, making available legal Knowledge to all Palestinian users. By providing needed legal Knowledge, the portal also influences the Palestinian decision making process.

Mr. Alawneh made a presentation on the idea of the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge, highlighting relevant context of development, philosophy, target groups, and contents. The portal is designed to develop an Knowledge tool that is devoted to promoting legal awareness of the Palestinian legal system. The portal characterises and streamlines working procedures and activities of the three powers. Based on technical tools and sound, systematic logical thinking, this platform is primarily set to generate analytical, critical legal thinking. Besides streamlining and providing easy access to legal Knowledge, the portal helps enhance legal sensitisation within the Palestinian society from across the spectrum. Through a participatory approach, the portal also fosters a community-based interaction.

In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted strengths of the Legal Portal for Legal Knowledge. Providing easy access to legal Knowledge, the portal is user friendly, comprehensive, inclusive of interactive aspects that promote community participation, and aligned with user needs from across the Palestinian society. Key recommendations included dissemination of the portal to the legal and civil communities. Palestinian court decisions need to be linked to the topics displayed on the portal. Focused policy papers will be developed to provide mechanisms needed to incorporate and align international conventions with national legislation.

The ceremony was organised with support from KAS ‒ Palestinian Territories.