STATE SYSTEM OF LEGAL INFORMATION
Information on the Activity of the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus
The National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus (NCLI) is a central state scientific and practical institution in the sphere of computer accumulation, storage, systematization and the rendering for usage of standard legal information on paper and electronic (magnetic) carriers and the creation of an interstate system of legal information exchange.
The NCLI carries out its activities in accordance with the Edicts of the President of the Republic of Belarus of June 30, 1997 No. 338 "On Creation of the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus", of July 20, 1998 No. 369 "On the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus", of July, 24 1998 No. 376 "On Creation of the Computer Databank of Law Drafts of the Republic of Belarus", of October 30, 1998 No. 524 "On Measures on Improving the State System of Legal Information", of December 30, 2010 No. 712 "On Improvement of State System of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus" and by the range of other acts of legislation of the Republic of Belarus the main tasks of the NCLI are the following:
the creation and development of the state system of legal information, coordination of the activity in the sphere of introducing computer systems and databanks of legal information and also dissemination of legal information;
forming and managing the unified standard databank of legal information of the Republic of Belarus;
holding scientific researches in the sphere of legal informatization;
maintenance of interstate legal information exchange and,
participation in the preparation and holding of works on legal informatization.
On the basis of the Regulations on the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus approved by the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of October 30, 1998 No. 524 and within, its tasks the NCLI:
provides management of the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus and carries out its official publication;
forms and manages the standard databank of legal information of the Republic of Belarus and also the computer databank of law drafts of the Republic of Belarus;
organizes the dissemination of legal information;
participates in the creation of automated systems of inter-state legal information exchange and also in the formation of a single information space of the Commonwealth of Independent States;
carries out work on forming, managing and maintaining of the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus.
The Center has its affiliations in all oblast centers and in the City of Minsk. An absolute majority of its employees have higher education, as a rule, in legal, mathematic, technical engineering or philological fields.
The most important (or an important) result of the activity of the Center is that for the short term an effective state system of legal information based on application of modern information technologies has been created in Belarus. This system is the whole multi-component mechanism allowing the accumulation of legal acts adopted in the country, keeping them updated and providing every person, who has a need for such information, with the standard legal information. In Belarus, the question of consolidating of the streams of legal information into one state structure, at the level of all branches of government, has been solved. A procedure of obligatory and timely presentation of legal acts to the NCLI, regardless of the level of the body adopting them, has been elaborated and is in effect. Per se, the evolution of the introduction of informatization into the legal sphere on the basis of combining of modern computer technologies and legislation has taken place.
Already one year after its creation, the NCLI has organized an effective provision of legal information to the state bodies, substantially broadened the sphere of dissemination of legal information in electronic form, established close business contacts with similar organizations in the CIS member-states and provided significant enlargement of inter-state legal information exchange. (From the Decision of the Collegiums of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus held in the NCLI on January 26, 1999).
The NCLI in practice guarantees the realization of the constitutional right of citizens of the Republic of Belarus to receive full, valid and timely legal information, contributes to the increase of the quality of law-making and law enforcement activity and promotes the legal culture of the Belarusian society. Millions of people use legal information prepared by the Center.
National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus
One of the determining directions of the state system of legal information is the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus created in accordance with the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of July 20, 1998 No. 369.
Since January 1, 1999, accurate registration and processing of legal acts received by the NCLI for inclusion into the National Register has been organized in the republic.
The NCLI along with other state bodies, within two years, have been conducting the “inventory” of all legal acts, adopted during the whole period of existence of the Republic of Belarus starting from the year 1919.
Such an original revision of the legal base has made it possible to reveal the acts that really are in effect and, accordingly, those that are subject to inclusion into the National Register. Besides, in the course of “inventory” a unique opportunity to determine "deficiencies of law" in the legislation and duplicating of legal acts, defining ways of eliminating such defects, has appeared. Moreover, not only the order of the legislation is provided, but the publicity and transparency as well. Therefore, the uncertainty associated with the legal force and implication of the legal acts is eliminated.
On the basis of information received, the full standard data of valid legislation of our country is formed.
Publication of the National Register is one of the most effective means of bringing the legislation of the republic to public attention. According to the experience, publication of the National Register has essentially simplified the practical activity with the legislation, along with ability to receive information on valid legislation in full scale.
Standard Databank of Legal Information
After their inclusion in the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus, the legal acts are put into the Standard Databank of Legal Information (the SDLI), being a completely integrated collection of legislation of the Republic of Belarus in electronic form. The basis for this systematization is a Unified Legal Classifier of the Republic of Belarus elaborated by the NCLI and approved by the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of January 4, 1999 No. 1.
The creation of the Standard Databank of Legal Information is a vivid example of a successful combination of legal and computer thought. Computer technologies that earlier have brought innovation to many spheres of activity, are also actively introduced into Belarusian jurisprudence.
In order to provide a collection of legal acts and their legal processing, systematization and renewal, a unique technology, based on the newest information technologies, is created at the NCLI.
Conducting management of the SDLI by the Center plays an important role in the organization and dissemination of valid legal information. Other than the NCLI, other organizations also carry out its dissemination. However, differences between their computer databases of legal information do not affect the content of the bases. Per se, according to legislation, legal information in all practical computer databases is introduced from one source that is a standard databank of legal information. This is why mistakes or discrepancies in the bases are practically impossible.
Databank “Legislation of the Russian Federation”
The Databank “Legislation of the Russian Federation” is a joint project of the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus and the Scientific Center of Legal Information at the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. The Databank includes legal acts of the Russian Federation.
The National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus handles distribution of the databank and software development. While the Scientific Center of Legal Information at the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation provides information content.
Computer Databank of Law Drafts of the Republic of Belarus
According to the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of July 24, 1998 No. 376 “On the Creation of the Computer Databank of Law Drafts of the Republic of Belarus”, the NCLI has developed and maintained the computer databank of law drafts of the Republic of Belarus along with the Standard Databank of Legal Information. The technology of administrating the databank of law drafts has a lot in common with managing the Standard Databank of Legal Information. The purpose of its creation is improving the process of preparation and adoption of law drafts in order to deliver a full picture of the law-making process in the republic.
This databank is an automated system of centralized registration, storage and dissemination of information about the law-making process in the Republic of Belarus. Information content of the computer databank is made up of the authentic copies of law drafts and accompanying documents provided by legislation.
Databank "Judicial Practice"
The databank "Judicial practice" includes the resolutions of Plenums of the Supreme Court and Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Belarus, interpretation of the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Belarus, resolutions (decisions) of the chambers of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, resolutions of the Presidiums of Oblast’ courts (and the Minsk court) and reviews of the judicial practices of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus.
Presently, in accordance with the decision of the President of the Republic of Belarus of February 5, 2002 No. 89rp "On Approving the Measures on Realization of the Suggestions Set Forth in the Speech of the President of the Republic of Belarus A.G. Lukashenko, Reports of the Heads of the Courts, Speeches of the Participants of the Second Session of Judges of the Republic of Belarus" the NCLI with the participation of the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus actively develops a new integrated databank "Judicial Practice".
The Databank “Treaties” includes treaties of the Republic of Belarus along with legal acts adopted within the framework of the Union State, Commonwealth of Independent States and other inter-state organizations.
Databank “Decisions of Bodies of Local Government and Self-Government”
The Databank “Decisions of Bodies of Local Government and Self-Government” includes legal acts of the Councils of Deputies and Executive Committees of both Oblasts and Minsk City.
Standard and other databanks of legal information are an integrated part of the state system of legal information. They allow not just the ability to quickly find a valid normative legal act, but also a way to fulfill the tasks on systematization and codification of the legislation in force.
Advantages of these system include: the official nature of the information, efficiency of updating, extended possibilities of holding logical (searching) operations between and inside the search fields, printing and filling a document from the rubricator, copying a document (in part) with its requisites and source of publication to Microsoft Word, the possibility to go from the terms and definitions dictionary to the document containing the definition, hyper-links and other characteristics. All of which make these databanks truly unique search systems. The software and search engines of these systems are constantly improving.
A new version of the SDLI was released in June 2003. Transitioning to the newest technologies of the formation and application of information arrays, significant enlargement of search characteristics and improvement of the system’s interface made it possible to increase the quality of presentation of legal information and the efficacy of its reception.
The elaboration of the SDLI’s version for corporate networks, a principally new direction in creating search systems of legal information, is almost completed. A corporate version of the SDLI is based on contemporary client-server technologies that allow full use of computing resources of state bodies and other organizations.
Dissemination of Legal Information
Legal information in democratic society shall not have a secret or elitist character.
Therefore, the dissemination of legal information is the most important function of the NCLI and the main goal of creating the state system of legal information. The NCLI, per se, is the core of an effective system of disseminating of legal information. Dissemination itself has a multi-directional character including the traditional publication of printed legal editions, as well as the utilization of modern computer and Internet technologies. With this, the state guarantees the realization of the citizens' right to receive full, reliable and timely legal information provided in Article 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
Other than the publication of the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus, among the other printed products of the NCLI, there are also official editions of different codes of the Republic of Belarus and other collections of normative legal acts. Continuing to develop the matter of legal editions the NCLI strives first of all to intensively use the truly unlimited potential of modern computer technologies.
At a present time, many organizations and citizens use the legal information in electronic form including via the internet based on the standard databank of legal information of the Republic of Belarus. Various state bodies, inter state and foreign organizations use the computer databanks produced by the NCLI.
Moreover, the Center actively carries out the legal informatization of the judicial system. Currently, the Constitutional Court and the general and economic courts of the Republic of Belarus use the computer bases of the Center within the framework of a single automated information telecommunication system of legal information. Using this system allows the courts to receive information on all changes in legislation, daily.
Solutions to such complicated and wide-scale tasks could not be possible without creating a single state network of dissemination legal information, not only in the republic’s capital, but also in its regions. The regional centers of legal information (RCLI), affiliates of the NCLI, which were created in all oblast centers and in Minsk in 1999, became the instruments of fulfilling state policy in the sphere of legal informatization directly at the local level. The RCLI organize the dissemination of legal information to each relevant territory, distribute it to local and self-government, participate in the creation of a wide network of public legal information centers and conduct the practical work on the legal informatization of the region.
Moving toward the global informatization of our society and striving to full provide the accessibility to legal information, the NCLI has developed its Internet site (http://ncpi.gov.by) on October 1, 1998. The NCLI site is noted for its dynamics because its information is updated daily. It also provides complete information about the National Center of Legal Information as well as all of its activities.
Public Centers of Legal Information
Activity of the NCLI, in the field of disseminating of legal information, is constantly improving. Its further development is particularly enhanced by the creation of special divisions, which render services that provide the people with access to legal information base on public libraries. Public centers of legal information (PCLI) are an integral part of the state system of legal information.
According to the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 712 of December 30, 2010, the PCLI were defined as “the points of free access for citizens to the official legal information in order to develop legal knowledge, skills, appropriate behaviors and respectful attitudes towards the law”. Certainly, PCLI will promote free access to any legal information on paper and in electronic form, including on in the Internet.
Thanks to the teamwork of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus, oblast executive committees the activities of the regional centers of legal information of the Republic of Belarus and the directors of the several libraries, the network of PCLI was created and now functions successfully.
Particular attention is devoted to the PCLI created in the National Library of Belarus that coordinated a scientific, research, methodical and bibliographical activity of the republican libraries and forms which contains and provides to the users the most complete collection of the national documents.
Centers of Standard Legal Information abroad
In accordance with the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of December 30, 2010 No. 712 "On Improvement of State System of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus" the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus jointly with state bodies and organizations creates points of free access to standard legal information in order to support scientific, studying, educational, informational and enlightening processes – Centers of access to legal information.
The Center of Standard Legal Information at the Cultural Center of Belarus in Warsaw
Address: ul. Królowej Marysieńki 66 Warszawa, Polska
Telephones: +48 (22) 651-7240; +48 (22) 642-6815
Fax: +48 (22) 651-7240
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 - 12:00 12:40 - 16:40
Information about the Center on the site of the Belarus Embassy in Poland
Belarus Information Center in Riga
Address: 10, Rupniecibas, Riga, Latvia, office 413-414
Telephone: +371 29530902
Scientific and Practical Activity of the NCLI
Introducing of modern information technologies into the legal sphere is impossible without serious scientific and methodological maintenance. Therefore, one of the major directions of NCLI is research, scientific and practical activities in the field of legal informatization which include not only realization of the appropriate research, but also the active practical use of their results.
In order to coordinate scientific activity and development of the state system of legal information in the NCLI Scientific and Advisory Council (SAC), this structure is created to include scientific and other highly skilled experts in the field of law and information, is created.
As a result of the scientific researche done by the NCLI, scientific and methodological bases of several concepts in the field of legal informatization were created. Included are: the concepts of legal informatization of the Republic of Belarus, automation of judicial system of the Republic of Belarus, the state automated system of legal information and others. The number of principles of legal information have been reflected in the Concept of State Policy in the Field of Informatization approved by the Edict of the President of Republic No. 195 of April, 6, 1999 "On Some Questions of Informatization in the Republic of Belarus ", and also in the Concept of the Formation of Information Space of the Commonwealth of Independent States, approved by the decision of Council of Heads of the Governments of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Also, it is necessary to mention the number of applied research works done by the NCLI. Among them are works concerning the development and improvement of technology such as the formation of the Standard Databank of Legal Information, software, the improvement of legal processing of normative legal acts and the creation of the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus. The gained scientific knowledge and experience are further used for training and improvement of the professional skills of lawyers and representatives of other professions facing information legal technologies in their work.
Within the framework of the UNITWIN Networks Program the Agreement on the Establishment of the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the NCLI was signed on April 29, 2003. The UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law is a scientific and methodological center and its activity is carried out in the form of seminars, national and the international conferences, educational programs, and publication of scientific and methodological materials.
The activity of the UNESCO Chair will cover the most important aspects of social development related to the problems of informatization and legal informatization, in particular, such as:
scientific, educational, methodological and propaganda activity in the field of law and information technologies, the preparation and publication of methodological and studying aids on legal informatization, computer science, legal informatics and information law;
coordinating and summarizing scientific and educational activity carried out in the field of law and information technologies, legal informatization, information law in the Republic of Belarus, organizing of collaboration with similar UNESCO Chairs around the world, researchers and research institutions in this sphere;
analysis of existing problems and the preparation of proposals concerning the improvements of legislation related to the formation of unified information and legal information space;
scientific and practical research in the field of legal informatization and the formation of single legal information space in the Republic of Belarus;
scientific and practical research in the sphere of information law.
Since 1998, in order to organize a wide expert discussion on questions of legal information, the NCLI has published or issued the scientific and practical journal “Problems of Legal Informatization”, renamed "Pravo.by" in January, 2008.
International Relations of the NCLI
Development of international cooperation in the sphere of legal information exchange is one of the priorities of NCLI’s activity.
The most effective component of such cooperation is the establishment of bilateral contacts with similar organizations of other states, and also with large foreign firms which are manufacturers of bases and databanks of legal information. The NCLI actively cooperates, in particular, with:
the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation,
the Republican Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan,
the Information and Analytical Center "League" (the Ukraine),
the Information Center "Toktom" (Kyrgyz Republic),
the company “V.E.S. Consultancy LLC” (Azerbaijan),
the limited liability company “Aviabrok-Consaud” (Uzbekistan), etc.
The most prominent aspect of this interaction is the exchange of databanks in legal information. There are various legal information databases and databanks in the electronic library of the NCLI, among which are the databases of legislation of the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, etc. All this (the information legal resources of the Internet), allows the NCLI to perform subject searches of the official texts of normative legal acts of foreign countries at the request of state bodies.
The NCLI cooperates with different international organizations including the Executive Committee of the CIS, the Permanent Committee of the Union State and other inter state and inter governmental organizations, by providing them with legal information while receiving the databanks of their decisions in return.
In March 2003, the NCLI signed the Agreement on Cooperation in Legal Information Exchange with the Peace Palace Library in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Within the framework of the participation in creation of the information and legal space of the CIS, the Union state, the Eurasian economic community, the Customs union and other intergovernmental communities on the post soviet space, NCLI took part in some international events including:
The 24th meeting of the Committee of experts in information technologies and law of the European Council, Strasbourg, France (October 2000);
The Conference “Legal informatics and legal information systems in the Internet”, Saarbrucken, Germany (December 2004);
The Presentation of the state system of legal information of the Republic of Belarus, headquarters of the UNESCO, Paris, France (May 2004);
The International exhibition of information technologies and telecommunications CeBIT, Hannover, Germany (March 2004);
The scientific and practical conference “International cooperation and development of the legal system of Eurasian economic community”, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation (February 2004);
The International scientific conference “Intellectual resources of the nation and law”, Moscow, Russian Federation (September 2009);
The International Librarian Congress, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation (September 2010);
The International conference IITE-2010 on issues of the application of information and communication technologies in education, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation (November 2010);
The International conference “Right of access to information: prospects and restrictions in the electronic sphere”, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation (April 2011).
International Scientific and Practical Conferences "Legal Informatization"
The introduction of modern information technologies to the legal sphere has an international, highly integrated nature and requires active international (inter state) cooperation in the field of law and legal informatization. As a result of this connection, the NCLI and the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, with the assistance of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus, the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the UN/UNDP Office in the Republic of Belarus, were able to hold the international scientific and practical conferences “Modern Computer Technologies in the Systems of Legal Information” (“Legal Informatization-2002”), "Information Technologies and Law" ("Legal Informatization-2004"), "Legal Informatization and Law" ("Legal Informatization-2010") and "Information Technology and Law (Legal Informatization - 2012)".
Representatives of a number of state bodies of the Republic of Belarus, the Standing Committee of the United State, members of the parliament delegation of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, UNDP experts, TACIS Experts, experts of the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI) and famous scientists and experts from several member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, China, Hungary and Lithuania all took part in the conference.
An exposition “Legal Information Technologies” was held at each conference, reflecting the newest technologies of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation in the area of applying computer (information) technologies in the legal sphere, joint Belarusian and Russian elaborations and other achievements in this field.
Participants of the conference got familiar with the Belarusian experience on the creation and development of the state system of legal information, by discussing a large number of problems related to introducing information (computer) technologies into the legal sphere, interstate exchange of legal information and were able to “define” the basic priorities and directions for the future in this field.
As a result of these conferences, a collection of materials was produced, which included reports and speeches of the participants, greetings to the conference, and the Final Document of the conference, annotations of the reports in English were also included.
National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus
1. Today many countries generally recognize the necessity of not only placing the information on national legislation on the Internet, but also the complexities of granting information on the activity of state bodies in legal sphere and the organization of coordination of specialists regarding the application of information technologies.
2. In accordance with the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of December 16, 2002 No. 609 the NCLI actively conducts work on the creation of the National Legal Internet Portal as a main state information resource on the Internet in the sphere of law and legal informatization.
3. So, progressive development of the NCLI and constant growth of the social importance of legal resources on the Internet have created the necessity of transferring the NCLI Internet site into the National Legal Internet Portal.
4. This Portal is a multi-component information system concentrating information, knowledge and information services in the sphere of law and legal informatization which also enables organization of the joint work of many people assisted by the advances of computer technologies.
The goals of the creation and function of the National Legal Internet Portal are the following:
concentrating and systematizing information and knowledge on the questions of law and legal informatization;
in a timely manner, providing the citizens, the state bodies and other organizations with full and reliable legal information and also with the comments and other legal analytical materials;
providing efficient interaction of the employees of state bodies and other organizations using the information through the organizational and technological capabilities of this portal;
increasing the quality of law-making activities and the efficiency of the work of state bodies and other organizations;
popularizing of legal knowledge and developing of the legal culture of the citizens;
assistaning the citizens in perform scientific, educational and other kinds of activities;
intensifying of inter state exchange of legal information;
creating the conditions for the advancement of the international image of the Republic of Belarus and attracting investments to the national economy.
In consideration of the questions related to the function and development of the National Legal Internet Portal, a coordinated council has been formed, comprising the representatives of state bodies along with scientists and other specialists in the sphere of law, informatization and legal information.
The functionality of the National Legal Internet Portal objectively provides reliable information support for the external policy of our state, creates conditions for the active formation of a positive image of the republic on the basis of accessible valid information and, by that, increases the effectiveness of solving socioeconomic problem. Owing to the Portal, not only is free access to legal information of the Republic of Belarus provided, but it also provides the effective interaction of specialists working with such information and the active participation of citizens in discussions of legal acts and questions of the court and other law-enforcement practices.
In practice, The NCLI guarantees the realization of the constitutional right of citizens of the Republic of Belarus to receive full, valid and timely legal information, contributes to increasing the quality of law-making and law enforcement activity and promotes the legal culture of the Belarusian society. A huge number of people use the legal information prepared by the Center.
Director of the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus
Andrey A. Gaev is the head of the NCLI since August, 2012 in accordance with the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus No.343 of July 31, 2012.
Mr. Gaev was born in 1977. After graduating from the law faculty of the Belarusian State University he worked as a specialist at the National Cadastral Agency. From 2001 to 2006 Mr. Gaev worked at the Committee on Land resources, Geodesy and Cartography under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus. From 2006 to 2012 Andrey A. Gaev was the deputy head of the State Committee on Property of the Republic of Belarus.