[Open-Legislation] Opening up South Africa's by-laws

Greg Kempe greg at kempe.net
Tue Oct 29 12:25:28 UTC 2013

Hi Francis,

The current value adds of cross-linking within (and soon between) by-laws is automated. As you point out, it can be tricky because of the myriad ways a piece of legislation can be written. My take on it is that even an ok job is better than none at all, so start with the basics and then improve.

I'm working on funding to build this into an open source platform for consuming and transforming legislation into Akoma Ntoso. I'll keep this group posted.


Greg Kempe
t +27 78 246 1116
w kempe.net

On 25 October 2013 at 3:00:05 PM, Francis Davey (fjmd1a at gmail.com) wrote:


That's great! What I particularly like is the value added to the legislation. Is that hand-coded or partially automated?

I've tried writing some scripts to automate internal references in UK legislation and it's a hard problem, but the result is very worthwhile. Knowing that something is defined elsewhere in the legislation (or possibly in other legislation) is very useful and having cross-links is useful.

Sadly, drafters of UK legislation don't use straightforward forms of internal referencing. One has things as complicated as "the same section of the Act mentioned at in the last paragraph of section 6 of the 2003 Act" or words to that effect :-).

If you have any hand-written automation tools those would be very interesting. Also if we could all come up with a framework to make it easy to crowd-source inputting information or checking automatically created markup that would be really great.

I notice there's a challenge to convert between UK parliamentary data (in which I am interested) and Akoma Ntoso:



2013/10/22 Greg Kempe <greg at kempe.net>
Hi everyone,

I've launched a project in South Africa to make our by-laws more accessible. After seeing Oleg's blog post on the working group's relaunch, thought people on this list might be interested.

The project is at http://openbylaws.org.za/ and I've describe the background to it on the South African OKFN blog: http://za.okfn.org/2013/10/21/opening-up-south-africas-by-laws/

Thoughts and comments welcome.


Greg Kempe
t +27 78 246 1116
w kempe.net

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Francis Davey

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