New website pledges open access to all of Qatar’s laws and judgements

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In a major bid toward transparency, the Ministry of Justice has launched a new website that contains every law passed in Qatar since 1961 in both Arabic and English.

Al Meezan (named after the word for the scales of justice in Arabic) is the product of a partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Council for Communications and Information Technology (ictQatar).

The new site, which isn’t completely updated yet, is a treasure trove of information for both expats and residents, with laws covering the sponsorship of expats, the leasing of property and traffic regulations easily accessible for the first time.

Qatar is not the first country in the region to produce such a website. The UAE launched its Legislation Portal in 2009, making over 3,000 laws and 1,500 court decisions available to the public. 

Hosting information network

At a news conference to announce the site, Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanem, the Minister of Justice, also announced that Qatar is now the preferred choice to host the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), a public database that gives lawyers and judges access to laws from around the world. 

GLIN was previously hosted by the Library of Congress in Washington DC in the USA, but it’s now seeking a new home. 

Qatar is an ideal choice to host the network, according to David Mao, Law Libertarian of the US Congress, who attended the launch of Al Meezan:

“By offering free access to its legal information, Qatar is setting an example for other governments in the region and throughout the world,” he said.  “We are delighted that the Ministry of Justice is ready and willing to assume the administration of GLIN. Indeed the entire GLIN membership sees Qatar as a benefiting successor and voted earlier this year to accept Qatar as the new leader of this international network.” 

Qatar became a member of GLIN in December 2010.

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Credit: Photo by Citizensheep

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