Access and knowledge of the law: supporting migrants in understanding law

PERUGINELLI, Ginevra, FIORAVANTI, Chiara, ROMANO, Francesco and CONTI, Sara (2019) Access and knowledge of the law: supporting migrants in understanding law. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 167 - Law Libraries.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Access and knowledge of the law: supporting migrants in understanding law

The legal system is the backbone of modern society, stating the conditions under which people should behave, what rights they have. In such a context, free access to legal information is part of a process in constant balance between strengthening the rule of law, on the one hand, and fighting against new attempts to monopolize it, on the other hand. The paper is devoted to a discussion on the issues concerning the role of libraries, research institutions and in general public bodies to support and ensure that vulnerable or at-risk communities have free access to the law, exploring the opportunity to create services not just for accessing the law, but also for its understanding. A particular attention will be given to a specific Web Portal, PAeSI - Public Administration and Migrants: (, developed by the Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques and implemented in Italy for facilitating access to legal information in the field of immigration to a particular vulnerable category of citizens: third countries citizens settled recently in a host country. This target group is hindered by linguistic barriers, exacerbated by the bureaucratic language and their different cultural background, as well as by the lack of knowledge of the Italian public administration. The theoretical assumption of this Portal is to combine traditional tools with forms of “secondary dissemination” that do not have as their direct subject the text of legislative acts but aimed to illustrate the contents and to highlight the effects that the application of these rules produces on the recipients. As a matter of fact, the theoretical and operative perspectives are both at the core of this paper which stresses the role of legal knowledge sharing which guides people and institutions toward both what is expected of them and what protections they enjoy

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