Information needs and information seeking behaviour of judges and lawyers: A study of the judiciary superior courts in Lusaka, Zambia
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Understanding the information needs and seeking behaviour of users is imperative in developing effective information systems and services to meet their information needs. Lawyers and Judges heavily depend on appropriate and reliable evidence in the administration of sound justice. However, little is known about the information needs and seeking behaviour of Layers and judges in Africa and Zambia in particular. The purpose of this study was to investigate the information needs and seeking behaviour of judges and lawyers at the four superior courts of judiciary in Lusaka, Zambia. Specifically, the study investigated the information needs of layers and judges; their sources of information; the challenges they faced to access needed information. A survey approach was adopted for this study and employed quantitative methods. Simple random sampling techniques was used to select judges and lawyers. Forty-five legal practitioners that included 27 judges and 18 lawyers participated in the study. Data was analyzed using the SPSS 23.0 software The study revealed that judges and lawyers had varied information needs and included case preparation (67%), administration of justice (60%), past decisions (87%), statutes (71%), current awareness (69%), general knowledge (47%), job presentation or professional conduct (76%) and information concerning research activities (73%). Respondents indicated that court libraries (98%), personal libraries (79%), online databases (76%), offline databases (76%), decided cases (98%), other legal libraries (7%) and colleagues in the profession (73%) were main sources of information they consulted to make decisions. However, judges and lawyers reported to encounter a number of problems in their quest for information which included difficult to find latest information (82%), information not readily available (69%), lack of information diversity (67%), information not easily accessible (62%), poor internet connectivity (60%), limited time (80%) and information overload (71%). The study recommended for well-stocked court libraries, with up-to-date varied forms of information and improved Internet connectivity. It was concluded that it is important for judges and lawyers’ information needs to be effectively met for them to make sound legal decisions.
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