Open By-laws is now a part of Law Library

24 July 2023, by Greg Kempe is very close to my heart: it’s the project that got me interested in improving access to African legal information. Ten years ago, in 2013, I started exploring what it would look like to make South African municipal by-laws easier to find, read and share. The goal was to use modern web technology to build rich reading experiences to make working with local municipal legislation simpler and easier.

Today marks a significant milestone in that journey: Open By-laws is now a part of

Law Library is a project by Laws.Africa and AfricanLII that makes a wide range of South African legal information freely available to the public. Law Library includes national and provincial legislation, judgments from South Africa’s major courts, almost 100,000 South African Government Gazettes. And now, it includes municipal by-laws.

Law Library is also part of AfricanLII’s network of 14+ legal information websites that provides free access to African legal information to 100,000s of users every month.

What’s changing?

Open By-laws is now powered by Laws.Africa’s Open Law Technology. This means a better search experience, smarter integration with provincial and national legislation, and improved support for non-English by-laws, amongst other things.

Open By-laws will also benefit from the new features that Laws.Africa and AfricanLII are deploying, such as AI-powered semantic search.

What’s staying the same?

Open By-laws will continue to be available at, where it is visited by thousands of users every month.

The by-laws continue to be, and will always be, free to use.

Help us add new municipalities

We’re still a long way away from having all the by-laws of every South African municipality. Laws.Africa is looking for donors to help us digitise this content and make it freely available for everyone. If you can help, please contact us.