Information and communication technology resources access and use: issues of legal research and practice in Nigeria
The ability to undertake effective legal research is one of the skills required of a lawyer but all often, they only acquire this skill by trial and error and this fails to grasp the essential of legal research and practice. The use of Information and communication technology by Nigerian lawyers deals with the application of these resources in the law courts, law firms and legal institutions for the performance of day to day activities. The study is to investigate access and use of ICT resources as a challenge to legal research in Nigeria. The population of the study involved all the lawyers that registered with Nigerian Bar Association and the ICT facilities used in the performance of their practice. The major research instrument for this study was the questionnaire. Unstructured interview was also used in gathering more information for the study. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency counts and percentages, bar chart as well as mean and standard deviation the formulated hypotheses, were tested at 0.05 level of significance The result of the study indicated that access to and use of ICT for effective legal research and practice were discouraging considering the present global trends of ICT adoption. Majority of the respondents did not meet up with the set standards due to inadequate funding and ICT skill. As a result, the law offices were not equipped with enough ICT resources, poorly accommodated, unskilled ICT personnel and resulting in poor service delivery to clients. It was recommended that law libraries and law offices should be adequately funded and encouraged to use up to date ICT resources and that skilled ICT personnel should be employed to manage the ICT resources especially in the big law firms in Nigeria.
Keywords: Access, Information, Communication, Technology, Legal, Research, Use,