Indigo Platform


Indigo is AfricanLII’s document management system for managing, capturing and publishing legislation in the Akoma Ntoso format, built and maintained by Laws.Africa with a grant from Indigo Trust.

Visit our GitHub repository to find out how you can contribute to the project.

The Indigo platform is a Django python web application with three components:

  • a web application for managing and editing documents
  • a read-only REST API for vending published legislative documents in HTML and XML

The main REST API supports the creation, editing and management of a library of legislative documents. The public read-only API provides access to published documents in XML, HTML or other formats.


A document is the primary data type in the platform. It represents a single version of a legislation document such as an act. It contains metadata such as a title, year of publication, country as well as content in Akoma Ntoso XML.

The Akoma Ntoso standard uses an FRBR URI to uniquely identify an item of legislation. For example, the URI


identifies the National Forests Act 84 of 1998. The components indicate that the document is from South Africa (za), is an act and is act number 84 to be published in 1998. These URIs have a standard format and are well-known and so can be guessed. This is useful when an external system wants to ask us about an act.

Every Indigo document has an FRBR URI associated with it which is used to identify it in the public REST API.

Every Indigo document also has a uinque numeric identifier id. This is assigned by the platform and is unique to that document.

A new document is created each time a new amendment must be applied to an existing document. A single piece of legislation that has been amended over time is comprised of multiple separate documents, one for each amendment. Each amended version of the document has a different id, but the same URI.

The application API uses the numeric IDs to identify documents so that it can handle deleted documents, draft documents and amended documents with the same URI.

The public API uses the FRBR URI to identify documents so that anyone can find a document just by constructing a valid FRBR URI.