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Guide to International and Foreign Law Research

Finding Constitutions

There are several helpful tools for finding constitutions online and in print:

  • World Constitutions Illustrated:  Available through HeinOnline, this excellent resource has current and older versions of nations' constitutions, as well as commentaries and other scholarly articles discussing the constitutional development of the country.  Also included is a bibliography of books and articles on the country, and links to various online resources with information about the country.  To access World Constitutions Illustrated, go to HeinOnline and scroll down the list of Subscribed Libraries.
  • Constitute:  Texts of world constitutions, amendments, and other documents, often in multiple languages.
  • International Constitutional Law Project:  Free access to constitutions of over 70 countries, along with information on the history of the constitution in each country and links to various governmental websites for each country.
  • Constituciones Hispanoamericanas:  Free access to Latin American constitutions.  Note that while the site contains many versions of nations' constitutions, the constitutions have not been translated into English.
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World: A Series of Updated Texts, Constitutional Chronologies, and Annotated Bibliographies:  JF11 .B53 (multiple volumes)

Finding Legislation

The general sources discussed on the Getting Started page are a good reference point for getting started finding legislation online.  Many link to countries' legislature websites, where they might have copies of their laws in the vernacular, English translation, or both.

But there are several other resources you could check:

  • Government Gazettes Online:  Available through the University of Michigan, this resource provides information on gazettes in countries around the world, such as how frequently it is published and what contents are included in the gazettes, and also gives a link to the gazette's location online.
  • Doing Business:  Provided for free by the World Bank, its the largest free online collection of business laws and regulations, linking whenever possible to the official government source.
  • NATLex:  Free collection of labour and social security legislation provided by the International Labour Organization.
  • WIPO Lex:  Free collection of national laws & treaties on intellectual property.

Finding Case Law

The general sources on the Getting Started page are also a good reference point for locating case law.  Many link to countries' important courts, which may have copies of some or all court decisions.  The most helpful of these for finding case law for certain jurisdictions is Worldlii.