International Legal Resources

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Or go back to the overall summary on this site of the sections available.

The resources listed in this section are mainly world-wide collections prepared by governmental, academic and other bodies and are a good place to start if you are looking for something from a less well known country.

Resources relating to more familiar areas of the world are covered on my site in these sections:
Ireland, Europe generally, USA, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia (including China and Japan), Africa,

World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) is the umbrella organisation for the worldwide "family" of Legal Information Institutes with the aim of providing "Free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law". Over 1252 databases from 123 jurisdictions are included. There is a single search facility across all these and in addition, a searchable collection of its own databases not found on the individual LIIs. These include databases of decisions of International Courts and Tribunals, databases from a number of Asian countries, databases from South Africa (provided by Wits Law School), and some law journals. A special feature on the site is the The WorldLII Catalog which provides links to law-related web sites in every country in the world. Other LII's, for direct access, include these:

There is a full list of the 14 Legal Information Institutes (LIIs), each leading to lists of resources held by the respective LII here and a full list of countries, each leading to the detailed resources available across the LIIs, here.

Foreign Collections By Jurisdiction from New York University School of Law, provides references to important legal resources for individual countries. The NYU School of Law has been a force in legal education since its founding in 1835.

The Law Library of the US Library of Congress provides a summary of the constitutions, legal systems and legislation of all(?) countries of the world.

CIA World Fact Book provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. There are maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map. This site is not specifically legal, but it is an astounding resource.

This site is not available at the moment (Summer 2014) but should be returning at some point.
The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) is a public database of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations, initiated by the Law Library of Congress in 1991. The GLIN members contribute the official full texts of published documents to the database in their original language. Each document is accompanied by a summary in English and subject terms selected from the multilingual index to GLIN. All summaries are available to the public, and public access to full texts is also available in participating jurisdictions. About half of the abstracts in GLIN provide links to the full texts of the legislation, court decisions and other documents that are abstracted. GLIN is now included in the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) structure, as above.

The United Nations provides an International Law collection of sources, treaties, courts, tribunals and links, mainly related to the UN and its constituent bodies. As it says: International law is a primary concern of the United Nations. The mandate for the activities in this field emanates from the Charter of the United Nations which, in its Preamble, sets the goal "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained".

Lawfinder World Resources, from Nick Holmes' infolaw web site, brings together several of the resources above and provides comprehensive links for 207 jurisdictions in a form which is very easy to use and digest.

International Court of Justice at the Hague, with full text judgments since 1996 and other material. As it says about itself: The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is located in the Hague (Netherlands). It is the principal judicial body of the United Nations. The Court was founded in 1946 to replace the Permanent Court of International Justice.

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the world organization of parliaments of sovereign States. It was established in 1889 and is based in Geneva. The Union is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for the firm establishment of representative democracy. The site provides a useful reference point for Parliaments of all nations. There are currently 164 Members and 10 Associate Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The countries are listed with direct links to the Parliament site of each country. The PARLINE database on the site contains information on the structure and working methods of 266 parliamentary chambers in all of the 189 countries where a national legislature exists.

Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) has been developed by the American Society of International Law, a scholarly association that has been a leader in the analysis, dissemination and development of international law since 1906. The aim of the site is to help web searchers locate the highest quality primary materials, authoritative web sites and helpful research guides to international law on the Internet. To this end, EISIL has been designed as an open database of authenticated primary and other materials across the breadth of international law, which until now have been scattered in libraries, archives and specialized web sites. Areas covered include Environmental Law, Economic Law, Human Rights, Criminal Law, Communications, Disputes and the Use of Force and Private International Law. As well as a direct link to the resources described, there is a 'More Information' button on each record, providing legal citations, entry into force and signature dates, amendments and brief descriptions.

International Rule of Law Directory is an initiative from the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute. The IBAHRI Rule of Law Directory is the first centralised, fully searchable, online database of entities engaged in rule of law work throughout the world. It was created in 2009, in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace. Its purpose is to provide users with reliable information on organisations offering assistance to the rule of law and provides an invaluable tool to those establishing and implementing rule of law programmes.

FLAG (Foreign Law Guide) from the University of London's Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is a free database covering international legal resources held by UK law libraries in Universites and research institutes including the British Library, the Advocates Library and the National Library of Wales. There are 10,000 records relating to the resources held - many often previously not widely known about. Note that this is a guide to where the printed - often historic - collections are held, not a guide to internet resources (many of these historic resources will never be available on the internet). The study took two years and involved a shelf by shelf study of each library's contents. It is possible to select not only the country, the type of legal material and the area of law, but also the region in which a collection is held (so you can find the nearest source of the material).

FLARE (Foreign Law Research) is a collaboration between the major libraries collecting law in the United Kingdom: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Bodleian Law Library, Squire Law Library, British Library, and School of Oriental and African Studies. It is working to improve the coverage and accessibility of foreign legal materials at the national level and to raise expertise in their use. The work is currently focused on improving national coverage of the law of the transition states of central and Eastern Europe and building a distributed national collection of official gazettes.

The Commonwealth and International Human Rights Case Law Database provides summaries of recent human rights decisions from national courts in Commonwealth jurisdictions free of charge through a browse facility and a search engine. Many of the cases summarised are unpublished decisions which are not readily available in other jurisdictions. The database holds over 2,800 summaries dating back to the mid 1990s. The database is hosted by Interights, the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights.
This has now closed due to lack of funds although its historic material is still available.

"Lex Mercatoria" is an collection of resources for international commercial law and e-commerce provided by The University of Troms, Norway and three other collaborating universities. It provides access to a large collection of treaties, conventions, model laws and documents.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (referred to as UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations in the field of International Trade Law.

International Correspondence Lawyers is a directory provided by a German publisher Daten Info Service Eibl GmbH. The directory provides lawyers worldwide with an opportunity to present their company details, correspondence languages and fields of expertise. There is also an associated directory of financial advisors and tax consultants. The site also provides general information on tax rates, legal forms of companies and requirements for setting up a company in more than 70 countries. There is also a section called Law National Organizations which lists significant organisations (Bar Associations, Law Societies, Courts, Parliament, legislation) for all these countries which would be a good starting point for any search relating to legal information. There is a similar listing of International Law Organizations.

Tax Planet is a global network of legal and accounting professionals focusing on tax (domestic and international). International tax work without a global team of professionals is virtually impossible, even for SMEs and individuals. Tax Planet strives to achieve a global presence in numerous countries with the size of the team in proportion to a country's size, complexity and international impact. The site has a research section containing mainly tax and tax-related links and information on countries, international organisations and global issues. There are many deep-links to selected pages with useful contents to facilitate research work.

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