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Finding Foreign Law Resources on the Internet

Written by Silke Sahl Last Updated December 2012

Foreign law is often available on the Internet. Many governments, universities and non-governmental organizations include full-text laws on their websites. Finding these sites can be difficult. While search engines such as Google can be helpful—the search results can be overwhelming in number. Also, no search engine searches the entire Internet. In particular, foreign materials and deep databases are often missed by computer searches.

The following "mega" web sites or "portals" provide foreign law or links to web sites that include foreign law for most countries. Using these web sites can help you find foreign databases more efficiently. These mega sites have often evaluated the foreign law websites, so users are guided directly to high quality databases.

For research guides on foreign jurisdictions, see our guide, A Selective List of Guides to Foreign Legal Research.

This is a selective list of internet resources. For additional assistance finding foreign law databases, please see the Reference Librarians.

All Areas of Law

Cornell Law School—Legal Information Institute 
Internet-accessible sources of the constitutions, statutes, judicial opinions, and related legal material from around the globe are compiled here. This resource also provides links to international sources of law. Links to national sources of law material are available at the top of the page.
Links to international and foreign law resources. Follow the ‘Countries’ link at the top of the page, and you will be directed to links for individual countries.
Global Courts—Supreme Court Decisions 
A guide for researchers seeking information on Supreme Court decisions from over a hundred countries around the world. Follow the ‘Court Decisions’ link and you will be directed to a page that allows you to search for cases by region or alphabetically by country.
Global Information Legal Network (GLIN) 
GLIN is an excellent database of laws contributed by GLIN members. Some laws are available in full-text for free, while others are available to members only. The documents are in the original language with an English-language summary and subject terms from the GLIN index. Use the ‘More Search Options’ link to refine your search by jurisdiction, date and category.
Globalex--Foreign Law: Subject Law Collections on the Web 
This is a research guide for finding foreign and international law on the Internet.
Government Gazettes Online 
This website attempts to list all online government gazettes and their characteristics to aid researchers. A description of the contents and coverage are included for each gazette. A bibliography is provided as a useful resource for further research.
Harvard Law School Library—Foreign and International Law Gateways 
An annotated guide with links to resources around the world from Harvard's International Legal Studies Library.
Internet Legal Resource Group 
ILRS is a template for searching for legal web sites around the world. It’s organized by country and powered by Google.
Jurist—World Law 
Links to legal resources by country.
Library of Congress—Guide to Law Online 
Go to the "Nations of the World" section for excellent links to laws and legal groups by country.
NYU Law School—Foreign Collections by Jurisdiction 
This is an excellent resource for information on foreign and international electronic databases. It’s organized by country and continent.
Washburn University—Foreign and International Law 
Use the links listed under ‘Foreign’ and ‘International’ on the right hand column of the page. Legal resources, research aids, and other sites are listed by region and organization.
World Law Guide 
This guide provides links to legislation, court decisions and law schools around the world from Lexadin in the Netherlands.
World Legal Information Institute (WORLDLII) 
A global research facility for finding legal databases developed collaboratively by the AustLII Australasian Legal Information Institute , the British and BAILII Irish Legal Information Institute the CanLII Canadian Legal Information Institute , the HKLII Hong Kong Legal Information Institute, the Legal Information Institute (Cornell), the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute, and Wits Law School Wits University School of Law.

Banking Law

NYU Law School—Banking Law 
Perhaps outdated, this resource provides the text of banking laws for many countries.

Constitutional Law

Columbia Law School—Human and Constitutional Rights 
This website is no longer being updated as of March 26, 2008.
Constitution Finder 
Links to constitutions, charters, amendments and other related documents around the world.
International Constitutional Law 
Constitutional documents and country information. Formerly at Wuerzburg University, Berne University is now the home of the ICL site.

Criminal Law

Buffalo Criminal Law Center 
Criminal Law Resources on the InternetProvides online access to criminal law materials from around the world, including criminal codes, criminal procedure codes and enforcement codes.
Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children 
Information on rape, sex abuse, child prostitution and child pornography laws.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime—Legal Library 
The UNODC online legal library provides access to legislation adopted by over 150 countries to implement international drug control conventions. Click on 'Country Pages' on the left.

Electoral Law

ACE Project—Election Law Resources 
This portal provides information about election laws in many countries on specific areas (e.g., voter registration, election integrity, news, reports, legislative framework).

Environmental Law

ECOLEX: A Gateway to Environmental Law[1] 
ECOLEX provides access to treaties, legislation, court decisions and literature on environmental law. Use the ‘Advanced Search’ feature for more targeted searching.
United Nations Food and Drug Organization: FAOLEX 
One of the world's largest electronic collections of nationallaw and regulations on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources. Includes subjects such as land and soil; air and atmosphere; and sea. This portal has an ‘Advanced Search’ feature.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Annual Review of Populaiton Law 
A database of summaries and excerpts of legislation, constitutions, court decisions and other official government documents from every country in the world relating to population policies, reproductive rights and health, women's status and rights, children and adolescents, HIV/AIDS and related topics. Information is organized by topic and country.
DADEL--Database on Anti-Discrimination and Equality Law 
Information on anti-discrimination law and policy in Europe. It includes information from the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the UN and NGOs.
Columbia Law School—Human and Constitutional Rights 
This portal provides links to constitutions and other documents by country and region. It includes a comparative constitutional rights chart and a comparative Bills of Rights database. This website is no longer being updated as of March 26, 2008.
International Committee of the Red Cross--National Implementation of International Humanitarian Law 
This database provides documentation and commentaries concerning the implementation of international humanitarian law at the national level. It provides access to national legislation and decisions by state and keyword.
International Lesbian and Gay Association--World Legal Survey 
A world survey of laws on subjects such as employment, transgender, partnership and marriage, and more.
Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children 
Information on rape, sex abuse, child prostitution and child pornography laws from INTERPOL member states.
Prevent Genocide International—Laws Against Genocide 
Go to the 'Domestic Laws' section, which can be found towards the top left-hand side of the screen, for laws and penal codes relating to genocide from around the world.

Intellectual Property Law

UNESCO—Collection of National Copyright Laws 
Access to national copyright and related rights legislation of UNESCO Member States. Laws are organized first by region and then by country.
World Intellectual Property Organization — WIPO Lex 
WIPO Lex is a one-stop search facility for national laws and treaties on intellectual property of WIPO, WTO and UN Members. It also features related information which elaborates, analyzes and interprets these laws.

Labor Law

International Labour Organization—NATLEX 
This database is maintained by the ILO for national labor, social security and related human rights legislation. It provides abstracts by legislation and is indexed by keywords and subject classifications.