Online Transnational Legal Research

A colleague has made me aware of, a free website providing access to and information about transnational legal research.

The site can be searched by keyword with filters for such things as type of text (Court Decision, Arbitral Awards, Doctrine, Clause, Legislation or Principles) or language (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portugese and Latin).

The site can also be searched or browsed by one of 4 categories (the descriptions below are taken directly from the site):

1) Principles: The TransLex-Principles contain more than 120 principles and rules of transnational law, the New Lex Mercatoria, supported by references to various sources. The “About the Principles” page describes the scope in these terms:

For almost 130 principles and rules of transnational law, like “venire contra factum proprium”, “duty to mitigate” or “compensation for expropriation”, the TransLex-Principles provide the user with their black letter text and comprehensive references taken from international arbitral awards, domestic statutes, international conventions, standard contract forms, trade practices and usages, other sample clauses and academic sources. All of these sources are, as far as possible, presented in full text versions.

2) Bibliography: This section is a selected collection of bibliographic references on transnational law organized in alphabetical order, with some full-text articles available.

3) Materials: This section is a collection of domestic statutes, international conventions, model laws, restatements and other soft-law instruments which are of relevance for anybody doing research in transnational law and international business law.

4) Links: This section contains links to sites which are relevant for anybody doing research in transnational law and international business law.

As discussed on the site, is not necessarily an attempt to formally codify transnational law but to set out the principles and rules regarding comparative law:

However, in the context of transnational law, “codification” does not mean formalized law making by a sovereign legislature. Rather, it relates to the formulation of these principles and rules in black letter texts and the reproduction of the comparative law materials evidencing a particular principle or rule. This approach to the codification of transnational law serve three specific purposes:

– the formulation of the rules and principles in black letter text allows the user to apply the New Lex Mercatoria in legal practice;

– the reproduction of the comparative law references for each principle or rule helps to save the time and money that must be invested in comparative research required to determine the contents of transnational law;

– displaying the relevant materials in full-text versions immediately below the black letter text of each principle and rule allows the user to make his own judgement about the “comparative persuasiveness” of these sources.

The TransLex-Principles therefore merely establish a presumption that the principles and rules reproduced in the list form part of the lex mercatoria. It is for this reason that the name of the lex should rather be “principia mercatoria”

Other related sites of possible interest:


  1. Dear Trans-Lex Users

    It is nice to see that our work is accepted by so many users and that our database is even suggested to colleague.

    We are also proud to announce that we have a new feature:

    Trans-Lex now has also an discussion board ( There you can discuss any issue related to transnational law. Posting there is even possible without displaying you real name. You can post as “Guest” and do not have to have an account (which is free, though).

    When you scroll down any Trans-Lex document you can comment on this specific document.