New Developments in International Legal Information Resources

The New Year is a great time to re-assess old legal research tools and review new ones, so here’s a look at some of the additions to and changes in international legal information resources in the past couple of years.

New resources include the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (MPECCOL), Elgar encyclopedias on private international law and on international economic law, and Oxford International Organizations (OXIO)(freely accessible until July 2018). Also forthcoming from Oxford is the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (MPEiPro).

HeinOnline’s foreign, comparative and international law (FCIL) content was enriched by the additions of Canadian provincial statutes, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law (free access with registration), the Philippine Law Collection, and Multinational Sources Compared: A Subject and Jurisdiction Index (by Alena L. Wolotira and Sherry L. Leysen).

I still consider Constitute (“The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare” in English and Arabic) to be a new FCIL resource, but version 4.0 added draft and historical constitutions, and a log-in feature that gives access to a private collection of historical constitutions. And a Spanish version of Constitute is forthcoming!

Global Online Access to Legal Information (GOALI) will be launched on February 2018. This Research4Life programme is the result of Yale and Cornell law libraries partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The purpose of GOALI is to “provide free or very low cost online access to legal information and academic research to governments, universities and non-profit institutions in developing countries to promote access to justice and the rule of law.”

The IFLA Governing Board adopted a Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age in December 2016. Sally Holterhoff of the IFLA Law Libraries Section had drafted the statement providing for authentication and digital preservation of national legal documents with help from Frederick Zarndt and after encouragement from Claire Germain.

The Law Library of Congress published new legal reports of interest including the following:

Major foreign, comparative, and international legal (FCIL) research stalwarts were restructured or changed authors/editors.

A global team of experts updated and reorganized 32 countries (including Canada, France, Mexico, and the U.S.) in the Foreign Law Guide (FLG) subscription database to include secondary law sources, legal research guides, and citation notes sections. For those unfamiliar with the FLG, it’s a major tool for locating English translations of foreign law, and laws by topic.

GlobaLex, a key free source of research guides on foreign, comparative, and international law topics, changed general editors from Mirela Roznovschi to Lucie Olejnikova. Globalex is under the Hauser Global Law School Program at New York University School of Law and is updated monthly.

The Jumpstart guide that I started on how to network and connect with FCIL specialists and get help with FCIL research was later updated by Mary Rumsey, and most recently by a team of colleagues from the AALL FCIL-SIS Electronic Research Interest Group (ERIG) – James Hart, Xin Chen, Yemisi Dina, and Steven Perkins. They did an excellent job of revising the Jumpstart introductory section, and have added language expertise to the list of people you can contact for help, as well as new topics and regions/countries. If you’re not familiar with this resource, check it out. Jumpstart began as a peer-to-peer resource, but is a useful tool for everyone. And if you specialize or are a generalist who wants to help, contact the Jumpstart team!

ERIG also begin a series of reviews of key FCIL e-resources in the October 2017 issue of the FCIL Newsletter. James Hart and Dennis Kim-Prieto wrote about the Foreign Law Guide and GlobaLex respectively.

The FCIL-SIS Latin American Law Interest Group followed up its award-winning Mexican law legal research guide with a new guide on Cuban Law and Legal Research (45.2 International Journal of Legal Information 76 (Summer 2017).

Did I miss anything? Any new non-English language sources? Let me know in the Comments section!

And, Happy New Year!


  1. Dear Lyonette,

    Maybe you want to see the Lawi Project. The Project created several legal encyclopedias and other legal resources, free and open access, with more than 1 million entries, mainly in English and Spanish.

    In Spanish, for example, there are platforms on Mexican law (20.000 entries), Argentinian law, Colombian law, etc, covering almost all Latin America. There are also a platform about Spanish law, with 18.000 entries, linked to all the Spanish laws and regulations in The central platform covers, in Spanish, international and comparative law, including Canadian and Indian legal issues.

    In English, there are plenty information on Indian law, Europe, US, English law –, etc.

    Among the resources, there are several legal dictionaries in English, and the largest law dictionary in Spanish, with 4.000 translations and cross references to the same legal concept in English.

    Yours sincerely,


  2. Lyonette Louis-Jacques

    Wonderful to hear, Salvador! I did not know about Lawi. So the Lawi Project is a Wiki legal encyclopedia for different countries? World Encyclopedia of Law being developed?