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Foreign Law - Primary Sources: Constitutions

Foreign Law: Constitutions

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Constitution Basics

Constitutions are the basis for a nation’s government and laws. Most countries have a written constitution or organic laws to outline the form of government of the nation and to define the functions and powers of the organs of government. There are several resources which provide not only the original text of the constitutions, but also English translations.

  • Hein Online's World Constitutions Illustrated (subscription database): Current and previous constitutions, in official languages and English translations. The World Constitutions Library includes constitutional histories and commentaries in treatises, law review articles (in the Hein Online Law Journals Library), and country studies.
  • Oxford Constitutions of the World (Subscription database): Full-text English translations of constitutions, with notes on amendments and other background information.  The Oxford database also includes a bibliography of resources on the country’s constitutional law and historical documents.
  • Constitute Constitutions Project: A free resource for making world constitutions available and searchable.  Constitutions are available in English translation. Articles of constitutions are tagged by topic so they can be browsed or searched.  Topics include international law, the judiciary, elections, and rights and duties.
  • University of Richmond Constitution Finder: A free resource for constitutions in official languages and translations.
  • Georgetown Political Database of the Americas: Constitutions in official languages, with constitutional analysis, electoral systems, comparative constitutional norms, and government links.
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Blaustein): K3157 .A2 B58. A 20 volume multi-volume looseleaf with English translations, some original texts, and history and background.  Available online as Oxford Constitutions of the World.
  • Peaslee’s Constitutions of Nations.  JF11 .P4.  A historical compilation of constitutions in English, with editions in 1950, 1956, 1965, and 1974.   All four editions are available online in the Hein Online's World Constitutions Illustrated.

Additionally, Official versions of constitutions may be published the country’s Official Gazette or code.

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