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Georgetown Law Library

Foreign and Comparative Law Research Guide

Foreign law is the national (also referred to as domestic or internal) law of any country other than the United States and research methods will vary depending on the country you are researching. This guide provides starting points.

Foreign Constitutions

For most foreign jurisdictions, constitutional texts are relatively easy to locate and are often available in English translation.  Listed below are the best electronic resources and print resources for researching current and/or historical constitutions from jurisdictions around the world. 

Bear in mind that a handful of jurisdictions, most notably the United Kingdom, do not have written constitutions.  It's also worth noting that some foreign jurisdictions amend their constitutions much more frequently than the United States does, in part because the constitutional amendment process is less onerous. 
 

Electronic Resources

  • World Constitutions Illustrated
    This HeinOnline database includes the current constitution of nearly every country in the world in its original language(s), along with English translations for most non-English-speaking jurisdictions. The database also includes many historical constitutions, national constitutional histories, and direct links to scholarly commentary (e-books and journal articles) available on HeinOnline.  For more information, download the Quick Reference Guide.
     
  • Constitute
    Developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project at the University of Texas, this free resource provides access to the full text of almost every national constitution currently in force.  For non-English speaking jurisdictions, the texts are provided in English translation.  All constitutional provisions are tagged by subject, making it easy to compare.  For more information, watch the following video tutorials:  Searching, Filtering, Comparing, Pinning.
     
  • Constitution Finder
    This gateway page, sponsored by the University of Richmond School of Law, provides links to national and sub-national constitutions, both current and historical, that are freely accessible online.  Links to English translations also are provided, where available.
     
  • International Constitutional Law Project (ICLP)
    The ICLP provides free access to English translations of constitutions from selected jurisdictions, along with related documentation, and cross-references the texts to allow for quick comparisons of constitutional provisions.
     
  • Political Database of the Americas:  Constitutions & Comparative Constitutional Study
    This database, maintained by the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University in collaboration with the Organization of American States, provides free access to constitutional texts from jurisdictions in the Western Hemisphere.  English translations are provided for some, but not all, jurisdictions.
     
  • Rise of Modern Constitutionalism, 1776-1849
    This searchable database of national and sub-national constitutions from 18th and 19th centuries is the result of an ongoing research project sponsored by a consortium of mostly German universities.  Browse by country, sub-national jurisdiction or by date.  Or search by keyword.  Content is provided in its original language(s).  Some English translations also are included.
     

Print & Microform Resources

  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World  INTL K3157.A2 B54
    Constitutions of Dependencies and Territories  INTL K3157.A2 B441 1998
    These loose-leaf print collections are updated regularly and include both current and prior constitutions, along with helpful commentary and bibliographies. Handy if you want to compare multiple versions of constitutions from multiple jurisdictions.
     
  • Constitutions of the World : 1850 to the Present  K3165 .C66 2002 Micro
    This microform collection is especially useful for historical research, as it includes a very comprehensive collection of prior constitutions that are no longer in force.