Human Rights Law Research Guide

This guide will lead researchers through primary materials and introduce important secondary sources. While general human rights sources are covered in the guide, special attention is paid to resources that specifically address international women's human

National (Domestic) Court Decisions on Human Rights

The most important human rights cases decided by national courts are often published in human rights case reporters.  These commercially-published reporters often provide full-text English translations, as well as case summaries, headnotes, and other editorial enhancements.  Visit the Multi-Institutional and Multi-Jurisdictional Sources page of this research guide for links to these sources.  

Two additional sources that focus on major constitutional law decisions by domestic courts from multiple jurisdictions are described below.  Note that these sources cover all types of constitutional claims and are not limited to human rights cases.

  • Bulletin on Constitutional Case Law, Call No. KJC4444.52 .B85
    This series, published by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, provides summaries of constitutional law cases, including those involving human rights claims, decided by courts throughout the world.  Full texts of these decisions, and many English translations thereof, are available on the CODICES database, described below.

    This free database  includes the full texts of most of the judgments summarized in the Bulletin on Constitutional Case Law, described above.  The menu in the upper left-hand corner offers multiple search options.  To display browsing options, click on the icon in the shape of a folder below the search menu.  Select "Alphabetical Index" to browse alphabetically by subject.  Select "Full Texts" to browse geographically by country.

If you can't find the national court decision that you are seeking using the sources described above, you may still be able to find it elsewhere.  The Georgetown Law Library's Foreign & Comparative Law Research Guide provides detailed guidance on finding judicial decisions from jurisdictions outside the U.S., as well as a list of jurisdiction-specific case law databases.  Don't hesitate to ask a librarian if you need help.

Bear in mind that the availability of case law varies widely by jurisdiction, depending on the type of legal system in place therein.  Generally speaking, it is much easier to find judgments issued by courts in common law jurisdictions than it is to find judgments issued by courts in civil law jurisdictions.  For decisions issued by courts in non-English speaking jurisdictions, English language summaries are much more common than full-text English translations.