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

Human Rights Case Law by Subject

A small but growing number IGOs and NGOs offer free online databases of human rights case law that focus on a particular subject or group of related subjects.  The best of these subject-specific collections of human rights case law are described below. 

Bear in mind that the coverage of these free resources is selective, not comprehensive, and that some of them are not updated regularly.  Despite these limitations, they can still be good sources for locating cases that are not available elsewhere.

  • African Child Rights Cases
    This free resource focuses on court decisions involving the rights and welfare of children in Africa.  The collection currently includes case law from eight African jurisdictions.  Cases from additional jurisdictions are expected to be added.  Search by keyword or browse by country, type of court or subject.
  • ESCR-Net Case Law Database
    This free resource focuses on human rights cases involving economic, social and cultural rights and includes summaries of judgments issued by national courts, international tribunals, and regional human rights tribunals.  Searches may be limited by country, by theme, by type of forum or by language.  Use the interactive map to browse by country.
  • Global Health and Human Rights Law Database
    This user-friendly resource, sponsored by the Georgetown Law Center's O'Neill Institute, offers selective coverage of case law on a variety of human rights topics from multiple jurisdictions.  Use the Advance Search to limit searches to a particular country or human rights topic or by date.  Alternatively, you may browse by topic or by country.
  • Human Trafficking Case Law Database
    Sponsored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, this free resource includes case law on human trafficking from jurisdictions worldwide.  Browse by country or by keyword.  Then use the filters to narrow.  Be sure to click on the caption or number of a case to display all available information.  Clicking on "show more" displays only a brief summary.
  • RefWorld – Case Law
    This UN database focuses primarily on human rights cases involving refugees and asylum seekers, but some cases also touch on other human rights topics.  Use the filters to the right of the search form to browse by country, by topic, by judicial body or by legal instrument.