Almost every jurisdiction outside the U.S. publishes newly enacted legislation and regulations in an official publication that is similar to the Federal Register. These publications are referred to generically as official gazettes, national gazettes or government gazettes. Some gazettes also selectively publish decisions by constitutional courts and other courts of final appeal.
In many jurisdictions, newly enacted laws may not take effect until they have been published in the official gazette. For some jurisdictions, particularly those in the developing world, the official gazette is the only published source for both legislation and regulations.
Some common characteristics of official gazettes worth bearing in mind:
The online version of the official gazette of Chile.
Many jurisdictions now publish their official gazette online. Unfortunately, not all online gazettes are free to access. Some require a subscription in order to download content.
Gazettes that do offer free online access often have limited search capabilities. Many can only be browsed chronologically. In those cases, it is essential to know the date (or at least the year) when a law was enacted to retrieve the full text.
For information about a jurisdiction's official gazette, including its name, whether or not it is available online, and whether the electronic version is free to access, consult one or more of the following resources:
Researchers who are reluctant to navigate an electronic version of an official gazette in a language other than English should use Global-Regulation instead. This subscription database enables users to search by keyword in English across official gazettes and legislative databases from 110 jurisdictions that are freely accessible online.
For non-English speaking jurisdictions, Global Regulation provides machine generated English translations of legal texts. It also provides a link to each legal text in its original language, as it was published in the jurisdiction's official gazette or database of national legislation.
The official gazette of Canada in English and French.
If the jurisdiction you are researching does not provide free online access to its official gazette, and if you can't find the law you are seeking using any of the multi-jurisdictional, single-jurisdiction or subject-specific resources described elsewhere in this guide, you will need to consult the print version of the official gazette to access to the full text of the law.
Bear in mind that only a handful of academic and research libraries collect official gazettes from multiple jurisdictions in print. The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., maintains the most extensive collection of official gazettes in North America. Use the Foreign Legal Gazettes Database to determine which official gazettes and in what format (print, microfiche, microfilm, or digitized on-site access) are available at the Law Library of Congress.
Researchers planning to access official gazettes at the Law Library of Congress should review this visitor's information page and obtain a reader's ID card before entering the Law Library's reading room.
To determine which other libraries have an official gazette in print, consult the Foreign Official Gazettes (FOG) Database. It includes records of current and historical official gazettes held by the Law Library of Congress, five other U.S. libraries, and the U.K. National Archives. Use the pull-down menu to browse by jurisdiction. Note that the FOG Database is no longer being updated. Before visiting a library in person to consult official gazettes in print, be sure to contact the library to confirm its holdings of the desired gazette.
The official gazette of Belgium in French and Dutch.