Comparative Constitutional Law Resources

Courts

Parliaments

International Bodies

Libraries and Academic Resources

 

Courts:

High Court of Australia

·         Link: http://www.hcourt.gov.au/

·         Description: The High Court is Australia’s highest appellate court in the judicial hierarchy and has original jurisdiction to deal with constitutional matters.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/

Supreme Court of the United States

·         Link: http://www.supremecourt.gov/

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judicial hierarchy of the United States.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspx (2007-present).

Supreme Court of Canada

·         Link: http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/home-accueil/index-eng.asp

·         Description: The Supreme Court is Canada’s final court of appeal. Constitutional questions can be raised by parties in ordinary litigation, and in addition, the Governor in Council can request the Court to give its opinion on the constitutionality of federal or provincial legislation.

·         Language: English and French

·         Full-text? Yes, available at http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/en/nav.do (1907-present).

Supreme Court of New Zealand

·         Link: http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/about/supreme

·         Description: The Supreme Court is New Zealand’s final court of appeal, and hears constitutional matters, such as those relating to the Treaty of Waitangi.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, but only for decisions ‘of public interest’: http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/about/supreme/supreme//from/decisions/judgments; otherwise, only case summaries are available: http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/about/supreme/case-summaries. But all Supreme Court decisions can be found at Judicial Decisions Online: http://jdo.justice.govt.nz/jdo/Search.jsp.

United Kingdom Supreme Court

·         Link: http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United Kingdom, and concentrates on cases of public and constitutional importance.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/index.html

France: Conseil Constitutionnel

·         Link: http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr

·         Description: The Conseil Constiutionnel (‘Constitutional Council’) adjudicates on the conformity of laws with the Constitution of France, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and treaties that France has signed.

·         Language: French (though a selection of decisions are available in English)

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/francais/les-decisions/les-decisions.95486.html.

Federal Constitutional Court of Germany

·         Link: http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/en/

·         Description: This is the highest constitutional court in Germany, and is tasked with ensuring that all state institutions obey the German Constitution.

·         Language: German versions of judgments only.

·         Full-text? Yes, available here: http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/en/decisions.html

Italian Constitutional Court (Corte Costituzionale della Repubblica Italiana)

·         Link: http://www.cortecostituzionale.it/default.do

·         Description: The role of the Constitutional Court includes, inter alia, to examine the constitutionality of laws enacted by the national and regional governments and to resolve jurisdictional disputes between the national government and the regions and between the regions.

·         Language: Italian (though a selection of recent judgments are available in English)

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.cortecostituzionale.it/actionGiurisprudenza.do.

Constitutional Court of Spain (Tribunal Constitucional de España)

·         Link: http://www.tribunalconstitucional.es/en/Pages/Home.aspx

·         Description: The Constitutional Court is empowered, inter alia, to examine the constitutionality of Spanish laws and treaties entered into by Spain, and to resolve conflicts between constitutional organs and between the national and regional governments.

·         Language: Spanish

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.tribunalconstitucional.es/en/jurisprudencia/Pages/Sentencias.aspx.

Supreme Court of Israel

·         Link: http://elyon1.court.gov.il/eng/system/index.html

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court in Israel, and has original jurisdiction to deal with issues of the legality of government decisions, such as by reference to Israel’s Basic Laws.

·         Language: Hebrew, but many decisions are available in English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://elyon1.court.gov.il/verdictssearch/englishverdictssearch.aspx (English decisions); http://elyon1.court.gov.il/verdictssearch/HebrewVerdictsSearch.aspx (Hebrew decisions).

·         N.B.Student opportunities – clerk positions: http://elyon1.court.gov.il/eng/Clerking_opportunities/index.html

Constitutional Court of South Africa

·         Link: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/home.htm

·         Description: This court is the highest court in South Africa on constitutional matters and its jurisdiction is restricted to such matters.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available here: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/uhtbin/cgisirsi/0/0/x/503/9; judgment summaries also available via this link: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/judgments/judgments.htm

·         N.B.Student opportunities – law clerk positions (http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/lawclerks/lawclerksmainpage.htm), with scholarships available (http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/lawclerks/scholarships.htm).

Supreme Court of Ghana

·         Link: http://www.judicial.gov.gh/

·         Description: The Supreme Court is Ghana’s final court of appeal, and possesses original jurisdiction in the interpretation of the Constitution and the constitutionality of laws.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at http://www.judicial.gov.gh/ejudgment/summarysearch.php (2009-present).

Supreme Court of Kenya

·         Link:http://www.judiciary.go.ke/portal/the-supreme-court.html

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest court in Kenya’s judicial hierarchy, and has appellate jurisdiction to hear cases involving the interpretation and application of the Kenyan Constitution.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://kenyalaw.org/CaseSearch/ (choose ‘Specific Search’, then ‘Use Extra Search Criteria’, then select ‘Supreme Court of Kenya’ in the Court drop-down field). N.B. Only a small number of Supreme Court cases are available.

Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong

·         Link: http://www.judiciary.gov.hk/en/crt_services/pphlt/html/cfa.htm

·         Description: The Court of Final Appeal is the highest appellate court in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and has jurisdiction in, inter alia, the interpretation and application of the Basic Law.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available here: http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/judgment.jsp?L1=FA#H1

Supreme Court of Japan

·         Link:http://www.courts.go.jp/english/

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest court in Japan’s judicial hierarchy and has appellate jurisdiction in, inter alia, constitutional matters.

·         Language: Japanese (English translations available)

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.courts.go.jp/english/judgments/index.html (English translations); http://www.courts.go.jp/search/jhsp0010?action_id=first&hanreiSrchKbn=01 (Japanese originals).

Judicial Yuan (Constitutional Court) of Taiwan

·         Link: http://www.judicial.gov.tw/en/

·         Description: The Judicial Yuan is the highest judicial organ in Taiwan and is charged with interpreting the Constitution of the Republic of China.

·         Language: Chinese (English summary translations available)

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://www.judicial.gov.tw/constitutionalcourt/en/p03.asp (full text Chinese decisions and English summary translations).

Constitutional Court of (South) Korea

·         Link: http://english.ccourt.go.kr/

·         Description: The Constitutional Court is a specialized court that is empowered, inter alia, to adjudge the constitutionality of laws and to otherwise interpret and apply the Constitution.

·         Language: Korean (English summary translations available)

·         Full-text? Only English summary translations, available at: http://english.ccourt.go.kr/ (choose ‘Decisions’, then ‘Search’). Decisions available from 1998. Full-text Korean decisions available via http://www.ccourt.go.kr/.

Supreme Court of India

·         Link: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/

·         Description: The Supreme Court is the highest court in India’s judicial hierarchy. It has original jurisdiction in disputes between the Government of India and one or more of its States, and in the enforcement of Fundamental Rights in India’s Constitution; it also has appellate jurisdiction in, inter alia, questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

·         Language: English

·         Full-text? Yes, available at: http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/chejudis.asp

[Back to Top]

Parliaments:

Parliament of Australia

·         Link: http://www.aph.gov.au/

·         Resources:Publications – http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Publications; Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=legcon_ctte/index.htm)

·         Language(s):English only

United States Congress

·         Link: http://www.house.gov/ (House of Representatives); http://www.senate.gov/ (Senate)

·         Resources:House of Representatives – Information about the House (http://www.house.gov/content/learn/), see also Library of Congress Resources on Government, Politics and Law (http://www.loc.gov/topics/government.php); Senate – Virtual Reference Desk clearinghouse (http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/b_three_sections_with_teasers/virtual.htm), Congressional Record (http://www.senate.gov/reference/Index/Congressional_Record_Copy.htm).

·         Language(s): English and Spanish

Parliament of Canada

·         Link: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Default.aspx?Language=E

·         Resources:About Parliament – http://www.parl.gc.ca/About.aspx?Language=E; Senate – Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (http://www.parl.gc.ca/SenCommitteeBusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?parl=41&ses=1&Language=E&comm_id=11)

·         Language(s):English and French

New Zealand Parliament

·         Link: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ

·         Resources:Parliamentary Support, Research Papers – http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/ParlSupport/ResearchPapers/; Justice and Electoral Select Committee (http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/Details/JusticeElec/4/1/2/00DBHOH_BBSC_SCJE_1-Business-before-the-Justice-and-Electoral-Committee.htm)

·         Language(s):English only

United Kingdom Parliament

·         Link: http://www.parliament.uk/

·         Resources:Publications and Records – http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/; About Parliament – http://www.parliament.uk/about/; Constitution Committee (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/constitution-committee/)

·         Language(s):English only

European Parliament / Council

·         Link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/portal/en (European Parliament, the directly elected body of the European Union); http://www.european-council.europa.eu/home-page.aspx (European Council, which comprises the heads of government of each member state).

·         Resources:EuroParl Committee on Constitutional Affairs – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/afco/home.html;jsessionid=5BCB963C3328E4DEF69CDC244C002AD4.node1; EU Treaties –  http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/decision-making/treaties/index_en.htm

·         Language(s):English and all other EU languages

French Parliament (Parlement Français)

·         Link: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/english/index.asp (Assemblée Nationale / National Assembly); http://www.senat.fr/lng/en/ (Sénat / Senate)

·         Resources:Assemblée Nationale – Role and Powers (http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/english/index.asp#work), Parliamentary Documents (http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/documents/index.asp) [French only]; Sénat – Role and Powers (http://www.senat.fr/lng/en/the_senates_role.html), Reports on public powers and the Constitution (http://www.senat.fr/themes/rapports-pouvoirs-publics-et-constitution.html) [French only], Committee on constitutional laws, legislation, universal franchise, regulations and general administration (http://www.senat.fr/commission/loi/index.html) [French only]

·         Language(s):French (only limited sections available in English)

German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag)

·         Link: http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/

·         Resources:Research papers (http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/documents/research_papers/index.html), legal framework for the German Parliament (http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/documents/legal/index.html), Legal Affairs Committee (www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ausschuesse17/a06/index.jsp) [German only]

·         Language(s):English, German and French

Italian Parliament (Parlamento Italiano)

·         Link: http://www.parlamento.it/home, comprised of: Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei deputati) (http://www.camera.it/leg17/1); Senate (Senato della Repubblica) (http://www.senato.it/home)

·         Resources:Chamber of Deputies – fundamental laws (http://en.camera.it/4?scheda_informazioni=23), Commission on Constitutional Affairs (http://www.camera.it/leg17/807?shadow_organo_parlamentare=2075&I+COMMISSIONE+%28AFFARI+COSTITUZIONALI%2C+DELLA+PRESIDENZA+DEL+CONSIGLIO+E+INTERNI%29) [Italian only]; Senate – Standing Committee on Constitutional Affairs (http://www.senato.it/3447?shadow_organo=1170001) [Italian only]

·         Language(s):Italian (limited sections available in English and French)

Spanish Parliament (Cortes Generales)

·         Link: http://www.cortesgenerales.es/, comprised of: Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) (http://www.congreso.es/portal/page/portal/Congreso/Congreso); Senate (Senado) http://www.senado.es/web/index.html

·         Resources:Congress of Deputies – Constitutional Committee (http://www.congreso.es/portal/page/portal/Congreso/Congreso/Organos/Comision?_piref73_7498063_73_1339256_1339256.next_page=/wc/detalleInformComisiones?idOrgano=301&idLegislatura=10) [Spanish only]; Senate – Documents of the Constitutional Committee (http://www.senado.es/web/actividadparlamentaria/sesionescomision/detallecomisiones/recursosdocumentales/index.html?id=S011003&legis=10) [mostly in Spanish],

·         Language(s):Spanish and (some) English

Israeli Parliament (Knesset)

·         Link: http://knesset.gov.il/main/eng/home.asp

·         Resources:Basic Laws and the Knesset (http://knesset.gov.il/description/eng/eng_mimshal_yesod.htm); Constitution, Law and Justice Committee (http://knesset.gov.il/committees/eng/committee_eng.asp?c_id=6) [documents not available in English]

·         Language(s):Hebrew (some pages available in English)

Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

·         Link: http://www.parliament.gov.za/live/index.php

·         Resources:Joint Committee on Constitutional Review (http://www.parliament.gov.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=215&CommitteeID=33), Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development (http://www.parliament.gov.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=215&CommitteeID=18)

o   Language(s):English only

Parliament of Ghana

·         Link: http://www.parliament.gh/

·         Resources:Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Select Committee (http://www.parliament.gh/committee_details.php?cd=9) [no publications as yet]

·         Language(s):English only

Parliament of Kenya

·         Link: http://www.parliament.go.ke/, comprised of the National Assembly (http://www.parliament.go.ke/plone/national-assembly) and the Senate (http://www.parliament.go.ke/plone/senate)

·         Resources:About Parliament (constitutional foundation) (http://www.parliament.go.ke/plone/about-parliament); National Assembly – Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (http://www.parliament.go.ke/plone/national-assembly/committees/committees/justice-and-legal-affairs-committee) [no publications as yet]; Senate – Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (http://www.parliament.go.ke/plone/senate/committees/committees/committee-on-legal-affairs-and-human-rights) [no publications as yet]

·         Language(s):English only

Legislative Council of Hong Kong

·         Link: http://www.legco.gov.hk/index.html

·         Resources:Panel on Constitutional Affairs (http://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/panels/yr12-16/ca.htm)

·         Language(s):English and Chinese

Japan: National Diet

·         Link: House of Representatives (http://www.shugiin.go.jp/index.nsf/html/index_e.htm); House of Councillors (http://www.sangiin.go.jp/eng/index.htm)

·         Resources:House of Representatives – Commission on the Constitution (http://www.shugiin.go.jp/index.nsf/html/index_e_kenpou.htm); House of Councillors – Handbook on the Research Report on the Japanese Constitution (http://www.sangiin.go.jp/eng/report/ehb/ehb.pdf)

·         Language(s):Japanese and English

Taiwan: Legislative Yuan

·         Link: http://www.ly.gov.tw/en/innerIndex.action

·         Resources:Constitutional Amendment Committee (http://www.ly.gov.tw/en/05_comm/commIntro.action?id=29) [no documents available in English]

·         Language(s):Chinese (some pages available in English, Japanese and Spanish)

·         Notes:Note that Taiwan has a unicameral legislature.

National Assembly of South Korea

·         Link:http://korea.na.go.kr/index.jsp

·         Resources:Committees (http://korea.na.go.kr/int/org_06.jsp) [no documents available in English]

·         Language(s):Korean (some pages available in English)

·         Notes:Note that South Korea has a unicameral legislature.

Parliament of India

·         Link: House of the People (Lok Sabha) (http://loksabha.nic.in/); Council of States (Rajya Sabha) (http://rajyasabha.nic.in/

·         Resources:General information about the Indian Parliament (http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/our%20parliament/parliament.htm);

·         Language(s):English only

[Back to Top]

International Bodies:

European Court of Human Rights

·         Link: http://www.echr.coe.int

·         Description:The supra-national court that administers the European Convention on Human Rights.

·         Language(s):English and French (case law)

·         Full text?Yes, available via the HUDOC search engine (http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/Pages/search.aspx)

European Court of Justice

·         Link: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/

·         Description:The highest court in the European Union on matters of European Union law.

·         Language(s):All European Union languages (but generally English and French)

·         Notes:Traineeships – see http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7008/

·         Full text? Yes.

UN Bodies

·         International Court of Justice

o   Link: http://www.icj-cij.org/homepage/

o   Description:The ICJ is the judicial branch of the United Nations which settles disputes between states and provides advisory opinions on matters of international law.

o   Languages:English and French

o   Full text?Yes.

·         International Law Commission

o   Link:http://www.un.org/law/ilc/index.htm

o   Description:The ILC is the arm of the United Nations that codifies international law and promotes its development.

o   Resources:See summaries of work of the ILC (http://www.un.org/law/ilc/index.htm)

o   Language(s):English and French; many documents are also translated into the other official United Nations languages.

·         General Assembly  Sixth Committee (Legal)

o   Link:http://www.un.org/en/ga/sixth/

o   Description:The 6th GA considers the progressive development of public international law and other legal questions brought before the General Assembly.

o   Resources:See documents for the Committee’s present 67th session (http://www.un.org/en/ga/sixth/67/67_session.shtml) as well as previous sessions (http://www.un.org/en/ga/sixth/previous_sessions.shtml).

o   Language(s):All official UN languages.

·         United Nations Treaty Collection

o   Link:http://treaties.un.org/

o   Description:This database houses the texts of all the international agreements entered into by states.

·         Language(s):All official UN languages.

o   United Nations Rule of Law

o   Link:http://www.unrol.org/

o   Resources:See, eg, Constitution-Making (http://www.unrol.org/article.aspx?article_id=31), Browse documents by topic (http://www.unrol.org/document_browse.aspx?xd=1&cat_id=33), Databases (http://www.unrol.org/article.aspx?article_id=35)

o   Language(s):All official UN languages.

African Union institutions

·         African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

o   Link:http://www.african-court.org/en/

o   Description:The supra-national court of the African Union which interprets and applies the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

o   Full text?Yes, see http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/2012-03-04-06-06-00/list-cases

o   Language(s):English, French, Portuguese, Arabic

o   Notes:Internship opportunities – http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/2012-03-04-06-10-45/internship

·         Pan-African Parliament

o   Link:http://www.pan-africanparliament.org/

o   Resources:Related websites (http://www.pan-africanparliament.org/RelatedWebsites.aspx)

o   Language(s):English, French, Portuguese, Arabic

Inter-American institutions

·         Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

o   Link:http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/default.asp

o   Description:The IACHR promotes the observance and defence of human rights in the Americas, particularly with respect to the OAS Charter, the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

o   Resources:Country reports (http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/country.asp), Thematic reports (http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/thematic.asp)

o   Language(s):English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

·         Inter-American Court on Human Rights

o   Link:http://www.corteidh.or.cr/

o   Description:The Court hears disputes between member states under the American Convention on Human Rights, and issues advisory opinions in respect of that instrument.

o   Full text?Yes, see http://www.corteidh.or.cr/index.php/jurisprudencia

o   Language(s):Portuguese only

[Back to Top]

Libraries and Academic Resources:

Universities

·         Melbourne Law School Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies        

o   http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/cccs/resources/external-links

o   Georgetown Law Library, Comparative Constitutional Law Research Guide

o   http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/ComparativeConstitutionalLaw.cfm

·         Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Comparative Constitutional Law Resource Guide

o   https://www.law.csuohio.edu/lawlibrary/guides/comparative

·         Harvard Law School Library, Foreign Law Resources

o   http://www.law.harvard.edu/library/research/guides/int_foreign/web-resources/metapages.html

·         Prof. Axel Tschentscher, Bern Law School, International Constitutional Law Documents

o   http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/; http://www.verfassungsvergleich.de/

·         Other sites with ‘clearing house’ resources

·         Association Française de Droit Constitutionnel

o   http://www.afdc.fr/

o   (Available in French only)

o   Links to French constitutional law resources, including journal articles, books and other publications

·         Council of Europe: Venice Commission (‘CODICES’)

o   http://www.codices.coe.int/NXT/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=default.htm

o   This database incorporates the judgment summaries of 4,000 important decisions of constitutional courts from around 50 countries over the past twenty years, and in addition incorporates the full text of around 5,000 judgments, mainly in English and French but also in 24 other languages.

·         German Constitutional Court

o   http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/en/links.html

o   This site has links to constitutional courts around the world

·         Association des Cours Constitutionnelles ayant en Partage l’Usage de Français

o   http://www.accpuf.org/

o   This site covers the constitutions and related issues of around 40 Francophone countries around the world.

·         Constitution Finder

o   http://confinder.richmond.edu/

o   Contains the text of constitutions.

For other information, see WorldLII.

[Back to Top]