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Legislation and treaties

Introduction

This guide offers an overview of resources for finding (foreign) legislation and treaties.
Refer to the guide Wetgeving en verdragen for resources on Dutch legislation.
Do you need help or do you have suggestions or comments? Please contact us.

Databases

  • Beck-online
    German legal library. Contains legislation, treaties and commentaries (e.g. Münchener Kommentar).
  • Council of Europe - Treaty Office website
    The text of all Council of Europe treaties, their explanatory reports, the status of signatures and ratifications, the declarations and reservations made by States, as well as the notifications issued by the Treaty Office since 2005.
  • Flare Index to Treaties - IALS
    Database of basic information on more than 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties and some bilateral treaties concluded between 1353 and the present, with details of where the full text of each treaty may be obtained in paper or online (if available).
  • Guide to Law Online - Nations
    Compendium of Internet links edited by the Library of Congress. Find links to constitutional, executive, judicial and legislative resources for all countries in the world.
  • International Legal Materials
    Contains the full texts of important (recent and draft) treaties and agreements, judicial and arbitral decisions, national legislation, international organizations resolutions and other documents.
  • N-Lex - A common gateway to National Law
    An overview of free-access websites with legislation for all European Union member states. See also the overview of links to legislative websites in third countries (including other European countries, Mediterranean countries, Australia and Oceania, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia).
  • United Nations Treaty Collection
    Contains the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), League of Nations Treaty Series (LoNTS), the status of multilateral treaties (MTDSG) and more.
  • U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library - HeinOnline
    Online collection of U.S. treaties and agreements. Includes prominent collections as the United States Treaties and Other International Agreements set (commonly referred to as the "Blue set").
  • Westlaw
    Contains United Kingdom Statutes from 1267 (fully consolidated), United States Code (fully annotated), Hong Kong Legislation from 1997 and Canada Legislation (fully consolidated).
  • World Constitutions - HeinOnline
    Includes the current constitution for every country in its original language format and an English translation, constitutional periodicals, thousands classic books, other related works such as the World Fact Book, links to scholarly articles and online resources, and bibliographic references.

Translated legislation

Be careful with translations of legislation; they are often not official and may be outdated.

Dutch law
Sometimes translated acts can be found on the websites of Dutch governmental organizations or ministries. For example the regulations on the website of the Authority for Consumers and Markets.

Try to find translations with a search engine: use the English translation of the name of the act or the Dutch name (title) in combination with ‘English translation’ or ‘translated’ e.g. “environmental act” AND (translation OR translated) AND English.

The website Dutch Civil Law provides an unofficial translation of the Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek), Code of Civil Procedure, Works Council Act, and more. See also Lexadin.nl for Dutch and translated legislation of the Netherlands. (NB The website contains 'broken links'.)

See also:
The Civil code of the Netherlands / translated by Hans Warendorf, Richard Thomas, Ian Curry-Sumner (2nd ed. 2013).

Foreign law
For some translated (French, German, Austrian and Israeli to English) legal materials in the fields of constitutional, administrative, contract and tort law, see the Institute for Transnational Law.

The website of the Bundesministerium der Justiz provides some translations of German statutes. The translated legal texts are for reference only.

The Law Library of Congress has published Guides to Law Online. These guides contain an annotated compendium of Internet links and sources, and wherever possible offer the full text of laws, regulations and court decisions, along with commentary.

Some translated legislation of EU member states can be found through N-Lex - A common gateway to National Law.

Lexadin.nl offers links to translated (into English) legislation for approximately 180 countries (N.B. The website contains ‘broken links’).

See also:
The Maastricht collection / S. Hardt & N. Kornet (5th ed. 2017).

Treaties

Use the databases listed in combination with the manual How to find a treaty which contains more information (what is a treaty, where is a treaty published, explanation of terms such as ratification, reservation and protocol) and resources on treaties.

See also the guide International law.

Commentaries

Commentaries provide information on how to interpret terms in legislative acts and explain the legislative history and policy background of acts.

Find a specific commentary (resources)
1) CataloguePlus: search 'commentar*' + full or abbreviated title of the treaty, convention or declaration and select UvA books+ (commentar* ECHR);
2) If needed, use the options on the right to filter the search results.

Travaux preparatoires

Preparatory works: documents, such as memoranda, minutes of conferences, and drafts of a treaty under negotiation for the purpose of interpreting the treaty.

Find specific travaux preparatoires
1) CataloguePlus: search 'travaux preparatoires' and a specific treaty;
2) If needed, use the options on the right to filter the search results.

Audiovisual Library of International Law / Historic Archives UN
Contains, among other texts, ‘preparatory documents’ of UN treaties and agreements. Select a field of law, choose a specific treaty and click the tab ‘Documents’ at the top of the page.

Watch the knowledge clip 'Finding EU legislation and UN treaties'

Miscellaneous