ESTADO PLURINACIONAL DE BOLIVIA / PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA
Law of Transparency:
Access to information, generally speaking, is a civil right provided for in Article 21 of the Bolivian Constitution. A presidential decree was issued in 2005 (Decreto Supremo 28444) establishing processes and mechanisms for public access to information and transparency in government. In 2006, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights proposed, Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information -It never passed.
President Evo Morales created a Ministry of Transparency- shortly after taking office. The focus of the ministry is anti-corruption. However, one objective of the ministry is to fortify free access to public information. There is also the Bolivian Agency of Information that provides basic access to the country’s laws and decrees.
Latin Laws: Biblioteca Legal Latinoamericana- redirects users to official Bolivian government websites and other unofficial databases. This is a great place to start, but the material posted is now a few years old so follow-up research to confirm currency is required.
IberIUS: Red Iberoamericana de Información y Documentación Judicial- has unofficial, pdf, full-text documents, in its collection including important codes and laws, and will also redirect users to government websites for legal documents such as legislation and jurisprudence. The site additionally provides information using graphs and text to explain a country’s judicial organization, individual courts, and other government organs.
NATLEX is the database of the International Labour Organisation - The focus of NATLEX is on national labor, social security, and related human rights legislation. The records in NATLEX provide abstracts of legislation (with internally hyperlinked documents) and relevant citation information. Full-text pdfs of scanned original document are made available when possible as are links to relevant online resources. One can browse by county or subject, or search by keywords and by subject classifications.
ECOLEX is a database of environmental law operated jointly by UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and incorporates environmental law holdings from each of these organizations. One can search any number of ways including by country - ECOLEX includes information on treaties, international soft-law and other non-binding policy and technical guidance documents, national legislation, judicial decisions, and law and policy literature. The results are abstracts and citation and indexing information about each document. Full-text of most documents is obtained by linking the user to government sites containing the document.
FAOLEX is the database of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations-After selecting one of 15 topics or “all”, the user is directed to an advanced search screen where one can focus the search by country among other options. The results are abstracts with citation and indexing information for each document. Full-text of most documents is obtained by linking the user to government sites containing the document.
The Doing Business Law Library hosted by the World Bank - is the largest free online collection of business laws and regulations. One can search by economy or individual country; results will link to official government sources wherever possible. Translations are generally not official unless indicated otherwise, and although the database is updated regularly, currency is not guaranteed; therefore, further research would be prudent.
The Constitution of Bolivia is the supreme law of the land. This new Constitution granting more right and power to Bolivia’s indigenous people was approved by referendum on January 25, 2009, and signed into law on by President Evo Morales on February 9, 2009.
The website of the Bolivian Information Agency- supplies the current Bolivian Constitution in html under the Documentos tab.
The Ministry of Economy and Public Finance - has the Constitution as do the websites of most, if not all, government ministries.
The Political Databases of the Americas at Georgetown University also has the current and several older Constitutions available in unofficial html format.
The University of Richmond Constitution Finder- redirects patrons to websites providing Bolivia’s 2009 and 1967 Constitutions.
Although the website, Constituciones Hispanoamericanas has not been updated since 2005, it is still a good source of constitutions going back to the days of independence, i.e. early 19th century. Bolivia’s 2009 Constitution is notably absent. All documents are unofficial, full-text, html.
Codes, Laws, Decrees, Resolutions, Regulations, and other Legal Norms:
After completing the legislative process- laws take effect in Bolivia immediately upon publication in the official gazette, Gaceta Oficial del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, unless a later date is specified in the legislation.
The Gaceta Oficial has its own dedicated website.. The Gaceta Oficial website can be navigated and searched in four languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani. Results are only in Spanish and are available in html and official, authentic pdf. The database goes back to Issue One in 1960 and even includes 19th c. codes.
The website of the Vice Presidency contains a database with laws from 1960 to the present. One can search within the Official Collection of Laws, the Library of Congress, Decrees, or other official publications. Searches can also be narrowed by who promulgated the law, theme, law number, and which legislature. Results seem to be organized by relevance rather than chronologically, and all are available in full-text, html though there are no marks of authentication.
The website of the Bolivian Information Agency, under the Documentos tab, has a chronological list of laws and decrees, summarized from 1997 to the present (over 2,000 laws and 4,500 decrees). Laws and decrees from February 2010 are available full-text, linked to the Gaceta Oficial.
The Chamber of Deputies has the Proyectos, or bills and related documents, that have been passed by the Chamber of Deputies starting in October 2010 -
The website of the Senate is under construction.
The subscription database, SILEG en Línea, provides the Bolivian codes and some major laws free of charge.
English summaries of over 2,000 laws are available on the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the national Library of Congress of the United States of America. No full-text is available but there are citations to the Gaceta Oficial.
The World Law Guide has a list of Bolivian laws, organized topically, most of which redirect the user to official government websites. This is a terrific place to look for laws pertaining to a multitude of topics.
Legislation by Topic:
Several government ministries make relevant laws available on their website:
Laws and decrees relevant to the National Agrarian Tribunal, created by law 1715 in 1996 and modified by law 3545 in 2006, can be searched and located on its website.
The Ministry of Economy and Public Finance - has the Constitution and many relevant laws online, organized chronologically. They are scanned pdfs of the Gaceta Oficial and go back to 1990; included is the Social Security Code of 1956. Supreme Decrees go back to 1985. There are also a handful of norms, regulations, and resolutions (administrative, supreme, ministerial and biministerial); all are pdfs of original official documents and appear authentic.
The Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy has several relevant laws listed in a column on the right panel of the homepage. They are official pdfs.
The website of the Ministry of Health and Education has a Documentation Center - contains the full-text, official version of pertinent international treaties as well as citations to (but not the full-text of) ministerial resolutions from 2010 and 2011.
The Public Ministry website contains official pdfs of relevant codes, laws, regulations, and international treaties.
The OAS website on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has a page for Bolivia- wherein texts such as the Bolivian Constitution, the codes of criminal law and criminal procedure, and other relevant codes and national legislation are provided. There are also bilateral extradition and other relevant treaties, as well as multilateral treaties going back to the early 20th century. Some of these documents are official pdfs, others are unofficial html, doc, and pdf documents.
The website of the Andean Commission of Jurists, a highly-respected human rights organization based in Lima, Peru- has a tab for legislation and jurisprudence but the material therein is a now outdated. A note on that page tells readers that the Network of Juridical Information (RIJ) is being updated with the last update July 2008. Thus, the information found, such as legislation from the individual Andean nations (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela) is not up-to-date but is still accessible, as is jurisprudence from constitutional courts, and many webpages explaining various aspects of national and international law. Hopefully the updating of this valuable tool that brings together multinational and international legal information will be completed soon.
The Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice are the highest courts in Bolivia. The Supreme Court of Justice functions as a court of cassation. Recent legislation (Ley del Deslinde Jurisdiccional, Law No. 073, 29 December 2010) establishes two parallel jurisdictions within the court system in Bolivia: ordinary and indigenous. Court decisions are of little, if any, precedential value in Bolivia. The exception might be solely within the Constitutional Court’s own, limited jurisdiction. Bolivia, as a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, submits to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as the court of last instance in relevant matters.
Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court from 1999 to the present is available in full-text html on a slow and somewhat clunky website. Nonetheless, one can: search for decisions by date, party, or number; browse the decisions chronologically and by case name; and drill down the Tree of Jurisprudence organized topically. This can be very helpful for focused searching for precedent of the Constitutional Court, as noted in the Globalex article.
The Supreme Court of Justice also has a primitive website (by current western standards) where one can search by keyword only in an attempt to locate court decisions. One can pull up docket sheets to see the various stages of a case, and one can search for district court decisions as well. It is unclear how far back this database goes, exactly what courts are covered, and whether it is comprehensive. Nonetheless, it is not an impossible database to use.
Resolutions of the National Agrarian Tribunal from 2000 to the present can be searched or browsed and retrieved on its website. Results are full-text html and do not bear any authenticating symbol.
Doctrine (Journals, Treatises, Commentary):
Dialnet - is an open-access index of journals based at the Universidad de La Rioja, Spain. It contains a large number of Latin American legal journals and articles. One can search for journals or articles using advanced search functions. Some articles and journals are available full-text online from the journal website; a few articles are available full-text from the index.
Redalyc is a database of Latin American and Caribbean journals with full-text, authentic pdfs. Although it does not yet contain any legal journals from Bolivia, there are law review articles about Bolivia indexed and available in the database.
Latindex- provides bibliographic information for Latin American journals, such as the Revista Boliviana de Derecho, but does not provide a database to search for articles within the journals nor does it provide full-text access to journal content.
The Organization of American States (OAS)- has a list of bilateral and multilateral treaties between and among countries in the Americas focusing on extradition, drug trafficking, and international criminal law. One can browse alphabetically or search by keyword.
The United Nations Treaty Collection contains the full-text, official, scanned pdf of all multilateral treaties deposited with the United Nations. One can search by popular name, keyword, United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) volume, or country.
SILEG en Línea- contains Bolivian Constitutions, laws, decrees, resolutions, regulations, international treaties, and doctrine from 1825 to the present. All are hyperlinked to related materials. The codes are available free and some links redirect the user to free government websites. Material is unofficial html.
Derechoteca provides access to legislation.
The InterAm Database carries some legislation including the full-text of many codes, laws, decrees, and quite a few Supreme Court decisions as published in the Gaceta Oficial. The documents are pdfs, some official, but most are unofficial and prepared by the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.
Kluwer Arbitration has a database of all bilateral investment treaties including those from Latin American countries. Most of the BITs are available in full-text html. Although one can search in English, the results are in the vernacular.
Constitutions of the Countries of the World, recently purchased by Oxford University Press from Oceana, contains unofficial English translations of many past and current constitutions including those from Latin America. An unofficial English version of Bolivia’s 2008 Constitution was recently added to the collection.
vLex does not cover Bolivia.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) does not index any Bolivian legal journals.