LA REPÚBLICA DE CHILE / THE REPUBLIC OF CHILE
Law of Transparency:
In 2008, Chile adopted a law on transparency, Access to Public Information - wherein Article 7 specifically requires all public organizations to publish certain information including legal norms, resources, employment, and other information pertaining to its work on its website. The law was implemented in 2009.
The Chilean government has a portal with links to all its government ministries, commissions, foundations, institutes, and other agencies.
Latin Laws: Biblioteca Legal Latinoamericana - redirects users to official Chilean 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 Chilean Constitution of 1980 with reforms and amendments through 2005 is the supreme law of Chile.
Chile’s National Library of Congress (BCN) - is a fantastic resource for Chilean law including the Constitution. The National Library makes appropriate changes to its digital collection, including the Constitution, on the very day that new laws and amendments appear in the Diario Oficial de la República de Chile, Chile’s daily official gazette.
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. The most recent constitution for Chile is the 1980 Constitution with the reforms of 2001. All documents are unofficial, full-text, html.
Codes, Laws, Proyectos, Decrees, Resolutions, Regulations, and other Legal Norms:
Proposed legislation interpreting or amending the Constitution must be reviewed by the Constitutional Court. After completing the legislative process - it is published in the Diario Oficial at which time it immediately becomes law unless otherwise indicated in the legislation.
The Diario Oficial de la República de Chile, was founded in 1877 and is now published online. Full-text requires a subscription but the summaries and index are free.
BCN Ley Chile is a complex and comprehensive database of legal information that is updated daily as reforms, amendments, and new laws are printed in the Diario Oficial. It has a page of all laws in currently in force in Chile organized by institution. Each institution’s laws are organized by type of law (legislation, decree, norm, treaty, etc.), and then organized alphabetically, and again by number. One can also toggle the chart headings to organize chronologically. Each law has internal hyperlinks so one can see and access modifications, compiled texts, concordances, and regulations. Documents are available in BCN-certified, searchable pdf.
On another BCN Ley Chile page is a highlighted selection of laws - organized by laws most requested, laws by theme, most recent laws, selected treaties, and laws for various commissions (e.g. Commission on the Economy, Commission on the Famly, etc.). It is within these pages that one can easily drill down to the Chilean codes, Constitution, and common regulations and laws. Results are further organized by type of law or by number. BCN Ley Chile also has both simple and advanced search screens where one can search by keyword, type of law, organization, and date. They are organized by topic and again by number. Each law has a separate page for amendments, concordance, and related jurisprudence.
The BCN main website has several pages designed to help citizens navigated and familiarize themselves with the law, including a page called “The Law Easy” - which has a hyperlinked list of alphabetical topics which leads to a page that explains the topic and its applicable laws in layman’s term.
The national Congress website has a page dedicated to the legislative process in order to facilitate transparency and involve Chile’s citizens in the process. This database includes the legislative history of laws introduced in Congress since 1990 as well as documents pertaining to pending legislation, including transcripts of discussions, reports, and other relevant documents. This database combines legislation introduced by senators as well as deputies.
The Senate website contains a chronological list of laws – as well as documents related to the daily goings-on in the Senate sessions and commissions. One can search the attendance and voting records of the senators, and read the transcripts of individual senators or entire debates. Results are organized chronologically or one can search for debate transcripts by senator or proposed law.
A similar database is available on the website of the Chamber of Deputies. Like the Senate website, one can search the proposed legislation for details, voting records, and related documents.
The World Law Guide has a list of Chilean laws, organized topically, most of which redirect the user to BCN Ley Chile or other official government websites. This is a terrific place to look for laws pertaining to a multitude of topics.
The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the national Library of Congress of the United States of America - contains English summaries of over 8,000 Chilean laws from 1949 to about 6 months ago; there is no full-text available but each summary provides hyperlinked related laws and bibliographic information for easy location in the Diario Oficial.
Legislation by Topic:
Chilean ministries, agencies, and commissions generally make available relevant laws in full-text, pdf, on their respective websites in compliance with the federal transparency and access to information law. A few examples are:
The Chilean Internal Revenue Service has a webpage dedicated to the laws, regulations, and jurisprudence, and international treaties related to tax. The tax regulations are organized together with circulars, resolutions, with instructions, reports, and administrative interpretations. The jurisprudence is arranged by code article and topic.
The Court of Audit has all relevant legislation, decrees, etc. on their website.
A database dedicated to elections in Chile has all the electoral laws available in BCN-certified pdfs.
The Minister of Mining has webpages dedicated to domestic laws, including the full-text of the mining code, decrees, and regulations. A different section makes available domestic and international laws pertaining to mining and the environment. The documents are searchable pdfs but there is no certification or stamp of authenticity.
The website of the Superintendent of Banks and Financial Institutions in Chile has a website with official, certified pdfs in Spanish and some English of the banking and financial laws, circulars, and other norms.
Insurance laws can be found on the website of the Superintendent of Insurance.
The OAS website on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has a page for Chile - wherein texts such as the Chilean Constitution, the codes of criminal law and criminal procedure, and other relevant 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 Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court are the highest courts in Chile. The Supreme Court acts as a court of cassation. The Constitutional Court reviews treaties and certain laws for constitutionality before becoming law, and resolves contentious matters in the court system involving constitutional issues. Chile, 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. Despite the civil law tradition in Chile, jurisprudence of these highest courts has evolved over many years and is now given significant weight when an established pattern of related rulings can be discerned.
The Constitutional Court of Chile has a webpage with the Constitution (redirects user to Ley Chile) and norms and regulations. There is a separate page for searching the Court’s resolved cases, or sentences. One can do a simple keyword search, an advanced search, or browse by year or the most recent sentences. The posting of sentences is completely up to date. One can also search the orders pertaining to matters currently before the court.
The federal judicial branch (Poder Judicial) website - contains the resolutions of matters heard before the Supreme Court as well as the appellate courts, courts of first instance, and the military tribunals. There are advanced search options to guide one through this free but somewhat complex database. One can also search for information on matters currently in the federal court system, excluding juvenile, victim, and witness information. Causes are organized by type or court (e.g. family, penal, labor, civil), and it is helpful to know a party’s name or the case number.
The Chilean Internal Revenue Service has a webpage dedicated to the laws, regulations, jurisprudence, and international treaties related to tax. The tax regulations are organized together with circulars and resolutions, and with instructions, reports, and administrative interpretations. The jurisprudence is arranged by code article and topic.
Doctrine (Journals, Treatises, Commentary):
SciELO - has several Chilean law journals available online, full-text, including Ius et Praxis, Estudios Constitutionales, Revista Chilena de Derecho Privado, and more. Several journals available on SciELO are also available in Redalyc.
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 these indices.
Latindex- provides bibliographic information for Latin American journals, such as the Chilean journals, Anuario de Derecho Administrativo and Justicia y Derecho, but does not provide a database to search for articles within the journals nor does it provide full-text access to journal content.
A collection of open access journals from Latin America, including Chile, can found on the website of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
BCN Ley Chile has all Chile’s bilateral treaties online, full-text, from 1810 to today. One can search by time period, country, type, and/or international organization. Results are full-text html and BCN-certified searchable pdf.
The Diario Oficial has about a half-dozen treaties that they have co-edited and are available free, full-text, in ebook format - (go to Biblioteca Jurídica).
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.
The NatLaw World database - contains many laws, a few English translations, and a collection of jurisprudence that cites Chilean law. The documents are pdfs, some official, but most are unofficial pdfs prepared by the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.
vLex - contains Chilean legislation organized by date, type, ministry, and organization; court decisions of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and other appellate, administrative, and specialty courts; a handful of law journals including the important Revista de Derecho y Jurisprudencia y Gaceta de los Tribunales. All material is unofficial html and vLex-generated pdfs; there are no official pdfs. Instant Google translation is available.
Microjuris - provides full-text, unofficial legislation, jurisprudence, and doctrine. The collection of jurisprudence includes decisions from the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and other federal and regional courts. Legislation also includes both federal and regional laws. Searching across material (legislation, jurisprudence, doctrine) can be done by keyword search and narrowed by type and date range. Related documents of all types are noted and hyperlinked.
Westlaw Chile - also known as Puntolex (Westlaw Chile) - contains legislation, jurisprudence, doctrine.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) is a subscription databases that indexes foreign journals from all over the world including about 25 from Latin America. IFLP indexes several journals from Chile including Revista Chilena de Derecho and Revista de Derecho y Jurispurdencia y Gaceta de los Tribunales.
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. Although Chile’s 1980 Constitution with 2005 amendments is available, the 2010 reforms are not yet posted.
LegalPublishing - is one of the oldest commercial databases and recently merged with Thomson Reuters. This databases has laws, jurisprudence, and other legal material.