Digital Landscape in South America: Paraguay
LA REPÚBLICA DEL PARAGUAY / THE REPUBLIC OF PARAGUAY
Law of Transparency:
Paraguay has not yet enacted a law of transparency or access to information. Article 28 of the Paraguayan Constitution, however, guarantees the right to receive free, true and reliable public information. As with most, this Constitution stops short of obligating government agencies to proactively publish relevant legal, fiscal, and administrative information.
Latin Laws: Biblioteca Legal Latinoamericana - redirects users to official Paraguayan 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 also 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 1992 is the supreme law of Paraguay. Treaties and other international agreements, followed by national laws, and then other legal norms, make up the hierarchy of positive law in Paraguay. It is the Constitution that establishes two official languages, Spanish and Guaraní, for Paraguay since 80% of the population speaks Guaraní. In fact, compulsory primary and secondary education is taught in Guaraní.
The Association of Attorneys of Itapú (AAI) has a website that is not up to date but has some valuable legal information including the Constitution of 1992.
The Political Database of the Americas has the 1967 and 1992 Constitutions in unofficial html format.
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. Paraguay’s five Constitutions between 1844 and 1992 are available here. All documents are unofficial, full-text, html.
Codes, Laws, Decrees, and other Legal Norms:
After proceeding through the legislative process – legislation is published in the Registro Oficial, a separate section of the Gaceta Oficial that publishes chronologically the laws of Paraguay, at which time it becomes effective law.
The daily Gaceta Oficial is available electronically as an official, scanned, unsearchable pdf from 22 September 2009 to the present. Ministerial decrees are also available on this site. One can search for the decrees of the current administration by number and/or ministry. Decrees from 2003 – September 2009 can be searched by keyword.
Daily summaries and some full-text pdfs of the daily sessions in the Chamber of deputies are available on its website. The page to searchfor laws is temporarily unavailable.
AAI - has a few pieces of legislation online in unofficial html format, including the Civil Code, the Judicial Code and select national laws.
The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the national Library of Congress of the United States of America has a superb collection of Paraguayan laws. The database contains over 10,000 English summaries and official pdf scans of the laws of Paraguay from as early as 1917 and as current as about 6 months ago. There are no judicial decisions and no legal literature.
The World Law Guide has a list of Paraguayan 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:
The office of the Ombudsman, the defender of human rights in Paraguay, has a webpage where all laws, decrees, and resolutions related to human rights are listed and available in full-text, some official scanned pdf or doc, and some unofficial full-text.
AAI provides the minimum wage laws as scanned pdfs of the original signed law.
The Vice Ministry of Mining and Energy has relevant laws, decrees, and resolutions available in full-text, unofficial pdf on their website.
Criminal law and extradition law is provided by the OAS. For Paraguay, one can find the criminal code, criminal procedure code, national criminal legislation, bilateral extradition and criminal law-related treaties, and relevant multilateral treaties. Some of these documents are official pdfs, others are unofficial html, doc and pdf documents.
The Central Bank of Paraguay has a webpage of relevant laws and jurisprudence.
The OAS website on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has a page for Paraguay - wherein texts such as the Paraguayan Constitution the codes 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, other are unofficial html, doc, and pdf documents.
The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest tribunal of Paraguay. It serves as a court of cassation and its constitutional chamber resolves constitutional questions. As a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, Paraguay submits to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as the court of last instance in relevant matters.
Jurisprudence has taken on unique significance in Paraguay. Article 9 of the Code of Judicial Organization requires that when there is insufficient, obscure, or no law to apply in a case, courts must consider precedents judiciales (judicial precedents) in addition to analogous laws and general principles of law in deciding the matter before the court.
The Supreme Court of Justice website has current and up-to-date federal court decisions available in full-text doc format from 1995. There is no official seal or otherwise verifiable marking on the document. One can search by defined theme, keyword, date, court, judge, or resolution number. One can also export search results in various formats (xls, doc, csv). There is a separate search page to locate Supreme Court rules and regulations from 1891 to the present.
Doctrine (Journals, Treatises, Commentary):
AAI has two publications in full-text html by Attorney Miguel A. Vargas.
Dialnet - is an open-access index of journals based at the University of 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.
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 Paraguay, there are law review articles about Paraguay indexed and available in the database.
Latindex- provides bibliographic information for Latin American journals, such as the Paraguayan Revista Digital de Derecho Ambiental , 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.
Leyes.com.py: Legislation for All - has a plethora of Paraguayan legislation and jurisprudence for a nominal monthly fee or annual fee.
La Ley Online Paraguay, owned by Thomson Reuters (Westlaw) - has a collection of over 9,000 norms, decrees, resolutions, commentaries, laws, proposed laws, and more dating from 1900 to the present.
The InterAm Database carries some legislation including the full-text of many codes, laws, decrees, and a few court decisions. The documents are unofficial pdfs 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. However, for Paraguay, only the 1992 Constitution is available.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) does not index any journals from Paraguay.
vLex coverage of Paraguay is scant. They carry a fair amount of Paraguayan legislation with an appoximate two-year lag time. They also carry some decisions of Supreme Court of Justice from 1899 to the present. There is almost no secondary literature. The material is in unofficial html or vLex-generated pdf.