Digital Landscape in South America: Peru
LA REPÚBLICA DEL PERÚ / THE REPUBLIC OF PERU
Law of Transparency:
In 2002 Peru enacted the Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information obligating each governmental body to publish on its website laws and legal norms that govern its work. The law was published the official gazette, El Peruano, in 2003. The Peruvian government has also created a Portal to Transparency - providing information for each agency, ministry, and other governmental bodies.
Latin Laws: Biblioteca Legal Latinoamericana - redirects users to official Colombian 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 Peruvian Constitution of 1993 with amendments and reforms to 2005 is the supreme law of the land.
The Congressional website has an unofficial but searchable html version of the Constitution.
The national congress’ Digital Archive of Legislation in Peru - has the Constitutions of Peru beginning with the Constitution of Cadiz in 1812. All are in pdf but there is no indication that they are official or authentic.
The Political Databases of the Americas at Georgetown University has Peru’s 1993 Constitution and the 1993 Constitution plus amendments through 2005.
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. Peru’s 1993 Constitution with 2005 amendments is notably absent. All documents are unofficial, full-text, html.
This ebook has the full-text (unofficial) of each of Peru’s Constitutions beginning with their first in 1812.
Codes, Laws, Proyectos, Decrees, Regulations, Resolutions, and other Legal Norms:
After winding its way through the legislative process - all legislation is published in the Diario Oficial, El Peruano. The law officially takes effect the day after its publication in El Peruano unless otherwise indicated in the legislation.
El Peruano, a newspaper founded in 1825 by Simon Bolivar, the liberator of several South American countries, is the official gazette responsible for publishing Peru’s laws, decrees, resolutions, regulations, jurisprudence, and other legal norms. It is a free website though not intuitive for finding legal material. One must click on the small links embedded in the gray square labeled Normas Legales at the top center of the front page to be redirected to a search engine for that particular selection of legal material. The full-text result is a digital version of El Peruano: Normas Legales.
The website of the Congress of the Republic of Peru contains a large amount of legal material, much of it in the Digital Archive of Legislation in Peru. In this database, on can find all the Constitutions of Peru, a full-text, scanned pdf of an original Laws of the Indies when Peru was a Spanish colony. There is also a searchable database for regional laws promulgated between 1918 and 1929, and another for contemporary laws, regulations and decrees from 1904 to present. There are thousands of documents in this database and most, if not all, are scanned pdfs of an original print publication.
Congress also has a page devoted to its proyectos or proposed laws and related documents are made available back to 2006 as official, scanned pdfs of the original documents. The collection of congressional debates is truly impressive. The debates go back to 1993 and are available in official full-text pdf documents. The regulations governing the work of the Congress are also provided on this website.
The congressional website has links to and maintains websites for each of the 22 commissions it oversees, from Agraria (Agriculture) to Vivienda y Construcción (Housing and Construction). The website of each commission has the same format and contains acts, proyectos, dictates, and other legal information pertaining to that commission’s mandate.
The Peruvian System of Legal Information database- does not appear to have been updated since 2008 but nevertheless contains a nice, simple collection of major codes, laws, and regulations in full-text html. Needless to say, one cannot rely on the currency of these documents.
The World Law Guide has a list of Peruvian 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.
English summaries and Spanish full-text of over 9,000 Peruvian laws over the last 60 or so years are available on the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the national Library of Congress of the United States of America. The full-text documents are scanned pdfs of El Peruano, the original gazette, or Normas Legales, also an official publication of session laws in Peru. The summaries note related laws and legal resources where available
Legislation by Topic:
Many government offices and ministries make relevant decrees, laws, resolutions, and other legal material available on their website in compliance with their law on transparency and access to public information. A few examples follow:
The website of the Defender of the People, an autonomous constitutionally mandated organ whose mission it is to protect fundamental and constitutional rights of citizens and to oversee the work of public officials, has a section of legal norms - pertaining to the work of the office. This database contains compilations of laws and jurisprudence on specific topics such as “terrorist victims.” The compilations are in pdf and must be extracted from zip files; originals are from El Peruano and Normas Legales.
The President of the Council of Ministers provides a chronological list of resolutions and decrees relative to transparency of government. They are scanned pdfs of the original, signed documents.
The Portal of the Peruvian State has a list of presidential decrees and ministerial resolutions from 2008 pertaining to the administration of the country. The documents are official scanned pdfs of the originals.
The website of the presidency has a list of laws, decrees, and resolutions relevant to the life and work of the president. These documents are a mix of unofficial pdfs, and scanned pdfs of the official publications, Normas Legales and El Peruano.
The National Commission for Business and Securities (CONASEV) maintains a database - where one can search and access unofficial full-text html laws, decrees, resolutions and other legal documents pertinent to the stock market and the work of this organization.
The General Archives of the Congress has several legal documents, such as the first law passed by Congress in 1904, on display online.
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 OAS website on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has a page for Colombia - wherein texts such as the Peruvian Constitution, 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 Supreme Court and the Constitutional Courts are the highest Courts in Peru. The Supreme Court acts as a court of cassation and the Constitutional Court decides issues of law involving constitutional questions such as conflicts between laws and the Constitution, and cases with habeas corpus, privacy, and amparo issues. Peru, 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.
Article VII in the Preliminary Title of the Constitutional Procedure Code (Law No. 28237, 2004), states that the Constitutional Court creates precedente vinculante (binding precedent, also known in Peru as jurisprudencia) when it complies with legal requirements and expressly declares as such in its decision. Thereafter, the Constitutional Court must give specific reasons for departing from precedent in subsequent matters. A similar law is also in place for the Supreme Court.
The website of the Constitutional Court has a search engine for finding jurisprudence (sentences and resolutions) of the Court. The results are full-text html documents. There are other pages where one can search by drilling down in a calendar, or by drilling down systematically by topic, or by drilling down in a calendar of decisions that are published in El Peruano. The recent sentences and resolutions are often scanned original documents signed by the justices who decided the matter.
Suma Ciudadana hosts a database, Justicia y Transparencia (Justice and Transparency) - that tracks, organizes, and publishes (unofficial, html) laws and decisions of the Constitutional Court that pertain specifically to access to information.
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 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 Peru, there are law review articles about Peru indexed and available in the database.
Latindex - provides bibliographic information for Latin American journals, such as the Revista Jurídica del Perú, 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 Peru, can found on the website of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and another at the Library of the Uruguayan Association of Escribanos.
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 law firm of Torres y Torres Lara created and maintains an up-to-date, sophisticated, and comprehensive database of Peruvian legislation and jurisprudence. The service includes the daily publication of El Peruano from 1995 and more than 20,000 legal documents (laws, decrees, resolutions, etc.) also from 1995 with some principal texts as far back as 1902. The database also has proyectos (proposed laws with related debates and documents) and well as doctrine including commentary and law reviews. Some of the material is free as is the ability to search the contents, but full-text access to most documents requires a subscription.
vLex has a collection for Peru - that includes the El Peruano from 1908 to the present, and many codes, laws, statutes, and decrees going back to the early 20th century. vLex also has jurisprudence from Peru’s Supreme Court of Justice going back to 1999. All material is unofficial html and vLex-generated pdfs; there are no official pdfs. Instant Google translation is available.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP)- indexes one Peruvian journal, Revista Peruana de Derecho Internacional, from the Peruvian Society of International Law in Lima.
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 Peru’s 1993 Constitution and subsequent amendments including those of 2005 are available.
The InterAm Database carries some legislation including the full-text of many codes, laws, decrees, and quite a few Constitutional Court and Supreme Court decisions as published in the Diario Oficial and Normas Legales. The documents are pdfs, many official and authentic scanned versions of the original document or publication; some are unofficial and prepared by the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.