Digital Landscape in South America: Ecuador


Law of Transparency:

Ecuador implemented its Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information in 2004.  The law provides that each governmental entity publish online legal norms that pertain to its work.  The law also mandates that the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court publish their sentences and decisions online. The law has been analyzed by scholars.

Article 91 of Ecuador’s Constitution grants a right of action to one who is denied free access to public information.  The Constitution stops short, however, of obligating government entities to provide legal and other relevant information in an easily accessible manner.


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 2008 Constitution of Ecuador is the supreme law of the land.

Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution can be found on the website of the National Assembly

The Political Database of the Americas at Georgetown has the current (2008) and previous Constitutions of Ecuador available, including an unofficial translation of the new 2008 Constitution.

The University of Richmond’s Constitution Finder- links to an unofficial html version of the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution from El Universal, a local news source in Guayaquil.

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.  Although many of Ecuador’s Constitutions are available here (there have been close to 20), notably absent is the most recent in 2008.  All documents are unofficial, full-text, html.

Codes, Laws, Resolutions, Regulations, and other Legal Norms:

The official gazette of Ecuador is the Registro Oficial.  The Registro Oficial is issued every day and publishes all laws, decrees, resolutions and other legal norms, at which time a law becomes immediately effective unless otherwise indicated in the legislation.

The Registro Oficial is available in unofficial, full-text pdf or html, on La Hora’s open access legal website, Revista Judicial  - from 2000 – current.  Revista Judicial - also contains the codes and laws of Ecuador in full-text html.  La Hora is a commercial newspaper, print and online, that provides free legal information to the public.

The official electronic version of the Registro Oficial is available for a fee - .  It is not open access.  However, the National Assembly has all the laws of Ecuador available in full-text, pdf from the Registro Oficial on its website.  The laws are ordered chronologically and by subject.  Also available are proyectos, or laws that are currently proposed and before the National Assembly.

The website of the Presidency contains all the presidential decrees in full-text, pdf.  One can search the over 700 decrees by date, number or keyword.  The transparency law also mandates the distribution of financial, legal and other information pertaining to government business.  These documents can be found on the President’s website, organized topically, as well. 

English and Spanish summaries of over 8,000 laws published in the Registro Oficial are available on the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the national Library of Congress of the United States of America.  The most recent laws summarized in GLIN were published in the Registro Oficial about 6 months earlier.  Ecuador publicizes GLIN on it National Assembly page.  One can find contact information for the people in the National Assembly who are responsible for GLIN, as well as the guidelines and function of GLIN for Ecuador. 

The World Law Guide has a list of Ecuadorian 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 website of the Subsecretary of Mines has the official mining laws of Ecuador in pdf from the Registro Oficial.

The Ecuadorian IRS has their tax laws on their website - in doc format with nothing to indicate they are official.  One can search by type (law, regulation, resolution, article, decree, circular, treaty), number and/or year.

The Quito Chamber of Commerce has relevant legislation, court decisions, and more on the legal page, including National Court of Justice opinions from the Registro Oficial.  They have their own Boletín Jurídico in which laws and court decisions are reproduced.

The OAS website on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition has a page for Ecuador- wherein texts such as the Ecuadorian 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 National Court of Justice are the highest courts of Ecuador.  The National Court of Justice acts as a court of cassation through statutorily defined specialized chambers.  All sentences of cassation must be published in the Gaceta Judicial and constitute precedent for the application of the law.  The third reiteration of a sentence of cassation constitutes obligatory jurisprudential precedent for the interpretation and application of the law, except by the Supreme Court.  All decisions of the Constitutional Court are published in the Gaceta Constitucional.  As a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, Ecuador submits to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as the court of last instance in relevant matters. 

The National Court of Justice website contains the decisions of the federal courts.  One can also find official pdf versions of the cases of triple-iteration  - as well as other resolutions, agreements, and declarations.

The Revista Judicial website contains the full-text, html, of all 76 cases that were reiterated at least three times between 1995 – 2004 .

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador- contains all the jurisprudence of the court, including sentences, judgments, and decisions in official, pdf format.  There is a link to the Registro Oficial from the website but a subscription is required.

Doctrine (Journals, Treatises, Commentary):

Ecuadorian doctrine can be found on the website of Revista Judicial .  These are essays, some extensively footnoted, on various aspects of Ecuadorian law.

Manuals on Revista Judicial - pertain to knowing one’s constitutional rights, and on foreign direct investment.

Forms on various pro se actions.

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 Ecuador, there are law review articles about Peru indexed and available in the database.

Latindex- provides bibliographic information for Latin American journals, such as Novedades Jurídicas, 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 Ecuador, can found on the website of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.


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.

Commercial Databases:

vLex - has a handful of law articles in English but otherwise has no collection of legal material for Ecuador.

Lexis - contains an unofficial version of the Registro Oficial.  The daily details are visible on the homepage of this database but full-text requires a subscription.  There are a few free full-text legal documents (laws and decrees mostly) on the homepage.

The NatLaw World database has a small collection of important laws (including several codes), decrees, and Supreme Court decisions.  The documents are mostly unofficial pdfs prepared by the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.

The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) does not index any journals from Ecuador

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.  Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution has not yet been added.

Updated Date: 
Sunday, June 9, 2013
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