Researching World Constitutions

April 3, 2012

The law library and the University library provide a wide array of resources which can assist with your research on constitutions of foreign countries.

Two major subscription databases are HeinOnline’s World Constitutions Illustrated and Oceana’s Constitutions of the Countries of the World Online.  Both resources consist of primary materials, texts of constitutions as well as useful secondary materials such as commentaries and bibliographies.  They also consists of print components owned by the law library which are particularly useful for researching constitutional history:

  • Constitutions of the countries of the world – The print looseleaf consists of quality English translations and scholarly commentaries relating to national constitutions of the world.  While the online version includes most contents of the print set, the law library has archived looseleaf updates since its inception in 1971. They can be recallled from the Library Shelving Facility.
  • Peaslee’s Constitutions of Nations (available online in HeinOnline’s World Constituions Illustrated): The law library has all four editions of the original multivolume sets: 1950 (1st ed.), 1956 (2d ed), 1974 (rev. 3rd ed.) and 1976 (4th ed.) and its reprints.  Each country entry consists of a summary of the constitutional development of the country, English translation of the texts of the constitutions and an annotated bibliography.
  • Other noteworthy sources:
    • The four-volume Constitutiones Africae consists of French and English texts of constitutions of African states.  All country entries are made up of five parts: Basic Data, Political and Constitutional Evolution, Analysis of the Constitution, Text of the Constitution and Bibliography.
    • Foreign Law Guide – The online research guide provides snapshots of legal systems of the world but under the subject section “Constitution and Political Legislation” in each country entry, one can also find series of constitutional amendments and repealed provisions
    • Texts of constitutions are generally published in official gazettes of respective countries. Here are portals for locating official government gazettes:
    • For other pint sources, search in Morris and Orbisby subject headings:
      • “Constitutions—Country/Region” or “Country/Region—Constitution” for texts of constitutions
      • “Constitutional law—Country/Region” for commentaries
      • “Constitutional History—Country/Region” for secondary materials on constitutional history

Last but not least, here are selective open-source websites:


Published In: