Free Sources Found on the Web
In the course of doing foreign and international legal research, I often come across new or improved web sites offering foreign and international legal content of great value. The purpose of this new, occasional column is briefly to highlight some of these web sites as they come to my attention. Who knows? They might be just the source you need in doing your own foreign or international legal research.
Centre for German Legal Information. This web site is sponsored by the German Foreign Ministry, and provides access to a wide variety of German legal materials in English. According to its own documentation, the Centre serves as a free gateway to electronically available materials on German law in English, provides translation and publication of important statutes and regulations, especially in the area of constitutional and commercial law, serves as a repository of journal articles and research papers on German and comparative law, and provides translation and publication of current German court rulings relating to the interpretation and application of European or international law. Perhaps the most useful material is the translated decisions of the federal constitutional court, high court, and regional federal courts. The decisions are selective, but reach back to the early 1950s, and number almost 450. Some are fresh translations, others are gathered from other sites scattered across the Internet. Searching is easy, and a variety of methods are offered. One neat feature is the ability to search for case summaries published in journals, often in the German Law Journal, “the first and only on-line, English-language report on developments in German and European jurisprudence.”
Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations. This web site is produced by the Cardiff University and has several advantages over printed abbreviation dictionaries. First, the Cardiff Index can be searched either from abbreviation to title or from title to abbreviation. Moreover, it is possible to search from abbreviation to title using only a part of an abbreviation, and from title to abbreviation using any words (not just the first word) which appear in the title. When you search, the Cardiff index strips out any punctuation you may have typed in and attempts to find the best match for the letters and words you have given. But it displays the results of your search with the punctuation inserted, as stated in the publications themselves, or as provided in authoritative lists of preferred abbreviations.