While each judicial or quasi-judicial body generally makes its decisions available on its own website, such databases are often difficult to effectively search and their content is limited. However, other online databases allow users to search the caselaw of multiple bodies simultaneously. This page provides links to the best available search facilities, arranged by scope.
In addition to case-specific decisions, researchers should not overlook general treaty interpretation (such as the UN treaty bodies’ General Comments and UN special rapporteurs’ reports) or human rights monitoring bodies’ reports on States’ compliance with their treaty obligations. Further, domestic courts’ decisions are an important and often rich source of international law interpretation and application.
- WorldCourts provides a searchable database of case decisions from the United Nations, African and Inter-American human rights bodies’ complaint mechanisms, as well as judgments of internationalized criminal tribunals. The database is not absolutely up-to-date, and does not include decisions issued within the previous 6 to 12 months.
- The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) manages a searchable database of decisions of the UN treaty bodies, ICTR and ICTY, as well as of UN treaty body comments and general comments.
- The University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Library houses a wealth of decisions from regional and UN human rights bodies and international criminal tribunals, as well as secondary sources and country condition research tools, accessible through the principal search page. Although the database contains some documents from 2013, it is mostly only current through 2011. The website also allows users to search 14 external sites (including IGOs, national government sites, and NGOs) at the same time, for any document, by keyword.
- ESCR-Net Caselaw Database is a searchable repository of domestic and international jurisprudence relevant to economic, social and cultural rights.
United Nations Bodies
- Bayefsky.com contains a limited database of UN treaty body documents related to State reports and individual complaints, arranged by State, category or subject matter.
- The Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents provides a database of UN treaty body and rapporteurs’ observations and recommendations, searchable by country, right or body.
- The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights maintains searchable databases of treaty body documents and Charter body documents, which include decisions, reports and jurisprudence.
- International Court of Justice (list of cases)
- International Criminal Court (list of situations and cases)
- UN Treaty Bodies (search “jurisprudence” for decisions on communications)
- the International Labour Organization also maintains searchable databases of decisions, instruments, and national legislation on labor and employment standards
- WorldCourts provides a searchable database of case decisions from the African and Inter-American human rights bodies’ complaint mechanisms. The database is not absolutely up-to-date, and does not include decisions issued within the previous 6 to 12 months.
- The University of Minnesota’s database is perhaps most useful for searching the decisions of the regional human rights tribunals. However, the database is only current through 2011.
- The African Human Rights Case Law Analyzer is a searchable database of human rights decisions from supranational judicial and quasi-judicial bodies in Africa, including the African Commission and Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children, ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, SADC Tribunal, and East African Court of Justice.
- INTERIGHTS’ Commonwealth and International Human Rights Law Databases provide summaries of significant judicial decisions from Commonwealth jurisdictions and international human rights tribunals, searchable by keyword.
- The regional human rights bodies also provide the texts of their decisions online, at the following links:
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (latest decisions)
- African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (list of decisions)
- European Committee of Social Rights (searchable case law database)
- European Court of Human Rights (excellent searchable case law database)
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (decisions by type and year)
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights (searchable case law database)
- WorldLII, the World Legal Information Institute, is a collection of smaller databases containing case law, legislation, treaties, reports and articles from international courts and the domestic courts of more than 20 countries. Search the international law library for international (and not domestic) documents, or the international courts and tribunals library for international jurisprudence (currentness varies by body). The focus of WorldLII and the subsidiary country and regional LII bases is weighted toward current and former Commonwealth countries and the Pacific region. See the list of information available (for example, jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Indonesia from 2006 onward), by country, here.
- Use the region- and country-specific LII databases if looking only for documents pertaining to a particular country or region because the search results are sometimes more accurate when the relevant LII database is used:
- Asia (AsianLII)
- Australia (AustLII)
- Canada (CanLII)
- Commonwealth countries (CommonLII)
- Hong Kong (HKLII)
- Ireland (IRLII)
- New Zealand (NZLII)
- the Pacific Islands (PacLII)
- the Philippines (the LAWPHiL Project)
- Southern Africa (SAFLII)
- Uganda (ULII)
- United Kingdom and Ireland (BAILII)
- United States (LII)
- Google Scholar is a good source of U.S. judicial decisions, from both state and federal courts, and also contains legal scholarship.
- The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) site is most useful for finding domestic legislation, through its searchable database of domestic and international jurisprudence and law made available by the following States and organizations:
- Arab League, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gabon, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Justice Studies Center of the Americas, South Korea, Kuwait, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Organization of American States, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, USIP/INPROL
- ESCR-Net is a searchable database of domestic and international jurisprudence relevant to economic, social and cultural rights.
- UNHCR’s Refworld contains an online database of international and domestic judicial decisions and other documents relevant to refugee and asylum law.
- The University of Michigan Law School’s Refugee Caselaw Site provides a searchable database of asylum-related decisions from the highest courts of 33 countries.
International Criminal Tribunals
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (list of cases; see also, summary of some decisions in the Legal Library)
- Special Court for Sierra Leone (list of cases)
- Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (list of cases)