Argentina is organised as a Federal Republic, which is divided into Provinces and Municipalities. Buenos Aires became part of the Republic in 1860 and the Constitution was revised accordingly. A particular difficulty arises when interpreting Argentine legislation. This concerns its origins. "Our Constitution is based on the American Constitution and the principles of liberty, equality and freedom that spread through the world at the end of the eighteenth century. On the other hand, our civil and commercial law is based on the continental law principles of written law..." (Preface to Doing business in Argentina. Estudio de los Dres. O'Farrell, Juan P. Juris Publishing. 1998-).
Chapter one of this publication explains that the main sources of Argentine law are its legislation and also case law, which assists with the interpretation of the law.
The Argentine Nation adopts the federal republican representative form of government as the Constitution establishes (Article 1 of the Constitution). A useful introduction to the democratic government system is outlined in the Globalex guide. ( Source: Globalex. A Research Guide to the Argentine Legal System)
The strengths of the IALS printed collection lie mainly in the areas of legislation, law reports and historical versions of the civil, commercial and penal codes.
Jonathan M. Miller provides useful background information on the constitutional history and political background of the Argentine Constitution in his introductory notes to the text. ( Blaustein, A.P. & Flanz, G.H.. Constitutions of the Countries of the World. Oceana Publications Ltd. Vol. 1, chapter on Argentina, Release 99-6, issued September 1999). The following shorter summary is based upon this article.
The Argentine Constitution dates back to 1853 and has enjoyed stability. Only minor amendments were made between 1860 and 1994. This was in spite of the coups which occurred between 1930 and 1983 and the de facto governments in force during the same period. Extensive reforms were made to the Constitution in 1994 with a fresh new emphasis on international human rights.
In addition there were changes which allowed President Carlos Menem to be re-elected for a further period (source Argentina Index )
A full text version of the current Constitution in both English and Spanish is available in the above publication by Blaustein & Flanz which is held in the IALS library. This publication receives updates when they become available.
IALS Library also holds Constitución de la Nación Argentina. published by Ediciones La Rocca, Buenos Aires, 1998. This provides the Spanish text including amendments made between 1860 and 1994. In addition historical versions of the Constitution are held, mostly in the closed basement. Please ask at the Enquiry Desk for these.
A new online resource for material relating to foreign constitutions, started in 2010, is World Constitutions Illustrated. This is a contemporary and historical collection of documents, which is available as part of the IALS subscription to HeinOnline. It is available to all users on site at IALS. Offsite access is limited to staff and students of IALS, SAS and University of London. It includes consolidated and original texts of the Constitution for different periods in time. It also provides full text links to a range of historical commentaries and articles about the Argentine Constitution, selected by the editors.
IALS Library holds printed copies of older/superseded versions of the penal, civil and commercial codes. Some of these are held in the closed access basement.
InfoLEG is published by Centro de Documentación e Información del Ministerio de Economia - Argentina. It is an official web site of the Argentine Government and provides full text access to a wide range of current national and provincial/regional codes. Many of the national codes have a supplementary page to cover subsequent amendments. These have not been integrated into the main text. Responsibility for the provincial codes lies with the respective jurisdiction. An email contact address is provided to allow users to request further information. All codes on InfoLeg are in the original Spanish language.
National and provincial legislation:
IALS subscribed to the printed legislation series Legislación Argentina published by Lexis from 1978 until 2008 which provided full text access to national laws, decrees and resolutions, legislation for the city of Buenos Aires and provincial legislation. There is a numerical index arranged according to the type of law, an index to all updated legislation and an alphabetical index. It has been replaced by an online resource, Abeledo Perrot Online to which IALS does not subscribe. Legislación Argentina was preceded by Anuario de Legislación: Nacional y Provincial . IALS holds the earlier series for 1968-78.
IALS also holds older printed series:
Argentine Republic. Laws, statutes etc. 1890 -1906 RES GS2.E.6
Leyes Nacionales Clasificadas. The vols at RES GS2.E.1 (1935-1938) are arranged by subject and are followed by the annual vols. at RES GS2.E.2 (1935-46)
Anales de Legislacion Argentina. GS2.E.4 (1958-2000) but incomplete.
InfoLEG allows the user to search for Normas (group name for all the different categories of laws and regulations) by type of legislation, keyword, date and also by using reference numbers from the Boletín Oficial. It is also possible to view a list of the most recent national legislation and browse the official web pages of the provincial governments, which provide full text legislation.
IALS holds the printed series Jurisprudencia Argentina (1960-2009). The earlier years (1960-1980) are held in the closed basement. The volumes are divided into four main sections. The first section provides reports of judgments from the Supreme Court and also from the Cámaras Federales and national and provincial tribunals. Section two discusses cases in more detail with commentary. Section three covers Doctrina or in depth researched articles. Finally there is a section for reviews and a bibliography. There is also an accompanying Repertorio (index volume) for each year. This has an alphabetical index of contributory authors, subject headings and parties and a chronological list of court hearings.
IALS also holds Fallos de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nacion (1947-68 & 1985-2004) in the closed basement. RES GS2.G.1
The Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación site provides access to complete case reports post 1994. These can be searched by party names, case number, dates and keywords in the text. Cases decided between 1966 and 1993 can be searched and viewed in PDF format. Case summaries are available for cases from 1863 to 1965.
Please refer also to the section on journals for information about the Revista Juridica Argentina. La Ley which includes law reports.
Revista Juridica Argentina. La Ley is accompanied by a Repertorio digest series at FOL GS2.H.3. IALS holds vols. for 1956-66 and more recent vols. for 2000- 2010.
IALS also holds two older series:
Enciclopedia Juridica Omeba is a legal dictionary/encyclopedia arranged alphabetically. Terms are explained in depth. The volumes were all published between 1954 and 1976 and are accompanied by two appendix volumes published in 1976.
The Repertorio de Legislación Argentina is a two volume set which indexes all the legislation which came into force between 1862 and December 1970. Volume one lists the legislation chronologically and volume two arranges it by subject.
O'Farrell, Juan P. Doing business in Argentina. Juris Publishing. 1999. This English language text provides a useful introductory chapter on the Argentine legal system, which explains the background of the Constitution and the civil code. The remainder of the publication covers key aspects of business law. The legislation in the appendix is in Spanish.
Editorial Ad-Hoc This online encyclopedia of publications gives an overview of fairly recent legal sources arranged by subject. It covers books, and some periodicals and published codes. Each publication has a fairly detailed abstract to assist users with indication of purchase price.
Globalex research guide to the Argentine legal system. Dr. Gisela Monge Roffarello et al. Updated in 2011. Provides a comprehensive guide to the legal system and both printed and internet sources of information.
IALS currently only subscribes to Revista Juridica Argentina. La Ley. The main content of the journal covers full text judgments and legal articles. The court judgments are from of the Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina, from other national and provincial courts and from a small number of foreign courts. There are also shorter sections within the journal which offer an opinion column and a bibliography. The journal has a comprehensive index which allows users to access material by author or keyword for the articles and by name of court or party name for the judgments.
The library also holds some older discontinued titles on floor L2 and in the Depository.
The Anuario Argentino de Derecho Internacional is not held at IALS but some recent volumes (currently vol. 9, 1999 to vol. 15, 2007) are freely available in full text on the internet.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals indexes key Argentine journals including the titles held at IALS. This can be accessed from the Electronic Law Library.
HeinOnline also has a section for international and non US journals which does include some full text articles concerning Argentine law. It can be searched by keyword or using specific fields.
Eagle - i An Internet Portal for Law, provides quality web sites which have been evaluated according to a set of agreed criteria. It is currently being developed by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies as a valuable successor to the legal branch of Intute.
A selection of sites is available on Eagle-i for Argentina including the following. The principal language of documents included is Spanish.
Latin Laws Brings together a collection of full text legislation and case law for all the Latin American countries. The background information on the site is available in English as well as in Spanish and Portuguese but the text of the legislation and case reports is only in the original languages. It is possible to search using keywords across all jurisdictions.
Sistema Argentino de Informática e Jurídica: Provides full text access to national and provinicial legislation, codes, constitutions and case law. It is possible to search using a variety of fields eg. keyword, date, title, region.
WorldLII: Argentina: The explanatory text of this site is English. The documents are mainly but not exclusively in Spanish. The sites covered relate to Government Depts. legislation, case reports and Parliament sites. It is also possible to view them by subject area.