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Argentine Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights

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The following is a guest post by Graciela Rodriguez-Ferrand, senior foreign law specialist for Argentina and several other Spanish-speaking jurisdictions.

Argentina has a federal republic form of government and a democratic political system.  The Argentine Constitution, enacted in 1853 and last amended in 1994, provides for three branches of government: an executive branch headed by a president, a bicameral legislature, and a judiciary.

Cover page of the first Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina ( Official Gazette) from July 1, 1893.
Cover page of the first Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina ( Official Gazette) from July 1, 1893.

Argentina is a civil law country with a Romanist continental legal system.  Under this system, a judge renders a sentence, which, strictly speaking, is the act emanated by a judge who is required to declare and interpret the correct applicable law.  In this process, the judge must support his decisions and provide the basis for the conclusion he reaches.  Such basis needs to be found either in the law, court decisions, or other additional secondary sources of law, such as customs, scholarly opinions and general principles of law.

A major development in Argentine legal research is the completion of the new Digesto Jurídico Argentino (DGA) in May 2014, which selected and consolidated all national laws that are currently in effect.  This titanic endeavor required the classification and indexing of the laws currently in force, as well as assigning them pertinent descriptors.

The Argentine law collection at the Law Library of Congress includes all the major legal publications dating as far back as the 1820s, including the full collection of the Boletín Oficial (Official Gazette).  The collection also includes the complete collection of  major legal publishers of legislation, court decisions and scholarly work under the Anales de Legislación Argentina and Revista Jurispurdencia Argentina and Revista La Ley, as well as the Supreme Court reporter “Fallos”.  It also contains a broad collection of legal dictionaries and encyclopedias, most notably the eight-volume set of the Diccionario Enciclopédico de Derecho Usual authored by Guillermo Cabanellas (2008).

Most of the Argentine legal collection at the Library of Congress is in Spanish and published in Argentina.  However, although they are very limited in scope and number, a few items in English on specialized legal subjects, published in Argentina, Europe or the U.S., are also available.  A perusal of the most recent publications on Argentine law in English includes the following:

You can explore our Argentine collection more by going to the Library of Congress online catalog.  If you need help researching Argentine law you may request assistance from the Law Library by submitting a request through the “Ask the Librarian” page on our website.

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