The Oxford Constitutional Law research database serves as an excellent resource for any student, practicing attorney, or general academic with a curiosity and passion for understanding the history, theories, and intricacies behind Constitutions, and the questions that inevitably come up in their enforcement.
This database, which is owned and run by Oxford University (and accessible through the Charleston School of Law library), includes the institution’s three constitutional law services: Oxford Constitutions of the World, US Constitutional Law, and the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Constitutional Law. Each of these services provides a different look into constitutional law, and though the types of materials offered are the same for each, the contents themselves are extremely varied, giving the researcher access to a comprehensive and diverse collection of documents to view.
Having all of their products in one location, Oxford has created a database that allows the user to pull up a myriad of information available in one location, while still allowing the researcher to narrow the search to the product of their choosing. This lends itself to a research platform that is very inclusive and thorough, and yet still extremely easy to navigate.
The types of content offered by Oxford Constitutional Law include the following:
- Constitutional instruments and materials
- National instruments and materials
- Commentary and analysis
The Constitutional instruments and materials contain actual Constitutions (national, sub-national, and indigenous) from all around the world, as well as amendments that have been made to them and related documents that may have been influential in their formation (for example, the United States’ Declaration of Independence). The amount of information contained here is truly impressive; in fact, this is the only resource that contains English language versions of every constitution in the world.
The National Instruments and materials consist of different national legislation from around the globe that is related to that country’s or state’s respective Constitution, such as laws passed to clarify a provision or to expound upon a certain subject. This provides for even more context surrounding not only the history of the document, but the ways in which its provisions have been interpreted and debated throughout time.
An example of what a Search looks like on Oxford Constitutional Law
The third type of content available on Oxford Constitutional Law is commentary and analysis. This section consists of mainly what would be considered secondary sources, and includes information in the following forms:
- Book content
- Constitutional overview (by jurisdiction)
These resources offer information focusing on different constitutional law subjects, the histories behind the Constitutions themselves, and various pieces that attempt to clarify common issues that have been frequently raised in this area. They also offer analyses and comparisons of Constitutions throughout the world, to provide true perspective to the study as a whole.
The final component of the Oxford Constitutional Law database is the Oxford Law Citator. This tool allows the user to search for a subject, case, piece of legislation, etc., and then provides them with a citation for a piece of legal information, other documents that cite or mention what is being searched, or links to full text within the Oxford Law system and across the web. The Oxford Law Citator is a fast and easy way to find a wide variety of credible resource related to the subject of your choosing.
The home page of the Oxford Law Citator
The Oxford Constitutional Law database is a great resource for anyone involved in the history and study of constitutional law as a whole. As far as practice goes, this resource is very limited in its scope, and though it offers numerous and varied in depth pieces of information, those looking for more primary sources and more general information may not gain much from its use. However, the material is routinely updated and contains solid primary information, as well as credible secondary sources verified courtesy of the Oxford Law Citator.
For those devoted to the study and for the academics with great interest in that area, Oxford Constitutional Law is a must have. The material is routinely updated and contains solid primary information, as well as credible secondary sources verified courtesy of the Oxford Law Citator.
Written by: Jack Jackson