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What is the IEL?


What is the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (IEL)?

This unique series of looseleaf publications currently comprises 25 distinct reference works. Each of these subsets is itself encyclopaedic in nature, covering a major field of law with penetrating country-by-country monographs that describe how each national legal system governs the relevant field. These national monographs are supplemented where relevant with international monographs which detail the workings of supranational organisations that affect the field of law in question, or offer an overview of the field from a comparative perspective.

Alongside the national monographs, for some specific volumes, a codex containing national and international primary legislation has been included, as well as the most important relevant case law from international courts, such as the Court of Justice of the European Communities, in that particular field. For the Constitutional Law subset, a significant effort is also being undertaken to publish all of the constitutions of the world.

More than 1200 prominent legal practitioners in the various disciplines provide practical information and valuable insights into the legal framework and procedures specific to their country or international organisation. Each monograph follows a uniform structure, and includes:

  • detailed historical background;
  • an introduction to the legal framework;
  • and in-depth analysis of relevant legislation.

Subject indexes at the end of each monograph provide useful and timesaving reference aids. Furthermore, a detailed topical table of contents for each monograph facilitates country-to-country and subject-to-subject comparison across all 21 fields of law. A professor with specialised knowledge in the pertinent field edits each subset of the Encyclopaedia.


National monographs

When the International Encyclopedia of Laws is completed, each subset will include approximately 50 national monographs of about 200-250 pages each. To aid comparison between countries, the monographs will follow a basic outline:

  • general introduction: background on the country and its history, followed by definitions and sources of law for the relevant legal discipline;
  • main body: detailed analysis of relevant legal institutions, legislation, and procedure, set out in a consistent format to facilitate comparison between countries;
  • selected bibliography;
  • index.


International monographs

Because international law supersedes national law in many areas, some subsets also include international monographs. These are written by lawyers who work(ed) in the supranational organisations they describe - organisations such as the European Union, the International Labour Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Council of Europe, the World Health Organisation, and the International Maritime Organisation. In addition, the Intergovernmental Organisations subset, when complete, will detail the institutional and legal position of some 55 organisations.

25 fields of law are currently covered by the International Encyclopaedia of Laws.

  • Last modified 21-09-2015