Statutory Commentaries
Case Law Print Digests
Alternative Dispute ResolutionAustrian Civil CodeAustrian Law in GeneralCriminal Law and ProcedureEconomic, Commercial, and Tax LawEvidence LawIndex to Foreign Legal PeriodicalsInternational Encyclopaedia of Laws (Wolters-Kluwer)Intellectual Property and Technology LawMartindale-Hubbell International Law Digest
Legal Education and Practice
Bilingual Legal DictionariesGerman-Language Legal DictionariesOnline German Dictionaries and Language AidsOther Dictionaries
ALEX: National Library Legal CollectionANNO: Austrian Newspapers OnlineAustrian Government ResourcesAustrian National BibliographyAustrian National Library Network & ServiceInternational MaterialsLaw Library Microform Consortium (LLMC)Legal NewsMaking of Modern LawOpen Data InitiativeRepÖstRGUniversity of Vienna Library
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Guide to the Harvard Law School Library's resources for Austrian legal research
Last Updated: Jun 1, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Austrian Legal Research

Austrian flagThis guide provides information about how to use Harvard Law School Library's collection for researching Austrian law.  It includes references to books, other print materials, subscription databases, and free internet resources.  

Both English- and German language resources are discussed, although its primary focus is on English-language materials.  Languages are designated throughout the guide by flag icons:

USA flag English-language materials 

Austrian flag

German-language materials

The most important online source for Austrian law is the federal government's Rechtsinformationssystem (RIS), which is an extensive database of current and historical legal primary sources.  RIS is discussed multiple times in this guide, and Austrian legal research is, for all intents and purposes, impossible without it.  The excellent English-language introduction to RIS should be read before using the database.

If you are affiliated with the HLS community and need assistance with Austrian law research, or if you have questions or feedback about this guide, please contact FCIL Librarian Jennifer Allison.


Getting Started with Your Research

Austrian legal research is easier if you read German; however, there are still plenty of English-language resources available.

Austria's Federal Constitutional CourtGenerally, the same good-practice guidelines apply for both Austrian and U.S. legal research.

  1. First, learn about the Austrian legal system, including the full and abbreviated names of the relevant legal bodies and institutions, as well as the process by which laws are created and published.
  2. Next, review relevant secondary sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, digests, treatises, legal periodicals, and legal news publications. In addition to providing citations to primary law, these will help you understand the principles of the topic you are researching.
  3. Finally, review applicable primary sources, including constitutional provisions, statutes, case law, and regulations.

This guide will aid you in finding those resources in English and in German. 

Austria's Federal Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof)

Additional Resources

Review the sources below for more in-depth information about Austria, the Austrian legal system, and Austrian legal research.

  • The Austrian Legal System and Law (GlobaLex)
    Excellent online English-language guide to the Austrian legal system, written by two Austrian lawyers. Last updated in early 2014.
  • BBC News: Austria Country Profile
    Provides overview information and links to recent news stories about Austria.
  • CIA World Factbook: Austria
    Includes information about the Austrian people, society, government, economy, military, and infrastructure.
  • Europa World Year Book: Austria  Icon
    The Europa World Year Book provides detailed country surveys containing the latest analytical, statistical and directory data available for over 250 countries and territories. The link above is to the online yearbook entry for Austria. It includes a country profile and statistics, and directories for government/politics, society/media, and business/commerce.
  • Foreign Law Guide: Austria  Icon
    Foreign Law Guide is one of the premiere English-language resources for researching law in foreign jurisdictions.
  • Government of the United Kingdom: UK and Austria
    Information about Austria from the UK Foreign Office, available in English and German.
  • Oxford World Encyclopedia: Austria  Icon
    Provides brief factual information about the country and its history, along with links on the left side of the screen to additional relevant entries (such as "Hapsburg" and "Vienna").
  • U.S. Department of State: Austria Page
    Includes a bilaterial fact sheet, a link to the Library of Congress country study, information about the U.S. embassy, and a collection of press releases and major reports.

Subject Guide

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Jennifer Allison

Getting Help from a Librarian

For help, visit the HLSL Ask a Librarian website:  

This site includes links to all of our research guides, contact information for HLSL research librarians (phone, text, email, chat), and a schedule of our training classes.  


German-Language Research Elsewhere at Harvard

Harvard Libraries' excellent Germanic Research Guide provides information about German-language research resources at the Widener Library and elsewhere on the Harvard campus.  

If your research needs to extend to German-language non-legal materials, this guide will be very helpful to you.


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