Bangladesh: Legal Research Guide
Alphabetical Country Selector
1. Which part of the government is responsible for making laws (parliament/congress/the national assembly)? Does it have an official website? If so, what kinds of resources does this website offer?
The Bangladesh Parliament is the law-making body for the country. It maintains an official website (http://www.parliament.gov.bd/indexeng.html), which offers some basic legal documents and general information about the way Parliament operates. There is also a page dedicated to current parliamentary business (http://www.parliament.gov.bd/business.htm), although it is not always regularly updated.
2. Does this body regularly publish laws that are under consideration or laws that have been approved (for example, in an Official Gazette)? If so, are these published and made publicly available online?
Parliament publishes laws that have been enacted on its official website (http://www.parliament.gov.bd/Acts%20of%209th%20Parliament.htm), as well as information on bills under consideration (http://www.parliament.gov.bd/business.htm).
3. Is there a comprehensive, publicly available database of national laws in your country? If so, is it searchable and/or indexed by subject? How far back does it cover?
A full set of the Laws of Bangladesh is publicly available on the website of the Government's Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division (http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/). The laws are listed alphabetically and chronologically, and are searchable by free text (http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/index.php?page=html&language=english). The database runs back to 1836; laws enacted in 1986 and earlier are published in English, while later laws are available in Bangla. A small selection of laws made between 1986 and 1995 are also available in English via the Heidelberg Bangladesh Law Translation Project (http://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/workgroups/bdlaw/) and the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (http://www.commonlii.org/bd/legis/num_act/).
4. Are there private, for-pay online databases of national laws in your country? If so, what kinds of services do these databases offer?
There are no prominent English-language for-pay databases of national legislation in Bangladesh.
5. Are cases reported? If so, which kinds (civil/criminal/family/administrative) and levels (local/regional/appellate/supreme) of cases are reported? Is there an official series of case law reports?
Cases are published in a variety of law reports. There is currently no official series of reports, although the Bangladesh Bar Council publishes the Bangladesh Legal Decisions reports (http://bangladeshbarcouncil.org/). Perhaps the most popular series is the Dhaka Law Reports, which has been in publication since 1949 and is the oldest in the country. Other law reports include the Bangladesh Law Chronicles, Law Guardian, the Lawyers, Bangladesh Law Times, and the Mainstream Law Reports. Law reports typically cover civil and criminal cases from the High Court and Appellate Division.
6. Do national courts publish their decisions online? If so, which kinds and levels of courts do this?
The Supreme Court publishes some of its decisions online in full for both its High Court (http://www.supremecourt.gov.bd/scweb/judgments.php?div_id=2) and Appellate Division (http://www.supremecourt.gov.bd/scweb/judgments.php?div_id=1) branches. General information about subordinate courts and tribunals is available on the website of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, although these courts do not typically publish their decisions online.
7. Is there a comprehensive, publicly available online database of national case law in your country? If so, is it searchable? How far back does it cover?
Cases published on the Supreme Court website are searchable by category, type, year and citation. High Court cases date back to 1991, while those of the Appellate Division are available from 2003 forward.
8. Are there private, for-pay online databases of case law in your country? If so, what kinds of services do these databases offer?
There are no prominent English-language for-pay databases of national case law in Bangladesh.
9. Are there any other government websites (department/ministry of justice, etc.) that offer helpful legal information or research resources?
The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs offers general background information on the functioning of the government and the judicial system (http://www.minlaw.gov.bd/indexin.htm). The Bangladesh Bar Council is the body that regulates lawyers, and provides basic information about the practice of law in the country (http://bangladeshbarcouncil.org/).
10. Is there a national law library in your country?
The National Library operates under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs' Directorate of Archives and Libraries (http://www.nanl.gov.bd/). The Library is based in Dhaka and open to the public, but does not contain a large number of legal resources (see http://www.ndl.go.jp/en/cdnlao/newsletter/070/705.html).
Parliament operates a Legislative Information Centre (LIC), which offers full parliamentary documentation, records of the official gazette, and other legal materials (http://www.parliament.gov.bd/services.htm). The LIC is not open to the general public, but is accessible to individual researchers on application.
11. Are there any guides to legal research we might want to know about that have been published on your country?
The GlobaLex project at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Bangladesh (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/bangladesh1.htm).
12. Are there lists or collections of links to legal resources that might be helpful for someone doing legal research in your country?
Collections of links to relevant legal research and government websites are available via the World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/bd/) and the U.S. Law Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/bangladesh.php).
13. Are there any legal research resources that are particularly relevant to children's rights?
The Chancery Law Chronicles have assembled collections of both landmark judgments (http://www.clcbd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4565&Itemid=163) and decisions resulting from public interest litigation (http://www.clcbd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5217&Itemid=1710).
The Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs publishes the Bangladesh Journal of Law (http://www.biliabd.org/bjl.php), which offers articles on current issues in human and children's rights; issues and articles are available for purchase.
14. Are there any non-governmental organisations working in children's rights in your country that might be able to offer help with legal research?
While it does not work exclusively on matters of children's rights, the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) has extensive experience in human rights and public interest litigation (http://www.blast.org.bd/).