The strongest part of the entire South Slavic collection comprises legal materials. Official government documents, laws, parliamentary minutes, and other legal materials represent sources much used by all branches of the U.S. government, as well as by legal scholars and practitioners interested in this part of the world. With the extensive immigration of South Slavs into the United States after World War II, this collection has been heavily used by former citizens of these countries through their representatives in the U.S. Congress, in support of all kinds of legal research from cases of inheritance and political persecution to divorce and civil cases.
The Law Library of Congress has an extensive collection of former Yugoslav and Croatian laws, court decisions, commentaries, and a complete run of the official gazette Narodne novine, from 1947 to the present day. The Law Library also has many books and studies on various legal topics relating to Croatia, recent works about Croatia's entry into the European Union, and long runs of legal periodicals such as Zbornik pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu [Proceedings of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb], Poredbeno pomorsko pravo [Comparative Maritime Law] from Zagreb, and Pravni vjesnik [Legal Gazette] from Osijek.
Of particular interest are a number of titles by legal scholar Ivo Josipović, who is also a former president of Croatia, such as Odgovornost za ratne zločene pred sudovoma u Hrvatskoj [Responsibility for War Crimes before the Courts in Croatia] (Zagreb, 2006) or Uhićenje i pritvor [Arrest and Detention] (Zagreb, 1998). The Law Library also holds a facsimile edition of Vinodolski zakon (The Vinodol Law) of 1288, the oldest legal document in the Croatian language written in the Glagolitic script.
In addition to collecting works on Croatian law, since the 1950s the Law Library has published a number of works related to some legal aspect of former Yugoslav law such as forced labor, nationalities, and foreign investment. These titles are listed in the section of this guide for Publications by the Library of Congress on Croatia and also in the guide to Law Online for Croatia.
The Law Library of Congress contains the world’s largest collection of law books and legal resources. It is a repository for the compete record of American law and holds foreign law materials covering all major national, state, and equivalent jurisdictions. In 1832, the Law Library was officially established to provide the United States Congress and Supreme Court with access to current and accurate legal research materials. Over time, our mission was expanded to include other branches of the U.S. Government, the public, and the global legal community. This evolving mission is supported by a collection of around three million volumes and brings together the expertise of approximately 100 lawyers, librarians, other professionals, and support staff who provide legal reference, research, and analysis using the Law Library’s collection. We also draw upon the collections and expertise of our colleagues throughout the Library of Congress.