About the GLIN Foundation

What is the GLIN Foundation?

The GLIN Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia and qualified as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.  The purpose of the GLIN Foundation is, among other things, to obtain funding and in-kind support necessary to the sustenance and development of the next generation GLIN Network and to help operate and expand the GLIN Database.
Download the GLIN Foundation Bylaws

What is GLIN?

The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) is a network of Member States and designated International Organizations committed to enhancing the legislative processes of individual countries, and to making their laws and legal decisions accessible to their citizens, legislators, government and private sector officials and others who relate to the country through international trade, and to participants in the global community generally.

History of GLIN?

The US Library of Congress created GLIN in 1996 and the United States supported it financially until 2012. It was not a treaty organization; rather it was a federation of Parliaments with a shared objective: to improve and provide access to the legal underpinnings of economic and social development, and to enhance the transparent evolution of international relations and international trade.

Each Member of GLIN operated its own GLIN “Station”. Usually located at the source of national law, i.e. parliaments or parliamentary libraries, these Stations were responsible for entering authenticated law and legal decisions into the GLIN database, which was searchable and accessible on-line, and for preparing searchable précis of the law and legal decisions, also for inclusion in the database.  Stations varied in size from country to country.  GLIN “Central” functioned as a Secretariat overseeing the overall operations, adding Members, and providing training and technical assistance to the Stations as needed.

GLIN had a salutary effect on the laws of Member countries by making transparent to all, the condition of the law and legal decisions.  The GLIN database had rules and incentives for keeping the material current as well as to guarantee its authenticity.  Because the database was searchable, those who were drafting new laws could readily view the work of others in Member States with similar traditions.  The result was an enhancement to both regional development and particularly to South-South cooperation.

The US Library of Congress created the original GLIN Network in 1996 and the United States supported it financially until 2012 at a cost of $3 to 5 million a year. Pursuant to budgetary constraints in the US, the GLIN operating system was shut down in 2012.

Download the GLIN Charter

GLIN Foundation Objectives

A prime example of a “government network,” GLIN was formed to increase transparency and justice by making the law accessible to those ruled by it.  It was the only on-line, searchable source of full, authenticated text of laws and legal decisions of multiple Member countries in the original language and English and maintained by the Member governments themselves.

The GLIN Foundation has undertaken to redevelop the network, the database and its supporting systems, and the user community to achieve the long-term goals established by the original Member States. This will include:

  • encouraging the original Member States to participate in the GLIN 2 project, expanding the membership and deepening the network, making governments more efficient, transparent and accountable; empowering citizens and effectively responding to their aspirations, and making knowledge more accessible to the broader citizenry;
  • improving the utility of the GLIN database; upgrading and maintaining the relevant information, communications and technology (ICT) systems;
  • expanding the GLIN user community by making it a more effective tool for enhancing economic development both locally and regionally, and providing the associated assistance to facilitate knowledge transfer among members and beneficiaries. Various operational protocols will be modified to promote sector and sub-national coverage in the database, and increased coverage of regulations that have the force of law, leading to deepening of the database; database search protocols will be upgraded to enable relational and more rapid searches.
  • shifting the emphasis from a simple on-line repository of law and legal decisions accessible to sovereign Members who contribute texts to the database, to a network of makers and users of laws, legal decisions and other legal materials (such as regulations with the force of law) that contribute to and use the database, with particular attention paid to enhancing transparency, governance and anti-corruption.
  • shifting to management by a public-private partnership between the Members of GLIN, the private GLIN Foundation, and other public and private entities.
  • place greater emphasis on value adding efforts to transfer know how and experiences among users by shifting from the assumption that the primary users of the GLIN database only will be parliamentarians, to a user community of parliamentarians, judges, executive branch personnel and the private sector (both for-profit and not-for-profit) and that the system will be enhanced so that other networks can be linked to and/or incorporated into GLIN as desired, and the provision of assistance to enable such broadening of beneficiaries.

As these shifts are accomplished, the GLIN Foundation will concentrate on addressing the differing needs of varying GLIN country Stations – including the US Station – in order to improve their ability to contribute to and benefit from the Network; a primary means of doing this will be to promote the development of regional hubs and sub-national stations, thereby deepening and enhancing the utility of the database while strengthening the network, increasing transparency, governance, anticorruption and gender equality at the local level.

Additional Resources

  • GLIN Foundation Bylaws [PDF]
  • GLIN Charter [PDF]
  • Article: Building the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) [PDF]