Law Observatory

This Law Observatory contains links to the original text of laws relating to informal work from around the world.

A major challenge facing informal economy workers and researchers, policymakers, and advocates interested in the informal economy is the absence of information on the laws that govern the informal economy. WIEGO's researchers and partners  ubmitted these laws as they came across them in their work. (Somelaws may have changed since posting; not all of the laws listed are necessarily still in effect. For more information on a particular country, you can also search for a local member-based organization on WIEGO's WORD database and contact them directly.)  

To contribute material to the Law Observatory, please request access or contact us.

The Law Observatory currently contains laws from these countries:
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (Hong Kong)
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
The Law Observatory also contains laws from the following occupational sectors:
  • Domestic workers
  • Home-based workers
  • Street vendors
  • Waste pickers
  • General informal economy regulation or other sectors
The Law Observatory contains the following types of legal resources:
  • Laws (national and municipal/local)
  • Policies
  • Court cases
  • Government resources

More information on international and regional legal instruments and courts relevant to informal workers, including links to key international and regional human rights treaties, is available in  WIEGO Legal Briefs.

Other Databases

Other organizations also host databases of laws and legal resources from around the world. Several other databases that may be particularly helpful in researching regulation of the informal economy are:

  • INTERIGHTS, a database of international human rights cases from international and regional human rights courts
  • Legal Information Institute's collection of global legal materials, with links to national legislative databases searchable by country
  • NATLEX, a database of national labour, social security, and related human rights laws, maintained by the International Labour Organization
  • NORMLEX, a database of compliance with international labour standards, maintained by the International Labour Organization
  • UN Research Guides, which include research guides on economic and social rights and international law
The databases linked here generally focus more on national and international law, and are often extremely comprehensive. The Law Observatory, which includes some national laws, seeks to supplement national and international information with examples of local regulation. Information on local legislation can be difficult to obtain, but the local or municipal government is often the critical point of contact between informal workers and the state, making access to such information particularly critical for informal workers.