The library's law collections may be estimated at 270 000 volumes, 130 000 of which have been acquired since 1920. In the collections put together before that date, there is of course a large proportion of works in German, but there are also many titles in French and Latin, the eighteenth and particularly the nineteenth centuries being predominant. The history of law, Roman law and Germanic law are particularly well represented. The BNU also has an exceptional collection of German theses representing about 20% of all legal works prior to 1920.
The wealth of the old collections and the constitution of a specialist centre on Europe have strongly influenced the structure of the BNU's documentary policy: history of law, non-French law systems (particularly German law), and European Union law are the main areas of development of the collections. Acquisitions of works on law as part of the specialist centre on Europe cover both the purely legal aspect and the geographical aspect.
Thus the BNU brings into its collections a large number of works on Community law, and documentation compiling various national legal systems with a view to synthesis on a European scale.
The BNU makes available to all basic documentation for jurists, academics (students and teaching staff) and professionals, and high-level documentation for researchers in legal sciences.
Every area of law is covered. Nevertheless, canon law is included in the religious sciences collections, and local law (relating to Alsace and the Moselle département) is included in the collections on Alsace-related material. The acquisitions of monographs, numbering an average of about 800 titles per year, are relevant to every academic level from the bachelor's degree upwards. The library currently subscribes to 175 printed legal periodicals, about thirty of which concern Europe. For both monographs and periodicals, the BNU is attentive to maintaining a balance between public and private law.
The library's acquisition policy is pursued largely in the form of following multidisciplinary covering every branch of law and every academic level: Précis Dalloz, Précis Domat, Codes Bleus Litec, Codes Dalloz, etc.
The systematic supplementation of the collections publishing French theses, such as the Bibliothèques collections produced by LGDJ, is a substantial source of legal documentation at the research level.
The BNU does not acquire any works directed at the general public or, generally, any works directed at practitioners.
Non-French works corresponding to a high academic level (master's degree, doctorate) are acquired in large numbers: works in French published in Belgium, collections on German law, monographs in German and English mainly on areas of European law and international law. Thus the BNU has the collected jurisprudence of the German Supreme Court (BGH-Rechtsprechung) and compendia of English law (Halsbury’s Laws of England).
The BNU also provides access to a number of legal databases online versions of legal periodicals, including JurisClasseur, and the Dalloz.fr platform.
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