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International & Foreign Law Research Guide: Foreign Law

What is Foreign Law?

"The phrase Foreign Law  is sometimes used by US legal researchers when referring to the national law of any country other than the United States. National law is essentially the domestic or internal law of a country. It defines the role of government to the people and controls relationships between people. It may regulate foreign persons and entities, but it does not have effect outside the boundaries of a nation." (Hoffman & Rumsey, International and Foreign Legal Research: A CoursebookK85.H64 2008) 

Research Guides

The following guides for Foreign Law research are recommended as starting points:

Subscription Databases

While limited foreign law content is available through large subscription services, such as Weslaw and Lexis, most researchers will incorporate specialized databases, such as the ones below.

Free Websites

Legal Systems

When researching foreign law, be sure to country legal systems. Try the World Systems Legal Chart to get started, or consult a country specific legal research guide .


When researching foreign law, many materials may not be in English. If you are not fluent in the necessary language, these tools may help.

Bluebook Citations

While it is not the global standard, the Bluebook 20th edition offers foreign law citation details through Rule 20 and Table 2.

See also, International Citator and Research Guide: The Greenbook, K89 .I58.