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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 Coursebook, K85.H64 2008)
The following guides for Foreign Law research are recommended as starting points:
Globalex: Foreign Law Research guides
These country guides are especially helpful starting points when researching the domestic law of a country. GlobaLex is published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law. The guides and articles are written by scholars well known in their respective fields and are recommended as a legal resource by universities, library schools, and legal training courses.
Country by Country Guide to Foreign Law Research
Yale University law library's country-by-country guide will help get you started on your foreign law research by connecting you to the best research guides and databases for each country.
Resources for Jurisdictions
From Oxford University's Bodleian Library, this guide provides country specific and regional legal research information, including English translations when available.
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.
Foreign Law Guide
Consists of primary and secondary sources of foreign law. Includes an introduction to the legal system of each country with a list of primary and secondary sources by subject such as Environment & Natural Resources. You can also begin by selecting the subject Environment & Natural Resources for a list of relevant laws arranged by country.
World Constitutions Illustrated
This library enables legal scholars to research the constitutional and political development of every country in the world. It includes the current constitution for every country in its original language format and an English translation, as well as substantial constitutional histories for all countries. It also includes constitutional periodicals, thousands of classic books, other related works such as the World Factbook, links to scholarly articles and online resources, and bibliographic references.
HeinOnline International & Non-U.S. Law Journals
This is a sub collection of the Law Journal Library which contains journals on the subject of international law and journals published outside of the the U.S.
This database provides users with English version of China laws & regulations, judicial cases, tax treaties, white papers, law journals and gazettes, as well as other China legal information such as legal news and legislative/regulatory updates.
Provided by Thomson Reuters and based on Westlaw online legal database, Westlaw China offers Chinese and English contents on Laws and Regs, Articles, Current Awareness, Legal Topics, and more.
The World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) is a free, independent and non-profit global legal research facility developed collaboratively by the following Legal Information Institutes and other organisations. This site compiles links to free primary law materials from countries around the globe.
Guide to Law Online: Nations
Compiled by the Library of Congress, the Guide to Law Online is an annotated compendium of country specific Internet links; a portal of Internet sources of interest to legal researchers.
N-Lex provides a single entry point to the national law databases on individual EU countries.
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.
This tool may be useful for rough translations, such as determining whether a document has potential relevance.
Linguee is a web service that provides an online dictionary for a number of language pairs. Unlike similar services, Linguee incorporates a search engine that provides access to large amounts of bilingual sentence pairs found online.
ITL Foreign Law Translations
This site is a resource for French, German, Austrian, and Israeli legal materials in the fields of constitutional, administrative, contract and tort law.
EUR-Lex National Transposition
Using English, search the laws of EU member states
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.