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Introduction to Foreign Legal Research. April 2012. Overview. Basic introduction Out-of-class research exercise will be distributed later this week Want to learn more? E579 International and Foreign Law Research. Definitions. Foreign Law

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Presentation Transcript
  • Basic introduction
  • Out-of-class research exercise will be distributed later this week
  • Want to learn more? E579 International and Foreign Law Research
  • Foreign Law
    • The national, or domestic, law of any country other than the one within which you are working
    • No effect outside the boundaries of that nation
  • Comparative Law
    • The study of the similarities and / or differences between two or more countries or between two or more legal systems
research strategy
Research Strategy
  • Preliminary analysis
    • Assess knowledge
    • Use secondary sources to get background on topic
  • Retrieve and analyze primary legal materials (constitutions, legislation, regulations, cases)
  • Update your research and refine conclusions
research guides
Research Guides
  • Written guidance on how to research a particular jurisdiction or topic of law
    • Descriptions of print and online sources for researching a particular country’s law, or a particular foreign law topic
    • Can help identify sources of English-language translations of laws
  • Gallagher Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Guide:
  • Other Guides:
      • Globalex (NYU)
      • LLRX
foreign law primary sources










overview of a foreign nation s legal system
Overview of a Foreign Nation’s Legal System
  • Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia K530 .M63 1984 (Reference Area)
  • Foreign Law Guide (a/k/a “Reynolds & Flores”)
    • Gallagher home page > Selected Databases
class exercise
Class Exercise
  • Use Foreign Law Guide and Globalex
  • Compare entries for South Africa. Information on:
    • legal history?
    • guidance on how to cite legal materials?
    • identification of bankruptcy laws?
    • information on structure of judicial system?
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World K3157.A2 B58 1971 (Reference Area)
  • Constitution Finder, University of Richmond
finding foreign legal materials online commercial sources
Finding Foreign Legal Materials Online: Commercial Sources
  • Westlaw
    • Westlaw Classic: Select the DIRECTORY > International/Worldwide Materials > Select region
    • WestlawNext: Select the DIRECTORY > International Materials > International/Worldwide Materials > Select region
  • LexisNexis
    • Primary foreign law databases
      • Select LEGAL Tab > Area of Law by Topic > Foreign Laws and Legal Sources > select country or region
    • Martindale Hubbell International Law Digest
      • Legal > Area of Law by Topic > Foreign Laws and Legal Sources > International Law Digests > select region
finding foreign legal materials online
Finding Foreign Legal Materials Online
  • Law Library of Congress Guide to Law Online
  • NYU Law Library, Foreign Databases by Jurisdiction
class exercise1
Class Exercise
  • Use Library of Congress, Guide to Law Online, and NYU Law Library, Foreign Databases by Jurisdiction
  • Compare information on laws of Israel. Does each site have:
    • Links to court cases in English?
    • Online access to treaties to which Israel is a party?
    • Link to Executive branch website?
    • Links to online sources for full-text laws, in English?
researching foreign law by subject
Researching Foreign Law by Subject
  • Subject compilations of foreign laws in print
    • E.g., RIA Worldwide Tax Law/Tax Laws of the World, K4504.15 (Reference Area)
    • Use Library of Congress, Multinational Collections Database to identify publications that contain foreign laws on specific subjects
  • IGO and NGO websites
    • E.g., World Bank - Doing Business
      • Compilation of business laws and regulations from almost every member jurisdiction)
evaluating online information
Evaluating Online Information
  • Is it reliable?
    • Who is the author?
    • Currency?
    • Scope?
  • Translation issues
    • Official translation?
    • May not include latest revisions/amendments
    • Look for official government websites
foreign law research take aways
Foreign Law Research: Take-Aways
  • When beginning your research:
    • Use secondary sources for basic background and citations to primary law
    • Consult a research guide
      • Many good online guides; all vary in coverage so you may need to consult more than one
    • Identify your country’s legal system (civil law, common law, other?)
  • Search for primary law by jurisdiction or by subject
    • May need to consult multiple sources for primary law; coverage varies
    • Be persistent but realistic; sometimes you may have to settle for summaries

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