INTERNATIONAL AND FOREIGN LEGAL RESEARCH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
One of the best ways to begin international or foreign legal research is by locating a book or an article which presents an overview of your topic or the laws of the country you are researching. Along with providing you with valuable background information, these materials will often refer you to other sources. Suffolk Law Library has many guides to international and foreign legal research. Listed below are selected guides.
Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World, Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores - REF K 38 .R49 1989 This multi-volume set is an excellent resource for background material and for references to other sources. The entries are arranged by geographic area. Each entry provides an overview of the country's legal system, a listing of official sources of law and legislation including any English translations, and a list of sources arranged by subject. These volumes are updated annually.
International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law - REF K 583. I58 This is one of the most important guides to foreign legal systems. The first few volumes are arranged alphabetically by country and provide detailed information on national legal systems. The other volumes cover contracts, torts, copyright, civil procedure, business organizations and several other topics.
Germain's Transnational Law Research, Claire Germain - REF K 85 .G47 1991 (additional copy at Reserve Desk) This guide focuses on Europe. It shows you how to do international and foreign legal research and it provides an extensive bibliography of legal materials.
Guide to International Legal Research, 2nd ed., George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics - REF K 85 .G845 1993 (additional copy at Reserve Desk) (additional copy at Reserve Desk) This guide provides very useful information on how to do international legal research. The extensive annotations of primary and secondary sources are particularly helpful.
Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems, edited by Richard A. Danner and Marie-Louise H. Bernal - REF K 583 .I57 1994 This book introduces legal systems other than those based on the common law and provides lists of books on these legal systems. Some of the countries covered are Japan, China, France, Nigeria and Ghana.
Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia, Kenneth Robert Redden, ed. - L-LEAF JF 411 .M691 This extremely important set provides an overview of the laws of various countries.
Everyone's United Nations - REF JX 1977 .A38 1986 This volume describes the structure and work of the United Nations. It provides a useful background to the various organizations within the United Nations.
You may also want to check to see if there is a guide to doing research in a particular country or on a particular topic. These guides will explain in detail how to do legal research. Listed below are some of the guides the library owns. To see what other guides we own, check the online catalog, ARCHER, by doing a subject search for legal research.
Banks on using a Law Library: a Canadian Guide to Legal Research - REF KE 250 .B36 1991
The Practical Guide to Canadian Legal Research - REF KE 250 .C37 1994
Legal Research in England and Wales - REF KD 392 .J43 1991
Using a Law Library: a Student's Guide to Legal Research Skills (England, Wales & European Community) - REF KD 392 .C66 1992
Charles Szladits' Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: German - REF KK 76 .K42 1990
Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: French - REF KJV 140 .S96 1985
Legal Research in Scotland - REF KDC 200 .D84 1992
Legal Research and the Law of the European Communities - REF KJE 928 .J44 1990
Guide to Human Rights Research, Jack Tobin and Jennifer Green - REF K 3236 .T63 1994
There are several indexes you can use in order to find articles on your topic. The following indexes are located on the main floor of the library near the Reference Desk.
Suffolk Law School Library has many Law Reviews, most of them are located on the 7th floor (recent issues are kept at the reserve desk). Lexis and Westlaw also have many full text law reviews covering international law.
Once you get some background material and a list of potential materials check the online catalog to see if the law library owns the material. The Law Library receives English and Canadian cases and statutes. We also have several treaty series. Many primary documents can be found in collections of documents. Below are some collections which contain a variety of documents. If we do not have the material you need, we may be able to obtain it from another library. Check with a Reference Librarian to see if we can borrow it.
Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders/International Court of Justice - 5th Floor, KZ210 .R4. All decisions of the International Court of Justice are printed here. Westlaw also has reports starting with volume one in 1947 in the INT-ICJ database.
Common Market Reporter/European Community Cases - 5th Floor, KJE949 .E96. This multi-volume set contains selected cases from the Court of Justice of the European Communities, EEC treaties, regulations and directives.
International Legal Materials (ILM) - 7th Floor (with law periodicals). This bi-monthly series publishes selected texts of new treaties and new foreign laws, often before they are available elsewhere. An annual index is available in each November issue. ILM is also available on Lexis, Westlaw, and HeinOnline.
International Law and World Order: Basic Documents, Burns H. Weston - REF JX 68 .I496. This multi-volume collection contains primary documents arranged under the following categories: Constitutive/Organic, War/Peace, Human Rights/Social Justice, Trade/Development, Earth-Space Environment. Full texts of many treaties, conventions and declarations can be found in this set.
Yearbook of the United Nations - REF JX 1977 .A37 Y4, 1973-1988 and 1991-1994. All resolutions, decisions and other major activities are either reproduced or summarized. Unfortunately the publication of these volumes is slow. The Law Library has an ongoing subscription and receives new volumes as soon as they are available.
United Nations Juridical Yearbook - 5th Floor, KZ4949. The law library also subscribes to this UN publication covers other legal activities of the UN; it is updated when volumes are made available.
Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest REF KF190 .M3. This is a good source of current developments in foreign law. It is updated annually. It also contains the full text of selected international conventions.
Human Rights: Sixty Major Global Instruments, edited by Winston E. Langley - REF K 3238 .H859 1992. The majority of the documents in this volume are from the United Nations. They include declarations, conventions, and protocols.
International Environmental Law: Basic Instruments and References, Edith Brown Weiss, Paul C. Szasz and Daniel B. Magraw - REF K 3583 .W45 1991. Full or selected text from eighty-five documents is reproduced in this volume. Over 800 other documents are referenced with parallel citations when possible.
Constitutions of the Countries of the World - 5th Floor, K 3157 .A2 B58 1971. The full text of constitutions from countries around the world are reproduced in this multi-volume set.
Three of the most important American views of international law are listed below. When analyzing a problem in this area, it is advisable to gather the opinions of the state of the law developed by other, non-American scholars.
In addition to Lexis and Westlaw, the full text of many documents can be found on the Internet . The following are just a few of the sites that contain full-text documents and links to many other sites.
1. GLIN: Global Legal Information Network
2. Foreign/International law
3. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Multilaterals Project
4. United Nations
5. European Union
6. World Legal Information Institute
Last updated November 10, 2005.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email: Rick Buckingham Reference Librarian.
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