Globalize Your B.A. Paper!: Resources on Foreign, Comparative, and International Law, and Related Topics
(B.A. Resources Fair, April 10, 2008; updated October 25, 2012)
Start by consulting with the following librarians who work with foreign, comparative, and international law resources, as they can help you get a good headstart on your research:
Civil law and other countries such as China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, francophone Africa; comparative law such as euthanasia, slavery, women's legal issues worldwide, patents, trademarks, and copyright, labor and employment law; international law and international relations, including treaty research, United Nations, European Union, WTO, human rights, war crimes trials, protection of cultural property, indigenous peoples' rights, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) & inter-governmental organizations (IGOs).
Common law countries such as Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, and the UK, anglophone Africa, and including legal history.
Area Studies Bibliographers (such as Africa, East Asia, Slavic, South Asia)
If you are not sure whom would be appropriate to talk to, you can always visit the reference desks of your favorite library (the street addresses for the libraries are here) or submit requests via email:
Ask-A-Law-Librarian (D'Angelo Law Library)
Ask-A-Librarian (All University of Chicago Libraries)
Research Guides and Bibliographies
Really good research guides and bibliographies will point you the exactly the resources you need for your topic, potentially save you some time, and make your research more efficient and effective.
Depending on the topic of your B.A. paper, you can start with one or more of these guides:
Reynolds & Flores' Foreign Law Guide (click on "SUBSCRIBER LOGIN" to access) provides for over 190 countries, background information about their legal system, bibliographic information about major codes of law, constitutions, session laws (chronological compilations of law), official gazettes, court reports in the vernacular and in English translation, and information about Internet access. The FLG also includes lists of books about foreign law topics. Each country's main entry is followed by an A-Z arrangement of sources of law by subject. A complete listing of the subjects is available here.
Globalex includes guides to researching the law of over 100 countries, plus guides to researching comparative and international law topics. The guides usually include links to sources of foreign law in English translation as well as background information on a country's legal system and books on major areas of law.
LLRX.com includes guides to researching the law of over 50 countries. The guides usually include information about sources of English translations of the laws. LLRX.com also has guide to researching comparative and international law topics at http://www.llrx.com/international_law.html. Note that some of the LLRX.com research guides are not as up-to-date as the Globalex guides
The ASIL Electronic Resources Guide (ERG) covers how to find online sources for the following international law topics: Human Rights, International Commercial Arbitration, International Criminal Law, International Economic Law (GATT/WTO), International Environmental Law, International Intellectual Property Law, International Organizations, Private International Law, Treaties, the United Nations. The Introduction includes a very useful guide to "Researching International Law on the Internet."
Another starting point is to look for books and other lengthy commentaries on the topic of your research. These will give you needed background information and also refer you to other relevant resources. As with other topics, you can start with Lens, the Library Catalog, and/or WorldCat. With WorldCat, you can search for books from more than 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories worldwide on your B.A. paper topic.
For foreign law books online, check the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (IEL) (via Kluwer Law International, Kluwer Law Online)(encyclopedia sets on 25 subject areas of foreign and international law).
For international law and international relations, there is this really great resource - the catalog of the Peace Palace Library. It indexes not only books, but also journal articles and chapters in books (collections of essays) on IL/IR topics. The Peace Palace Library also has IL/IR bibliographies and journal tables of contents e-alerts to which you can subscribe. You can also search the Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) database to access not only books, but also working papers, papers from conference proceedings, and publications of think tanks and research institutes on international relations topics. Google Book Search is a rapidly growing database that is also useful to search for full texts, limited previews, or snippets of books on your topic in a variety of languages.
These are great starting points for background information on international law topics:
Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law Online (MPEPIL/EPIL).
Parry & Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (3d ed, 2009; eBook).
Recueil des cours = Collected Courses (Hague Academy of International Law) - the Hague Academy Collected Courses Online (Martinus Nijhoff) - books, book chapters, mini-monographs on public international law topics.
For historical research, you can use these law databases (links also in Lens and Database Finder):
HeinOnline: Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).
HeinOnline: History of International Law
HeinOnline: Foreign & International Law Resources Database (FILRD) - includes international law yearbooks and periodicals, digests of U.S. practice in international law (Wharton, Moore, Hackworth, Whiteman), Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) decisions, and Moore's History and Digest of the International Arbitrations to which the United States Has Been a Party.
HeinOnline: Legal Classics (includes the Classics of International Law series).
HeinOnline: Scottish Legal History (Stair Society).
HeinOnline: Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law.
The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 (Gale/Cengage Learning)
Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative and International Law (Gale/Cengage Learning).
Early English Books Online (EEBO) (inlcudes the Statutes at Large and law books).
LLMC Digital (covers selected foreign jurisdictions).
Journal and Newspaper Articles, Blogs
For current information and shorter commentaries on foreign, comparative, and international law and international relations, you can consult indexes such as the Peace Palace Library catalogue mentioned above, Public Affairs Information Service International (PAIS), and the Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and full text sources such as JSTOR and Ebsco Academic Search Complete, Political Science Complete, SAGE Journals Online. For historical international research, try also, besides HeinOnline and JSTOR, Historical Abstracts and Periodicals Archive Online/Periodicals Index Online. Check the Political Science LibGuide (University of Chicago Library). See our handy Finding Journal Articles Flowchart (PDF).
See also the following:
Under the Legal tab, includes full text of articles from U.S. and Canadian law reviews published from about the mid-1980s to present. Also includes UK Law Journals. Look there for foreign, comparative, and international law-related articles. There is also an International Law Review Articles, Combined option on the drop-down menu (but unclear if it actually focuses on just journals on the topic of international law).
Check out HOL's Law Journals Library and Foreign and International Legal Resources Databases. HeinOnline includes the full texts of law journals from the very first volumes onwards (for example there is one including an article referencing "foreign law" published in 1788). Useful especially for PDFs of journal articles published from the late 1700s-2007 and beyond.
Indexes journal articles, including from journals covering foreign, comparative, and international law topics, from 1980 to present.
The ILP indexes journal articles from 1981 to present. See also the historical component: Index to Legal Periodicals and Books Retrospective 1908-June 1981.
The IFLP indexes law journals from all over the world (except for East Asian countries such as Japan) in all languages from 1985 to date. Useful to check if you have foreign language skills such as reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Portuguese, or Spanish. Searching is in English.
Available via the WESTLAW database. Indexes UK and EU law journals. Consult a reference librarian at the D'Angelo Law Library if you think this database will be useful for your research. A free database covering European Law is European Integration Current Contents. See also the European Research Papers Archive.
Articles Plus (for international relations and other non-law topics; does have some international law content)
Google Scholar enables broad searches of scholarly literature from many disciplines in the form of working papers, theses, books, abstracts, journal articles, etc. As with Google Book Search, it is unclear what the depth of coverage and exact contents of Google Scholar is, but it also is a steadily growing collection of materials well worth searching.
The Social Science Research Network's Legal Scholarship Network (SSRN/LSN) includes full texts and abstracts of working papers and pre-publication versions of law review articles, including those covering foreign, comparative, and international law topics. LSN is a great place to find articles on current, hot topics.
Opinio Juris is "a weblog dedicated to reports, commentary, and debate on current developments and scholarship in the fields of international law and politics"; to find other blogs and commentary in blogs concerning topics for your B.A. paper, search Law Professor Blogs, the Justia Blawg, the Blawg Directory, and Google Blog Search. Note that it's not clear what blogs are searched by Google Blog Search and there is a default "Safe" filtering that could block relevant blogs from being searched.
The News tab includes articles from news sources from all over the world, including foreign-language news. Useful to search for background information about new legislation, cases, treaties, and other international developments.
Factiva provides electronic access to foreign language news sources not available in other subscription databases. It is very useful to search because of its breadth of coverage of English and non-English news from all over the world.
Last, but absolutely, not least, Google Web Search is useful for obtaining all types of background information on, related organizations/"people" resources, and full text of articles, working papers, conference papers, press releases, newspaper articles, books, and websites on foreign, comparative, international law and international relations topics from around the world in all languages. A great starting point.
Documents (Constitutions, Cases, Statutes, Treaties, Resolutions, Reports, Etc.)
Under the Legal tab in LexisNexis Academic, you can find: Canadian Cases, Canadian Legislation, European Union, Commonwealth & Foreign Nations (this section includes full texts of EU directives, legislation, treaties, and cases; cases for Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, South African Constitutional Law Cases, UK, as well as GATT/WTO decisions, International Legal Materials (ILM), and U.S. Treaties).
Foreign Law Guide (click on SUBSCRIBER LOGIN to access)
Bibliographic information on sources of foreign court cases, statutes, codes, constitutions, compilations of laws, with hypertext links to Internet sources of full texts.
Other Foreign Law Databases (scroll down to "Foreign and International" for access links):
ChinaLawInfo (Chinese law database - Chinese-language interface version; see also LawInfoChina - English-language interface).
Early English Books Online (EEBO) (inlcudes the Statutes at Large and law books).
English Reports, Full Reprint (1220-1867) (via HeinOnline).
HeinOnline: Israel Law Reports (and Israel Law Review).
HeinOnline: Session Laws Library (Australia, Bahamas, Canada).
Justis: Singapore Law Reports (SLR).
Justis: UK Statutes - includes every Act of Parliament from the 13th century to the present, with PDF images and noter-up. Some similar content in Statutes of the Realm via HeinOnline and Statutes at Large via ECCO.
LLMC Digital (covers selected foreign jurisdictions).
Manupatra (Indian law database).
vLex - global foreign law database which contains cases, statutes, and other legal materials in 13 languages for 134 countries. It is strongest for the law of the following countries: Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Portugal, Italy, the UK, Belgium, France, and the U.S.
WestlawChina (formerly iSinolaw) - includes international treaties to which China is a party, court cases/judgments, legislative and judicial interpretations, statutes, constitutional and national laws, regulations, rules, administrative regulations, central policy documents, and arbitral
awards of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Chinese and in English translation. WestlawChina also includes legal news in English. It contains an introduction to the legal system and court system of China, documents on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO),
sample contracts, and a glossary of English-Chinese legal terms. It is searchable in English and Chinese.
For 178 countries, free online collection of business laws and regulations, usually from official government sources. The following laws are included, including English translations: Banking and Credit Laws, Bankruptcy and Collateral Laws, Civil Codes, Civil Procedure Codes, Commercial and Company Laws, Constitutions, Labor Laws, Land and Building Laws, Privacy Laws, Securities Laws, Tax Laws, and Trade Laws.
Legislationline is an internet-based free-of-charge legislative database published and maintained by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Its purpose is to assist lawmakers in OSCE participating States by providing them with sample domestic legislation and international standards on selected human dimension issues... Legislationline contains legislation in all OSCE official languages. The site also includes internal links to international treaties, conventions and other relevant instruments as well as EC/EU norms and documents, European and domestic case-law, bilateral conventions and other texts of relevance to the subject matters addressed by the site.
Topics covered for texts of foreign laws in English translation include: Freedom of Association, Citizenship, Terrorism, Elections, Gender, Migration, Police, Trafficking in Human Beings, Freedom of Assembly, Access to Information and Data Protection, Prison Service, Fair Trial (Right to a), Independence of the Judiciary, Hate Crimes, Death Penalty.
Including full texts of and information about constitutions from all over the world, including English transations if available.
Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) (this is presently not available)
English-language index to legislation for many non-U.S. jurisdictions. GLIN started out mostly indexing Latin American legislation, but has expanded to include East European, African, and Asian countries. Includes summaries/abstracts of legislation in English, and links to full texts of legislation for about 30 countries, mostly Latin American and including Taiwan and Brazil.
Subject Collections of Foreign Laws:
Law by Subject (via Northwestern)
Foreign and International Law Gateways (via Harvard; click on "Foreign Law Collections (Subjects A-Z)" tab)
Foreign Law: Subject Law Collections on the Web (via Globalex)
Basic Guide to Researching Foreign Law (via University of Minnesota)
Links to full texts of and information about frequently-cited treaties and international instruments arranged by broad subject areas.
HeinOnline includes the full texts of U.S. treaties in PDF published in sources such as the UST, TIAS, ILM, Bevans, etc. The International Legal Materials (ILM) publication also includes major treaties to which the United States is not a party. You can also search for treaties by keyword in HeinOnline.
The EISIL database is an American Society of International Law (ASIL) publication that provides full texts of treaties and other international agreements on all areas of international law. It also includes background information about treaties and links to related research guides. You can browse for treaty information by subject or do a keyword search.
HeinOnline: United Nations Law Collection - includes PDF and GET BY CITE of the United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.), League of Nations Treaty Series (L.N.T.S.), Reports of International Arbitral Awards (R.I.A.A.), ICJ Reports,
International Law Commission (ILC) and UNCITRAL yearbooks, reports of proceedings of UN law conferences, and other UN law publications.
Includes full text of the League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS) and the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) as wells as bilateral treaties deposited with the United Nations. Also has a link to a continually updated version of Multilateral Treaties Deposited by the Secretary-General, a treaty "bible" that can be consulted for weekly status of treaties, parties, date of entry into force, declarations, links to full texts in TIFF format, etc.
Status of Treaties (Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General or MTDSG)
United Nations & European Union:
United Nations LibGuide (University of Chicago Library)
UN Audiovisual Library of International Law (AVL) (includes full runs of the UN Yearbook, Reports of International Arbitral Awards (R.I.A.A.), historic archives, video lecture series, bibliographies).
The ODS includes full texts of all UN resolutions from 1946 to present, and all other UN documents from 1993 to date. See also the UN Documentation Centre for browseable, chronological compilations of UN resolutions in PDF from 1946 to present, as well as decisions, landmark documents, and annual reports.
Index to United Nations documents, reports, resolutions by subject, keyword, issuing body, UN document symbol, publication date, etc.
European Union LibGuide (University of Chicago Library)
Justis: International Law Reports (ILR includes English translations of decisions of international tribunals and national courts concerning public international law topics).
Oxford Reports on International Law (ORIL). ORIL is a current awareness service for alerts about new international law cases, with full texts of case-law, English translations, and expert analyses. We subscribe to the following modules: 1) Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC); 2) Oxford Reports on International Criminal Law; 3) Oxford Reports on International Human Rights Law; 4) Oxford Reports on International Courts of General Jurisdiction; 5) Oxford Reports on International Investment Claims.