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Introduction to Foreign Legal Research: Home

This guide provides a list of key primary and secondary resources of foreign law research as well as some basic strategies for researching foreign law.

Guide Outline


  • Introduction
  • Foreign Law Definitions

Preparation: Consulting Legal Research Guides

  • Reynolds & Flores
  • Country-Specific Pathfinders & Guides

Using Secondary Sources

  • Basic Sources
  • Country-Specific Sources
  • Periodical Sources

Locating Primary Sources

  • Legislation
  • Case Law

Lexis & Westlaw

On the Web


  • Citation Manuals

Finding Translations



This guide is intended to assist researchers who have little or no experience in researching the law of foreign jurisdictions.  The guide offers a brief introduction to foreign law and relevant key sources. 

It does not contain a comprehensive list of sources, nor does it offer sophisticated techniques for the advanced researcher of foreign law.

Foreign Law: Definitions

Foreign law may generally be defined as the law of jurisdictions outside the United States.  Comparative law, on the other hand, is a study of the similarities and differences in two or more legal systems. Major legal systems in the world include common law, civil law and religious law.  No modern legal system is a “pure” representation of any type of system; all jurisdictions today represent mixed systems, to some extent.  For more information see

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University of Michigan Law Libary