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Foreign, Comparative, and International Law: Comparative Law

Comparative Law

Comparative law is not an actual body of law (like foreign law or international law), but the academic study of different jurisdictions' legal systems.

To compare and contrast, the first step is defining and understanding each jurisdiction's legal system. The Foreign Law page of this guide provides guidance to learning about individual nations' and states' legal systems. The Legal Systems page includes additional guidance to understand the variety of legal systems--another essential aspect of the comparative law process.

Comparative Law Sans Compare

Despite its name, comparative law may not involve any outright comparison. An exercise in comparative law may simply be a deep dive into the legal tradition of a particular jurisdiction, often limited to a specific area (e.g. dispute resolution in Bhutan, criminal justice in Italy, tort liability in Sweden).

Comparative Law Tools

Multinational Sources Compared (Topical Index)

Use this HeinOnline database to identify secondary sources that compare the laws governing a particular subject in multiple jurisdictions. For each secondary source, a description of the content is provided, along with a list of jurisdictions covered. Search for a topic by keyword or browse alphabetically by subject or jurisdiction.   

Once you find a relevant source, search for it by title in the Law Library's catalog. If it isn't in the collection, request it through Interlibrary Loan.

International Encyclopedia of Laws Online (Ebook Database)

IEL Online covers more than two dozen subjects. Each IEL manual includes multiple jurisdiction-specific treatises (national monographs), which provide detailed summaries of the laws governing a particular subject in that jurisdiction, along with citations to primary sources. Each treatise follows a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws across multiple jurisdictions. 

A green flag next to a subject manual means you have access through the MLaw Library subscription. Jurisdictional coverage varies, with most subject manuals covering between 25 and 75 jurisdictions.

Getting the Deal Through (Ebook Series)

Getting the Deal Through is an electronically published book series that provides detailed, practitioner-written summaries of the national laws that govern dozens of practice areas. Generally, the practice areas focus on commercial law and regulatory compliance.

Each book begins with a Global Overview, followed by articles for each covered jurisdiction, presented in a user-friendly question-and-answer format.

Treatise Finder

Find introductory and in-depth resources on comparative law in the Library through Treatise Finder.

Related Books in Catalog