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Foreign, Comparative, and International Law: Major Resources

Getting Started with FCIL Research

Whether you are interested in a particular jurisdiction, comparing multiple jurisdictions, considering public international law, or determining controlling law, you can usually kick off FCIL research with a handful of major resources.

Helpful E-Resources

FCIL Law Journals

What About Westlaw and Lexis?

Westlaw and Lexis

The major commercial databases, Westlaw and Lexis, are geared toward U.S. federal and state law, so you may want to resist the inclination to rely on these providers for foreign and international law research.

These databases may be a source of relevant secondary materials, including law journals, treatises, and news, but are not a reliable source of primary law.

FCIL Research Strategy

Before doing anything else, you must spend time becoming familiar with the legal system of the country, especially if this is a jurisdiction you have not researched before. This will help you understand the structure of the primary law, which is an absolute necessity before you begin research.  Without this understanding, you will be "flying blind," and you cannot hope to accomplish efficient or effective research.

It will also allow you to gain some knowledge of major publications of primary and secondary legal resources of your research jurisdiction, which will then help you set parameters and scope of your research at the very beginning. You may expand or narrow your research scope as you further your research later on.

As with all legal research, starting with secondary sources is a sure bet in FCIL situations--especially when primary sources are in an unfamiliar language!

In the Library

Find Print Resources with Advanced Search

To find legal resources about a particular country in the Law Library's print collection, conduct a Subject search in the Catalog for "Law country"

  • For example, type "Law France" into the subject search to bring up all the materials in the collection tagged with the subject heading Law -- France, as well as related subject headings (e.g.,  Law -- France -- Bibliography and  Law -- France -- Dictionaries).

Find Electronic Resources on the E-Resources Page

Relevant e-resources are collected into lists by Category, Subject, and Jurisdiction for easy browsing.

  • Under Jurisdictions, select from a list of U.S. States, Foreign Countries, and Global Sites (e.g., Asia, Middle East).
  • Under Subjects, select from topics like Comparative Law, International Law, and Human Rights.

HeinOnline

HeinOnline provides a variety of both secondary and primary resources for FCIL research. 

Hein's Foreign & International Law Resources Database includes the publications of the American Society of International Law along with prominent Yearbooks from around the world, including the Hague Permanent Court of International Justice series. It also includes U.S. Law Digests, International Tribunals/Judicial Decisions and more. 

The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals indexes articles and book reviews from more than 500 legal periodicals. Topics indexed include international law (public and private), comparative law, and municipal law of countries other than the United States, British Isles, and British Commonwealth. The MLaw Library attempts to provide access to each title represented in the IFLP.

The World Treaty Library is a collection of treaties of the world bringing together Rohn, Dumont, Bevans, Martens, League of Nations, United Nations, and U.S. treaties from 1648 to the present in one fully searchable database. Also includes hundreds of related treaty publications and scholarly articles.

CALI

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) contains interactive computer-based tutorials on various legal subjects. MLaw students and faculty may register for access to these tutorials. 

Lessons relevant to FCIL research include International Law, Intro to Foreign Legal Research, Private International Law Research, Supranational Organizations: the European Union, and Intro to Human Rights Research.

Related Books in Catalog