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LAW Foreign Cases and Decisions

This guide is intended to help researchers locate the cases and decisions of foreign jurisdictions.

Accessing the law of the United States

Federal courts and 49 states use the legal system based on English common law which has diverged somewhat since the mid-nineteenth century in that they look to each other's cases for guidance on issues of first impression and rarely, if ever, look at contemporary cases on the same issue in the UK or the Commonwealth.

State law in the U.S. state of Louisiana is based upon French and Spanish civil law.

Here is a map of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court system from the United States Courts website. This can help you determine from which circuit court a case was decided.

Image of the geographic boundaries of United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts

For more information on the Unites States courts system see the US Courts website.

Electronic Sources for Cases

Some U.S. cases can be found for free, on open-access websites on the Internet.

SCOTUS audio files