LAW Foreign Cases and Decisions
Foreign Cases and Decisions
Foreign law is the domestic, national or internal law of a country or jurisdiction. A case is a decision made by a court or board or tribunal.
This guide is intended to help researchers locate the cases and decisions of foreign jurisdictions. The tabs found above will open pages that have links to some relevant key sources. Legal databases may be restricted to University of Calgary users or to Faculty of Law users. It does not include international law. If that is your topic, there is an International Law guide you may wish to use in your research.
Countries are considered either common law or civil law jurisdictions. Common law countries are largely part of the Commonwealth or formerly part of the British Empire. In civil law countries, released cases are made available by courts, boards, and tribunals.
All countries release cases that are often published in case reports or reporters and may be available in print or electronically. Reporters fit into three categories: official, unofficial general or unofficial topical. Judgements are published directly by the court or tribunal from where the decision was made. Cases may also be found in journals or legal newspapers.
You may be able to find foreign reporters in print on the 1st floor of the Bennett Jones Law Library.
Generally, the steps are the same as for Canadian legal research:
- Start with secondary sources which include encyclopedias, books and journal articles. They provide an overview of the law and background information and give references (citations) to relevant legislation.
- Use the library search box on library page to locate books. Search under "subject" with terms "law" and the country's name.
- Continue with primary materials including legislation, regulations and cases.
- Ensure the law is current.
Availability of Foreign Materials
- Many countries put their statutes on the Internet free of charge. Some governments may provide websites with bills, statutes and regulations.
- The amount available will depend on the country.
- Not everything is on the Internet.
- Not everything is written in English. Translations may not be official.
Conducting Foreign Legal Research
Look at research guides for a specific country to determine what information is available. The Foreign Law Guide is a database that describes legal systems and references sources of law. It may also provide information about English translations. Look for a LII (Legal Information Institute) website, or something similar, for that particular country. the most general is WorldLII.
- Foreign Law Guide This link opens in a new windowForeign Law Guide (FLG) is an essential database offering relevant information on sources of foreign law, including complete bibliographic citations to legislation, the existence of English translations and selected references to secondary sources in one virtual destination. Broad in content and global in scope, the FLG is an indispensable resource for comparative law research and a fundamental tool for developing a foreign and comparative law collection. Approximately 190 jurisdictions are systemically covered and updated by a global team of experts.
- World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)Free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law
How to find Country Information
Information about countries and regions may be found in a number of resources. The How to Find Country Information guide will provide an overview of the resources that are available at the University of Calgary Library. The guide provides tips on how to use the various Discovery Tools available as well a selection of websites.
Selected Secondary Sources for Foreign Law
Published (reported) cases may be located by topic, case name or citation. Citations may be found in books or articles. Reported cases can be located on legal databases using their citation
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is available on the database HeinOnline. If a journal is there, it may be available in full text.
- Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals This link opens in a new windowThe Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, produced by The American Association of Law Libraries, provides access to legal literature worldwide, covering all forms of foreign (non-Anglo-American) law. This includes comparative law and legal systems, such as Islamic law; socialist law; public and private international law; and transnational commercial law. The data is not limited by country of publication, but rather type of publication. Thus, while publications concerning British and American law are not included, British and American publications concerning foreign law are included. Coverage begins with 1985, digitized version of print edition available back to 1960.
Here are a selection of books related to foreign legal research.
- Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier by Jeanne Rehberg (Editor); Radu D. Popa (Editor); Victor Essien (Contribution by); Jolande E. Goldberg (Contribution by); Marion Russ (Contribution by); Marilyn J. Raisch (Contribution by); Thomas H. Reynolds (Contribution by); Mirela Roznovschi (ContributiCall Number: K85 .A37 1998ISBN: 0837710758Publication Date: 1998-01-01Law Library
- International and Foreign Legal Research by Marcy Hoffman; Mary RumseyCall Number: K85 .H64 2012ISBN: 9789004204805Publication Date: 2012-04-19Law Library
- Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems by Richard A. Danner (Editor); Marie L. Bernal (Editor); American Association of Law Libraries StaffCall Number: K583 .I58 1994ISBN: 0379213508Publication Date: 1994-07-01Law Library
- Legal Traditions of the World by H. Patrick GlennCall Number: K559 .G545 2010ISBN: 9780199580804Publication Date: 2010-07-29Law Library
Foreign Law Research Guides
Links to Internet sources useful for background information on legal systems of various countries:
- LLRX.comInternational Law Guides
- JuriGlobe - World Legal Systems Research GroupJuriGlobe is a research group from the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, which focuses on the development of a multilingual information data bank, accessible to all on the internet, containing general information relating to the different legal systems in the world, to the different official languages and to some of the most important international commercial conventions, as well as other multilateral commercial tools.
- Eagle-iInstitute of Advanced Legal Studies
- Foreign Databases/Collections by JurisdictionForeign & International Research NYU Law
- Locating Key Foreign & International Law SourcesUniversity of Houston
- International Legal Research: Useful Databases and WebsitesHarvard Law School Library
- A Selective List of Guides to Foreign Legal ResearchArthur W. Diamond Law Library Research Guides Columbia University Law School
- Cardiff Index to Legal AbbreviationsSearch for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law. A wide selection of major foreign language law publications is also included. Publications from over 295 jurisdictions are featured in the Index.The database mainly covers law reports and law periodicals but some other legal publications are also included. The Index is under continuous development with new abbreviations and titles being added on a regular basis.
- Legal AbbreviationsA free online resource for defining common legal abbreviations, legal terminology & law terms. Discover the meaning of various legal acronyms and legal citation abbreviations used for law enforcement, law reports and legal journals.
- Prince's Bieber Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations by Mary Miles PrinceCall Number: KF246 .B46 2009ISBN: 9780837716251Publication Date: 2009-10-01Law Library
- Prince's Dictionary of Legal Citations by Mary Miles PrinceCall Number: KF245 .B449 2011ISBN: 9780837739106Publication Date: 2011-05-01Law Library
Impact of foreign law on Canadian Law
When dealing with foreign countries in relation to Canadian law, look at their court system to determine how persuasive a case will be in Canadian courts.
- Last Updated: Dec 19, 2022 9:05 AM
- URL: https://libguides.ucalgary.ca/guides/Foreigncases
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