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Law Research Guide: Foreign Constitutions & Law

Recommended Databases

Law Review Articles

What Which database
Search for and get fulltext of law review articles.
  • Westlaw *
  • Nexis Uni
  • HeinOnline > Law Journal Library *
  • HeinOnline > Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals *
* good coverage of foreign law review journal articles
Links on Guide > Home.
Search for law review articles for highly relevant results without getting overwhelmed with results.
  • Index to Legal Periodicals
Links on Guide > Home.
Do a citation search to find law review articles that cite a particular case.
  • Westlaw
Links on Guide > Home.
Search for and get full text of articles in International Journal of Constitutional Law (2003-present). Use Library Home Page > Journals & Newspapers > International Journal of Constitutional Law > Oxford Journals [...]

Court Opinions

What Which database
Search for and get fulltext of U.S. cases.
  • Westlaw
  • Nexis Uni
Links on Guide > Home.
Search for and get full text of foreign/international cases. (Not easy for some countries!)
  • Westlaw (Australia, Austria, Barbados, Canada, Cayman Islands, European Union, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia (former)).
  • World Legal Information Institute
  • Nexis Uni (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Kingdom)
  • Etc. See Barbara!
Links on Guide > Home and this tab.

Key Law Review Journals

International Journal of Constitutional Law. (Use Journals A-Z to access it.)

Find Books on Foreign Constitutional Law

Try a search like the following in CBBcat, substituting the name of the country of interest.

d:(germany) AND d:("constitutional law")

d:("south africa") AND d:("constitutional law")

Introductions to and Overviews of Foreign Legal Systems

Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia, via HeinOnline. A "compilation of the various legal systems of the world". Over 100 jurisdictions.
Browse all volumes, geographically arranged.
Alternatively, start with the Country Index to find the volume and section devoted to the country of interest, then browse as just above.

Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems.

The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law

The I·CONnect-Clough Center 2017 Global Review of Constitutional Law, Richard Albert, David Landau, Pietro Faraguna, Šimon Drugda. Over 50 jurisdictions.

Guides to Foreign Law

Guides by country

Nations of the World (Guide to Law Online), Law Library of Congress. Best Bet

GlobaLex, Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law Best Bet

Country Research Guide, Yale. Best Bet

Foreign and International Law Gateways, Harvard Law School Library Best Bet

The bluebook : a uniform system of citation
Main Ref Desk KF245 .B58 20th 2015
The section on "Foreign Jurisdictions" (T2) includes internet sources for each country treated.

A Selective List of Guides to Foreign Legal Research, Columbia University, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library.

Foreign Law by Jurisdiction, New York University School of Law.

National Law Material, Legal Information Institute (LII), Cornell University Law School. "The LII collection of world legal materials gathers, country by country, continent by continent, the Internet-accessible sources of the constitutions, statutes, judicial opinions, and related legal material from around the globe (excluding the U.S. material held in the LII's other collections). It also holds resources and document collections of International law."

Foreign and Comparative Law Research Guide, Georgetown University Law Library.

Foreign Law, Boston University Law Libraries.

European Union Law

The ABC of EU law, European Commission

A Guide to Researching EU Law, Law Library of Congress

Sources and scope of European Union law, European Parliament

Legislative powers, European Parliament

Handbook on the ordinary legislative procedure: a guide to how the European Parliament co-legislates, European Parliament, "covers all the key steps inside Parliament and includes updated guidance on inter-institutional legislative negotiations and Parliament's Rules of Procedure"

How to find Council documents, European Council

Subject Guides

Foreign Law – Subject Law Collections on the Web, Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law.

Start here to find foreign court opinions or laws

Foreign law is the law of another country. According to Georgetown Law Library, "foreign case law is more challenging to locate and English translations are more elusive". Be aware that a translation of a foreign court decision or law may not be official.

  1. Begin with these resources (if your jurisdiction is included).
    • Westlaw. Choose: All Content > International Materials. Jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, European Union, Hong Kong, Korea, United Kingdom. Best Bet
    • Nexis Uni. Choose: Advanced Search > Legal > Cases. Jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Kingdom. Best Bet
  2. This is a good source for countries around the world.
  3. If you need a translation, try these resources.
    • The journal International Legal Materials provides translations of a very few selected materials.
    • Foreign Law Translations, Texas Law, The University of Texas at Austin. "This site is a resource for French, German, Austrian and Israeli legal materials in the fields of constitutional, administrative, contract and tort law. The English translations of decisions from Germany and France include cases from the Reichsgericht, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, the Bundesgerichtshof, the Conseil Constitutionnel, the Conseil d’Etat and the Cour de Cassation."
  4. Look on the court's website. (Nations of the World can help you find the website.)
  5. Google search.
  6. Look in law review articles for an English translation or a summary.
  7. Look in book-length compilations of cases. Try keyword searching CBBcat:
    d:(COUNTRY) AND d:(cases)
    or subject searching WorldCat:
    COUNTRY AND cases
  8. Use one of the "Guides by Country" in the "Guides to Foreign Law" box to find other sources.

Ask us for assistance at any time!

Otherwise, use one of the guides in the "Guides to Foreign Law" box to find other sources of foreign law.


(For more tips, see How to Find Cases in English Translation, Revisited and From the Reference Desk: “But I Want it in English!”. For background, see "Foreign law in translation: problems and sources" in Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems, chapter 14, pp. 267-326, via HeinOnline.)

Find Foreign Constitutions

World Constitutions Illustrated via HeinOnlineBest Bet
Includes "the current constitution for every country in its original language format and an English translation, as well as substantial constitutional histories for countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and many more."

Constitutions of the World (online, 2008)
Bowdoin Main Ref K3157.E5 M33 1995 (print)
a summary of some of the important provisions in the constitutions.

Nations of the World (Guide to Law Online), Law Library of Congress.

Constitute Project
developed by the authors of the Comparative Constitutions Project at the University of Texas at Austin

Constitution Finder, University of Richmond School of Law. Note: this database was not available in July 2021.

International Constitutional Law (ICL), Universität Bern Institut für Öffentliches Recht - "English translations of and other textual material related to constitutional documents. It cross-references those documents for quick comparison of constitutional provisions."

WIPO Lex, World Intellectual Property Organization - "national laws and treaties on intellectual property (IP) of WIPO, WTO and UN Members", including their constitutions

ConstitutionNet, joint initiative of International IDEA and Interpeace

United Nations Public Administration Network - Search on: [NAME OF COUNTRY] constitution then choose the Documents tab

World Legal Information Institute

Constitutions / Constituciones Políticas, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Center for Latin American Studies - constitutions of Western Hemisphere countries

Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project, University of Oklahoma Law Center and the National Indian Law Library

U.K. Law

U.K. Statutes, major sources

Title Years Format Location Notes
The statutes of the realm 1235-1713 Print and online Main Libr oversize folio DA25 .B11
Main Libr oversize folio DA25 .B11 Index
Main Libr oversize folio DA25 .B11 Index 1828

Online: HathiTrust
The standard source for the given time period.
v. 1. 1235-1377
v. 2. 1377-1504
v. 3. 1509-1545
v. 4, pt. 1. 1547-1585
v. 4, pt. 2. 1586-1624
v. 5. 1625-1680
v. 6. 1685-1694
v. 7. 1695-1701
v. 8. 1702-1707
v. 9:pt.1-2. 1708-1713
[v. 10]. Alphabetical index
[v. 11.] Chronological index
The statutes, from the twentieth year of King Henry the Third to the [tenth chapter of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth years of King George the Sixth] A. D. 1235-[1948. [Spine title: The Statutes Revised] 1235-1948 Print Annex Main KD 132 Statutes in force as of 1947.
Some volumes are available in HathiTrust or Google Books.
Bills and Acts 1695-2004 Online U.K. Parliamentary Papers
The statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801-1832 Print and online Annex Main KD 129 1804

Online: Vols. 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11; Vol. 2; Vol. 3; Vol. 7; Vol. 8; Vol. 10; Vol. 11; Vol. 12.
 
Public general acts, 1801-1922 1801-1922 Microfiche Bowdoin Main Micro Fiche 1150
Bowdoin Main Micro Index KD125 1801 pt.1 guide
Bowdoin Main Micro Index KD125 1801 pt.2 guide
 
UK Public General Acts partial: 1801-1987
complete: 1988-present
Online UK Public General Acts  
The Public general acts 1943-1987 Print Annex Main KD 125  
United Kingdom Legislation: Statutes current Online Westlaw > International Materials > United Kingdom > Statutes Statutes currently in effect in the UK with coverage beginning with 1267.
UK Parliament Acts current Online Nexis Uni > Advanced Search > Legal > Statutes and Legislation > United Kingdom Legislation "Full, amended text of all public general Acts that are currently in force," from 1266.

U.K. Law (continued)

World Legal Information Institute. "820 databases from 123 countries and territories via the Free Access to Law Movement."

Parliamentary Archives online, U.K. Parliament

Index to the statutes in force: covering the legislation to December 31, 1948
Main Libr KD142.4 .I5 1950

Chronological table of the statutes: covering the legislation to December 31, 1950
Main Libr KD142.3 .C5 1951

Guides

Legislation, UK Parliament

Guide to Law Online: United Kingdom, Library of Congress

Tracing Acts of Parliament

How are laws made?

Passage of a Bill

A history of English law, by W. S. Holdsworth
Main Libr KD532 .H64 1922

Guide to the records of Parliament
Main Libr CD1063 .B63

For More Information

Consult our research guide on British History for information about how to access Debates and the Parliamentary Papers.

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