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Georgetown Law Library

Foreign and Comparative Law Research Guide

Foreign law is the national (also referred to as domestic or internal) law of any country other than the United States and research methods will vary depending on the country you are researching. This guide provides starting points.

Single Jurisdiction Resources

The electronic resources listed below provide access to codes, legislation, and regulations from a single jurisdiction.  Some of them are free databases maintained by a national legislature or a government ministry.  For non-English speaking jurisdictions, only those free resources that offer at least some content in English translation have been included.  

For links to government websites offering open access to legal information in the language of the jurisdiction, consult The Foreign Law Guide, the Law Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online, GlobaLex, and the World Legal Information Institute

Also included are subscription legal research platforms provided by the Georgetown Law Library that focus on jurisdictions outside the U.S. and jurisdiction-specific foreign legislation databases available to academic users of Lexis and Westlaw.  Note that not all of the foreign legislation databases offered by Lexis and Westlaw are included in the Law Library's academic subscriptions. 

Australia Federal Register of Legislation
This database, maintained by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, provides free access to current federal statutes (acts in force) and regulations (legislative instruments in force), as well as pending legislation (bills as introduced). Visit the Information page to learn more about legislation in Australia and to access tips on searching the database, as well as a glossary of legislative terminology.
Barbados Barbados Law & Regulations
This Westlaw database of laws and regulations currently in force is limited to commercial and tax law.
Canada Justice Laws
This database, maintained by Canada's Department of Justice, provides free access to current federal statutes (consolidated acts), federal session laws (annual statutes), and current federal regulations (consolidated regulations).  The texts of consolidated acts and regulations incorporate all amendments and revisions made subsequent to their original enactment.  For additional guidance, consult the FAQs page, the Search Help page, and the glossary of legislative terminology.

Canada Legislation & Regulations
Lexis provides academic users with access to legislation and regulations currently in force at the federal level and in selected Canadian provinces.

Canada Legislation
Academic users of Westlaw may access a database of legislation currently in force at the federal level, as well as separate databases of current legislation for each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories. 
China (People's Republic of) China Law & Practice
This subscription database provides access to full-text English translations of selected laws and regulations, along with practitioner-oriented news and commentary about current developments in Chinese law.  Translations are displayed side-by-side next to the original Chinese text.

China Law Database
This Lexis database includes English translations of more than 3,000 laws and regulations prepared by the editors of LexisNexis China Online and is regularly updated.  Coverage focuses primarily on laws governing business enterprises, commercial and financial transactions, real property, intellectual property, insurance, customs, foreign trade, and foreign investment.

LawInfoChina

This subscription database provides full-text English translations of more than 1,000 primary laws and nearly 2,000 administrative regulations, supplemented by thousands of provisions, administrative measures, circulars, opinions, notices, and announcements.  Many provincial and municipal regulations also are included.  Translations are displayed side-by-side next to the original Chinese text.  The Chinese language version of the database, known as ChinaLawInfo, has an even larger collection of un-translated legal texts.
France Légifrance
This free database, maintained by the French government, is the official public access point for legislation, regulations, and case law.  Although the interface and most of the substantive content are in French, English translations of selected codes, statutes, regulations, and constitutional texts also are available.

Westlaw
Academic subscribers to Westlaw may access English translations of the French Code of Civil Procedure and the French Commercial Code.
Germany Gesetze im Internet
This free database, jointly maintained by the federal Ministry of Justice and a commercial publisher, includes all federal codes, statutes, and ordinances currently in force.  Although the interface and most of the substantive content are in German, English translations of selected codes and statutes also are available.

German Law Archive
This free resource, hosted by Oxford University, provides English translations of selected German codes and statutes on a variety of civil, public, and criminal law subjects.

Business Laws of Germany
This Westlaw resource provides English summaries of German business laws, along with citations to primary sources.  Topics covered include contracts, company law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate taxation, insolvency, competition law (antitrust), patents, employment, and labor law, among others.  Last updated in 2012.
Hong Kong Laws of Hong Kong
The Lexis database includes full-text English translations of selected legislation prepared by the Bilingual Laws Information Service (BLIS) of the Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The translations are regularly updated to reflect subsequent amendments and revisions as they are published in Hong Kong's official gazette.

Hong Kong Legislation
This Westlaw database includes English translations of ordinances, subsidiary legislation, and selected constitutional texts currently in force within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  It also includes newly enacted legislation not yet in force.
India SCC Online
This subscription database includes acts, statutes, ordinances, rules, and regulations enacted at both the federal (central) and state levels, as well as case law and seconeary sources.  Note:  First time users must register and create and account using a GULC email address.  Returning users should enter a GULC email address to log in.  No password is required.

Corporate Counsel's Guide to Doing Business in India
This Westlaw resource provides summarizes of laws governing a wide variety of business-related topics ranging from banking trademarks. Citations to primary law also are provided.  Last updated in 2017.
Ireland Electronic Irish Statute Book
This free database, maintained by the Office of the Attorney General, includes acts of the Orieachtas (Ireland's bicameral national legislature), regulations (statutory instruments), and the text of Ireland's constitution.  Consult the FAQs page for background information and search tips.
Japan Japanese Law Translation
This free database, maintained by the Ministry of Justice, includes English translations of Japanese laws on a wide variety of subjects, as well as a Japanese-English dictionary of legal terms.  Coverage includes laws currently in force and some that have been repealed.  
Kenya Laws of Kenya
This free database, provided by the National Council for Law Reporting, includes both statutes (acts of Parliament) and regulations (subsidiary legislation).  Browse the table of contents by subject or search by keyword.  Consult the FAQs page for additional guidance.
Kuwait & Qatar Business Laws of Kuwait & Qatar
This Westlaw resource provides English summaries of business laws for both jurisdictions, along with citations to primary sources.  Topics covered include banking, capital markets, corporate formation, dispute resolution, insolvency, intellectual property, and employment, among others.  Last updated in 2014.
Lebanon Business Laws of Lebanon
This Westlaw resource provides English summaries of commercial laws, including business entities, construction, employment, financial institutions, foreign investment, insolvency, real estate, and taxation, among others.  Citations to primary sources also are provided.  Last updated in 2014.
Malaysia Statutes of Malaysia
This Lexis database includes English translations of the most important federal laws of Malaysia, as published in the Federation of Malaya Government Gazette.
Mexico Mexico - Primary Law
Academic subscribers to Lexis may access Mexico's official gazette (
Diario Oficial de la Federación), which publishes new federal laws and regulations chronologically as enacted.  The content is only available in Spanish.
New Zealand New Zealand Legislation
This database, maintained by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, provides free access to current and prior versions of statutes (acts) and regulations (legislative instruments), as well as pending legislation (bills).  Detailed instructions on how to search and browse the database are provided, as is a glossary of legislative terminology.  
Russia Russian Legislation & Regulations
Lexis's coverage of Russian legislation is limited to English translations of those portions of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation that govern advertising, copyright, patents, and trademarks.  Links to the original Russian texts in PDF format are provided.

Corporate Counsel's Guide to Doing Business in Russia
This Westlaw database includes English summaries of laws governing a wide variety of business-related topics ranging from antitrust to taxation. Citations to primary law also are provided.  Last updated in 2010.
Singapore Singapore Statutes Online
This free database, maintained by the chambers of the Attorney General, provides comprehensive coverage of current and historical statutes (acts of Parliament) and regulations (subsidiary legislation), as well as bills pending before Parliament.  Consult the FAQs page for additional background information and the Online Guide for search tips.
South Africa Butterworth's Statutes of South Africa
Lexis provides electronic access to this annotated compilation of South African federal statutes (acts of Parliament) arranged by subject.

Juta Law
This subscription database includes both federal and provincial legislation, as well as case law.  Use the menu to the left of the search box to limit searches to acts of Parliament ("Acts search"), government gazettes or provincial legislation.  To browse chronologically for legislation, click on "Digest of South African Law" in the upper left side of the homepage.  Then follow this path:  Juta's Digest of South African Law > Legislation Updates > select the year and month.
South Korea (Republic of Korea) Korea Legislation
This Westlaw database includes English translations of selected South Korean legislation provided by the Korean Ministry of Government Legislation.
Switzerland Swiss Federal Council
The Swiss Federal Council, the executive arm of the Swiss Confederation, provides access to full-text English translations of selected federal acts and ordinances.  Browse by subject or search by keyword.  For those able to read German, French or Italian, the following resources provide more comprehensive coverage:  the Official Compilation of Federal Legislation, the Compilation of Federal Legislation Classified by Subject, and the Official Federal Gazette.
Taiwan (Republic of China) Law & Regulations of the Republic of China
This database, maintained by the Ministry of Justice, provides free access to hundreds of primary laws (acts) and secondary regulations in English translation.  All legislative and regulatory texts are provided in their current (consolidated) versions, which incorporate any amendments and revisions made subsequent to their original enactment.
Uganda Uganda Online Law Library
This subscription database includes a collection of consolidated statutes (acts of Parliament) and separate collection of consolidated regulations (statutory instruments).  Both collections were published in 2000 and are arranged by subject.  The database also includes acts of Parliament and statutory instruments enacted since 2000 arranged by year.  Note: 
To access the database, members of the Georgetown Law community must log in using the shared user name and password that are available via the link embedded within the library catalog record.
United Arab Emirates Business Laws of the UAE
This Westlaw resource provides English summaries of laws governing business entities, bankruptcy, financial institutions, employment, insurance, real estate, and oil and gas law, among other topics.  Citations to primary law also are included.  Last updated in 2013.
United Kingdom Legislation.gov.uk
This database, maintained by the UK's National Archives, provides free access to primary legislation (acts of Parliament) and secondary legislation (statutory instruments, orders of council, and orders in council) for the UK as a whole and for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  It also includes bills currently pending before Parliament.  Consult the User Guide for background information and search tips.  A glossary of legislative terminology also is available.

UK Legislation Sources
Lexis maintains separate databases of current statutes and statutory instruments in effect in England and Wales (and in the UK as whole) and in Scotland.  It also has databases for statutes and statutory instruments related to taxation and for legislation from the Isle of Man, a self-governing UK territory.

UK Law in Force
This Westlaw database includes current statutes and statutory instruments in effect for the UK as a whole.  It also includes the procedural rules of the Supreme Court of the UK and of many lower courts.

Scots Law in Force
This Westlaw database covers all primary and secondary legislation currently in force in Scotland, including acts of the devolved Scottish Parliament and acts of the UK Parliament that are applicable to Scotland.
Vietnam Vietnam Laws Online
This subscription database includes English translations of more than 3,000 laws, ordinances, and decrees covering a wide range of subjects, with an emphasis on laws governing business entities, commerce, labor, foreign investment, and trade.  Browse by subject, by date or by issuing body.  Or search by keyword.  Note: 
To access the database, members of the Georgetown Law community must log in using the shared user name and password that are available via the link embedded within the library catalog record.