Georgetown Law
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.

Secondary Sources for Comparative Law Research

The column on the right includes a sampling of introductory resources on comparative law theory and practice.  The resources described below will help you to begin comparing the laws governing a particular subject in two or more jurisdictions.

Multinational Sources Compared

Multilateral Sources Compared is a HeinOnline database that you can use to find secondary sources comparing the laws governing a particular subject in multiple jurisdictions.  Browse alphabetically by subject or by jurisdiction.  Or search by keyword.  For each secondary source, a description of the content is provided, along with a list of jurisdictions covered. 

To determine if the Georgetown Law Library owns a secondary source, search for it by title (not by keyword) in the library's online catalog.  If the library doesn't own a copy, you may request it via inter-library loan.

International Encyclopaedia of Laws (IEL) Online

IEL Online covers more than two dozen subjects.  Each IEL manual includes multiple jurisdiction-specific treatises (national monographs), which provide detailed summaries of the laws governing a particular subject in that jurisdiction, along with citations to primary sources.  Each treatise follows a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws across multiple jurisdictions. 

To begin, select a subject manual from the list on the left side of the homepage.  Then, after the page refreshes, select a national monograph for the desired jurisdiction.  Each chapter may be downloaded as a PDF document.

The Georgetown Law Library subscribes to most, but not all, IEL subject manuals.  To determine whether the library subscribes to a subject manual, look for a green flag next to the name.  Note that jurisdictional coverage is selective, not comprehensive, and varies by subject, with most subject manuals covering between 25 and 75 jurisdictions.

Find More Resources on Comparative Law

To locate additional resources on comparative law, search GULLiver, the Georgetown Law Library's online catalog, by keyword or by title.  Or search by subject using one of the following subject headings:

For greater precision, use the Advanced Search template to search for a subject heading in combination with one or more keywords.

Introductory Sources on Comparative Law

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