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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.

Foreign Case Law by Jurisdiction

Listed below are electronic resources that provide access to foreign case law from a single jurisdiction.  Many are free databases maintained by legal information institutes and other non-profit entities dedicated to providing open access to legal information in their respective jurisdictions.  Others are maintained by foreign governments.

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 case law databases available to academic users of Lexis and Westlaw.  Note that not all of the foreign case law databases offered by Lexis and Westlaw are included in the Law Library's academic subscriptions.

Australia Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)
AustLII provides free online access to Australian case law from commonwealth (federal), state, and territorial courts.  Begin by clicking on "Cases and Legislation" in the red menu bar.  After the page refreshes, select the desired jurisdiction.  (Cth = commonwealth (federal) materials.)  Then select "Case Law" as the content type.  Click on the name of a court to browse.  Or use the search box in the upper right corner.  Consult the User Guide for additional information.

All Australian Cases
Lexis's coverage of Australian case law includes separate databases of reported decisions issued by commonwealth (federal), state, and territorial courts, as well as some unreported decisions.  Topical compilations of case law also are available.  Dates of coverage vary.

Australia Cases
Westlaw's coverage of Australian case law includes federal and some state judgments published in commercial law reports; unreported judgments issued by commonwealth (federal), state, and territorial courts; and some topical compilations of Australian case law.  Dates of coverage vary.
Canada Canadian Legal Information Instutite (CanLII)
CanLII provides free online access to federal, provincial, and territorial case law, as well as decisions issued by many federal and provincial boards and tribunals.  Use the search boxes at the top of the homepage to search for case law across all Canadian jurisdictions.  Alternatively, you may select a jurisdiction from the menu below the search boxes to browse or search for case law from a specific jurisdiction.

All Canada Cases
Lexis maintains separate databases of judgments issued by different types of federal courts and by courts in each of Canada's provinces.  By default, searches are run across all case law databases .  To limit searches to a particular database or group of databases, choose the "select sources to search" option below the search box.  Dates of coverage vary by database.

Canada Cases & Decisions
Westlaw's coverage of Canadian case law includes separate databases of judmgments issued by different types of federal courts and by courts in each Canadian province and territory.  More than two dozen topical compilations of case law also are available.  Dates of coverage vary by database.
China (People's Republic of) LawInfoChina
This subscription database provides full-text English translations or English language summaries more than 2,000 judicial decisions issued by national, provincial, and municipal courts.  Translations are displayed side-by-side next to the original Chinese text.  Begin by selecting "Judicial Cases" from the menu below the search box.  After the page refreshes, use the filters on the left side of the screen to browse.  Or search by keyword. 
France Légifrance
For those able to read French, decisions issued by the Constitutional Court (Conseil Constitutionnel), the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation), and the Supreme Administrative Court (Conseil d'Etat) are available on this free platform, maintained by the French government.  To access the search forms, select the type of case from the links below the "Jurisprudence" heading in the center of the homepage.

Foreign Law Translations
The Institute for Transnational Law at the University of Texas maintains this free resource, which includes English translations of selected decisions issued by high-level French courts in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, contract law, and tort law. 
Germany German Law Archive
This free resource, hosted by Oxford University, provides English translations of selected judgments issued by the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), and the Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht).  A few judgments issued by higher regional courts also are included.

Foreign Law Translations
The Institute for Transnational Law at the University of Texas maintains this free resource, which includes English translations of selected decisions issued by high-level German courts in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, contract law, tort law, and restitution law.
Hong Kong Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII)
HKLII provides free online access to appellate case law, as well as decisions issued by the Court of First Instance and several specialized tribunals.  To browse for cases by party name and by date of decision, use the menu on the left side of the homepage to select the appropriate court.  Use the Advanced Search template to retrieve a known case by citation and for greater precision when searching by keyword.

Hong Kong Case Law
Lexis provides access to judgments published in the Hong Kong Cases series of law reports (1947-present) and in the Hong Kong Public Law Reports series (2006-2015).  A selection of unreported judgments also is available.  Select "All Hong Kong Case Law" to search across all available cases.

Hong Kong Cases
Westlaw's coverage includes the full texts (1905-present) and summaries (1985-present) of judgments published in The Hong Kong Law Reports & Digest;  the full texts of judgments issued by the Court of Final Appeal for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1997-present); and summaries of selected unreported cases (1999-present).  Some topical compilations of case law also are available. 
India SCC Online
This subscription database includes case law from both federal and state courts, as well as legislation, regulations, and secondary sources.  Multiple search options are supported.  It is also possible to retrieve cases by citation and by party name.  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.
Ireland British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)
BAILII provides free online access to judgments of the Supreme Court of Ireland, the Court of Appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal, and the High Court.  The search template supports both keyword and Boolean searching.  To limit searches to Irish courts, scroll down and check the appropriate boxes.  It is also possible to retrieve cases by citation and by party name and to browse Irish cases by court.

All Ireland Cases
Lexis provides online access to decisions of the Supreme Court of Ireland, the Court of Appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal, and the High Court published in The Irish Reports, Ireland's official case law reporter.  Lexis also maintains separate databases of unreported Irish cases and digests of unreported cases.
Israel Israel Law Reports
This HeinOnline database provides online access to English translations of selected judgments of the Supreme Court of Israel, as published in the Israel Law Reports (title varies).  The coverage is from 1948 to 2010, at which point the print reporter ceased publication.  For English translations of more recent cases, consult the VERSA database, which is described below.

VERSA
This free resource, hosted by the Cardozo School of Law, provides online access to more than 300 full-text English translations of judgments issued by the Supreme Court of Israel.  Coverage is selective, not comprehensive, and covers the period from 1948-present.
Japan Supreme Court of Japan
Selected judgments issued by the Supreme Court are available in English translation from this searchable database, which is maintained by the court.  Decisions may be searched by keyword, by case number, and by date of judgment.  Translations are unofficial. 
Kenya Kenya Law Online
This free resource, which includes both case law and statutory law, is provided by the National Council for Law Reporting.  To search for case law by keyword, use the default Google Custom Search.  To retrieve a known case by party name, case number, date or other criteria, use the Advanced Search.  Consult the Help page for additional guidance.
Malaysia Malayan Law Journal
Lexis provides online access to reported judgments of the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Malaysian High Court published in the Malayan Law Journal.  Each judgment includes headnotes and other editorial enhancements.  Coverage is from 1932-present. 

Malayan Law Journal Unreporteds
Lexis also provides online access to this supplemental database of unreported judgments issued by the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal,  and the Malaysian High Court.  No headnotes are provided.
Mexico Mexico - Primary Law
Academic subscribers to Lexis may access case law from the Supreme Court of Mexico.  The content is only available in Spanish.
New Zealand New Zealand Legal Information Institute (NZLII)
NZLII provides free online access to decisions of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court, as well as many magistrate courts and specialized tribunals.  To retrieve a known case by party name and year, use the Browsing Menu and begin by selecting the relevant court or tribunal.  To search by keyword, use the Advanced Search and select "All Case Law Databases" to limit the search to case law.

All New Zealand Cases
Lexis provides online access to decisions of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court published in The New Zealand Law Reports, the official reporter for New Zealand case law.  Several topical compilations of case law also are available.  Dates of coverage vary.
Singapore Singapore Law Reports Online
The JUSTIS legal research platform provides online access to this reporter series, which selectively publishes decisions issued by the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and the Constitutional Tribunal of Singapore.  Coverage is from 1965-present.  When searching, be sure to enter the acronym SLR into the "series" box within the search form to limit your search to cases published in the the Singapore Law Reports.
South Africa JUTA Law
This subscription database includes both federal and provincial case law.  Use the menu to the left of the search box to select a search form.  To retrieve a known case by citation, select "Law Reports Search."   To browse case law digests (summaries) and unreported judgments, click on the folder-shaped icons displayed below the search menu on the left side of the screen.  Note that not all cases for which summaries are provided are available in full text and that some decisions are published in Afrikaans, not English.

Butterworth's South African Constitutional Law Reports
Lexis provides online access to this reporter, which selectively publishes judicial decisions that interpret South Africa's post-apartheid constitution.  Most decisions are in English, but some are in Afrikaans.  The reporter also publishes key constitutional law decisions from neighboring countries, including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.
South Korea (Republic of Korea) Korea Cases
This Westlaw database includes English translations of decisions issued by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of South Korea, as well as selected decisions from intermediate appellate courts.  Coverage is from 2000-present.
Uganda Uganda Online Law Library
The case law component of the subscription database includes judgments of Ugandan Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court.  Note:  To access the database, members of the Georgetown Law community must log in with the shared user name and password provided via the link in the catalog record.  After logging in, click on the "Judgments" tab and then select the desired content from the menu. 
United Kingdom ICLR Online
This subscription database provides access to all cases published in the quasi-official reporters known as The Law Reports (1865-present) and The Weekly Law Reports (1953-present), as well as cases published in several topical reporters.  Select the Full Search option to retrieve a known case by citation or by party name or to limit searches to a particular court, judge or date range.  The database also includes a citator to help you determine if a case is still good law.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)
BAILII provides free online access to judgments of the Supreme Court and other UK-wide tribunals, decisions of courts in the UK's component nations (England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), as well as case law from the Republic of Ireland.  The search template supports both keyword and Boolean searching.  Scroll down and check the appropriate boxes to limit searches to specific courts or to specify a date range.  It is also possible to search for known cases by citation and by party name.

United Kingdom Case Law
Lexis provides access to a wide range of UK case law in multiple, often overlapping databases.  The most inclusive database is UK Cases Combined.  There are separate databases for cases from England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom Cases
Westlaw's UK Case Law Database includes cases published in dozens of subject-specific case reporters (dates of coverage vary) and for historical cases published in The English Reports (covering the period from 1220 to 1865). Westlaw also has a UK case law citator that will help you to determine if a particular case is still good law.