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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 Subject

The electronic and print resources listed below provide access to case law from multiple jurisdictions on a particular subject or a group of related subjects.  Some are free databases maintained by international organizations or by academic institutions.  Others are subscription databases provided by the Georgetown Law Library. 

Bear in mind that the topical coverage for each resource varies by jurisdiction and is selective, not comprehensive.  Some resources provide links to the full texts of judicial decisions, while others provide only summaries.  Some resources also provide English translations of judgments issued in other languages.

Subject Name & Description of Resource Full Texts of Cases or Summaries? English Translations Provided?
Arbitration (recognition of foreign arbitral awards) New York Convention Case Law Database
This free resource provides access to cases from multiple jurisdictions that apply and interpret the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.  Use the basic search box to search by keyword and filter the results by year, language, jurisdiction, and convention article.  Use the Advanced Search to search by title (caption), docket number, and party name.
Full texts, plus English summaries of most decisions. No.
Business & Commerce (International) CISG Database
Pace Law School maintains this searchable database of cases from multiple jurisdictions that interpret and apply the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).   Note:  First-time users must register and create a free account.  Users must be logged in to download content.  The search template recognizes Boolean operators.  Searches may be limited by jurisdiction and by CISG article number.
More than 10,000 summaries (abstracts) and more than 3,000 full-text decisions. No.
Business & Commerce (International) CLOUT (Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts) Database
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) maintains this searchable database of cases that interpret and apply treaties and model laws drafted by UNCITRAL.  For additional information about the database, consult this Fact Sheet or this more detailed User Guide.
Only summaries (abstracts). No.
Constitutional Law Bulletin on Constitutional Case Law, KJC 444.52 1385
This series, published by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, provides summaries of significant constitutional law judgments issued by courts throughout the world.  Full texts of these decisions, and many English translations thereof, are available online via the CODICES database, which is described below.
Summaries. No.
Constitutional Law CODICES
This free resource provides online access to the full texts of most of the judgments summarized in the Bulletin on Constitutional Case Law, which is described above.  The menu in the upper left-hand corner of the screen offers multiple search options.  To display browsing options, click on the icon in the shape of a folder below the search menu.  Select "Alphabetical Index" to browse alphabetically by subject.  Select "Full Texts" to browse geographically by country.
Full texts.  Summaries also provided for many decisions. English and/or French translations, sometimes both.  Some decisions also in their original language.
Crime SHERLOC
Sponsored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, this free resource includes case law from multiple jurisdictions involving transnational crimes, including counterfeiting, cyber crime, human trafficking, money laundering, and piracy, among others.  Browse by country or by type of crime.  Or search by keyword.
Summaries and citations to primary sources.  Links to full texts sometimes provided (scroll all the way down). No.
Environment ECOLEX
This free UN database includes decisions issued by national courts and international tribunals on wide variety of environmental issues.  Use the filters displayed on the right side of the homepage to browse by subject, keyword or country.  Or search by keyword and use the filters displayed to the right of the search results to narrow.
Summaries (abstracts) and citations to primary sources.  Links to full texts usually provided. English translations for some, not all decisions.
Health Global Health & Human Rights Database
This user-friendly resource, sponsored by the Georgetown Law Center's O'Neill Institute, offers selective coverage of case law on a variety of health-related topics from multiple jurisdictions.  Use the Advance Search to limit searches to a particular country or health topic or by date.  Alternatively, you may browse by topic or by country.
Summaries and links to full texts (in the original language or English translation). English translations for many, but not all decisions.   Some also available in their original language.
Human Rights African Child Rights Cases
This free resource focuses on court decisions involving the rights and welfare of children in Africa.  The collection currently includes case law from eight African jurisdictions.  Cases from additional jurisdictions are expected to be added.  Search by keyword or browse by country, type of court or subject.
Summaries and links to full texts. Yes.
Human Rights ESCR-Net Caselaw Database
This free resource focuses on human rights cases involving economic, social and cultural rights and includes summaries of judgments issued by national courts, international tribunals, and regional human rights tribunals.  Searches may be limited by country, by theme, by type of forum or by langauge.  Use the interactive map to browse by country.
Summaries with links to full texts. No.
Human Rights Global Health & Human Rights Database
This user-friendly resource, sponsored by the Georgetown Law Center's O'Neill Institute, offers selective coverage of case law on a variety of human rights topics from multiple jurisdictions.  Use the Advance Search to limit searches to a particular country or human rights topic or by date.  Alternatively, you may browse by topic or by country.
Summaries and links to full texts for (in the original language or English translation). English translations for many, but not all decisions.   Some also available in their original language.
Human Rights Human Trafficking Case Law Database
Sponsored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, this free resource includes case law on human trafficking from jurisdictions worldwide.  Browse by country or by keyword.  Then use the filters to narrow.  Be sure to click on the cpation or number of a case to display all available information.  Clicking on "show more" displays only a brief summary.
Summaries and citations to primary sources.  Links to full texts often but not always provided (scroll all the way down). English translations for many, but not all decisions.
Human Rights Legal Cases on Social Protection & Human Rights
This free resource focuses on human rights case law involving social rights and includes summaries of judgments issued by national courts, international tribunals, and regional human rights tribunals.  Searches may be limited by issue, by country, by type of forum (body) or by year of decision.
Summaries with links to full texts for some, but not all decisions. English translations for some, but not all decisions.
Human Rights Women & Justice -- Domestic Jurisprudence
The Cornell University Center for Women & Justice maintains this collection of legal materials focusing on gender-based violence and justice, which includes a collection of case law from multiple jurisdictions.  Cases are are organized by country in reverse chronological order.  It is only possible to browse for cases geographically by region.  Searching is not supported.
Summaries with links to full texts for many, but not all decisions. English translations for some, but not all decisions.
Immigration, Refugees & Asylum RefWorld
This free UN database includes court decisions on immigration, refugees, asylum, and related human rights topics issued by national courts, international tribunals, and regional human rights tribunals.  The search template offers multiple pre-search filters.  It is also possible to browse by country, by topic or by judicial body.
Full text (or a link thereto) usually provided.  Sometimes only a citation. English translations for many, but not all decisions.
International Humanitarian Law International Crimes Database
This free resource includes decisions by national courts, international tribunals, and regional human rights tribunals involving violations of international humanitarian law and other international crimes.  Topics covered include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, torture, piracy, and terrorism.  Use the Advanced Search to limit searches by topic or date.   Click on the "Cases" tab in the blue menu bar to browse by party name or topic.
Summaries.  Links to full texts often provided. English translations for many, but not all decisions.
International Law (as interpreted by national courts) International Law Reports, KZ199 .I58
International Law Reports Online (Justis)
This series publishes English translations of significant decisions issued by national courts and international tribunals on matters of international law.  To search the series online, be sure to enter the acronym ILR in the "series" box within the search form to limit your search to cases published in the International Law Reports.
Full texts. Yes.  
International Law (as interpreted by national courts) Oxford Reports on International Law
This subscription database includes landmark decisions issued by national courts and international tribunals that interpret and apply treaties and other sources of international law.  Use the blue menu bar to browse by content type, subject or jurisdiction.  Or use the box in the upper right-hand corner to search by keyword. 
Full texts. Yes.  Many also available in their original language.
Labor & Employment International Labour Law Reports, K1704 .23 .I57
International Labour Law Reports Online (HeinOnline)
This series publishes significant decisions on labor and employment law issued by national courts throughout the world.  Each decision is translated into English and is supplemented with headnotes and other editorial enhancements.  Some decisions are abridged.  
Full texts (some are abridged). Yes.  Some also available in their original language.
Patents & Trademarks Darts-IP
This subscription database includes more than a million patent cases and nearly two million trademark cases from jurisdictions worldwide.  Note:  Members of the Georgetown Law community must log in using the shared user name and password available via the link in the catalog record.  First-time users should review the User Guide by clicking on the "Help" tab in the blue menu bar at the top of the screen.
Full texts, with points of law analysis, which allow you to quickly identify key issues and outcomes. Decisions provided in their original language with the option to generate a machine translation.
Taxation IBFD Tax Research Platform
This subscription database offers selective coverage of the following types of case law:  1) national court decisions involving tax treaty interpretation, 2) national court decisions involving other tax-related matters, and 3) tax decisions issued by the Court of Justice of the EU.  Begin by clicking on the + sign next to the heading "Case Law" to display the menu.  Then use the filters on the left to narrow by jurisdiction or by date range. 
Mainly summaries, but some full-texts also are provided. No.
Taxation Taxnontes.com
This subscription database offers selective coverage of case law from national courts involving tax treaty interpretation.  From the Research Tools tab in the upper right side of the homepage, click on Worldwide Tax Treaties.  On the lower left side of the following page, click on Court Opinions under the heading News & Analysis.  Then use the menu to select the jurisdiction and the court.  Note:  First-time users must register and create an individual user name and password via the link in the library catalog record.
Full texts.  Most are from English-speaking common law jurisdictions. A few English translations are included.