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.

Multi-Jurisdictional Resources for Foreign Case Law

Most foreign case law databases focus very narrowly on a single jurisdiction or subject matter.  The resources described below will help you to find case law from multiple jurisdictions covering a wide variety of topics.  

These resources are particularly useful for locating case law from smaller, less developed common law jurisdictions and mixed jurisdictions of common law, especially those in Africa and the Pacific Ocean.  For larger jurisdictions (such as the U.K., Australia, Canada, India, and South Africa), a jurisdiction-specific resource is usually a better option.  Links to single-jurisdiction resources are provided on the Case Law by Jurisdiction page of this research guide.

Geographic Coverage Resource Name and Description
Asia Asian Legal Information Institute (AsianLII)
AsianLII provides free access to case law and/or legislation from jurisdictions throughout Asia.  Content and dates of coverage vary by jurisdiction.  For the most part, case law content is limited to common law jurisdictions and mixed jurisdictions of common law.  To browse, scroll down to select a jurisdiction.  After the page refreshes, select the desired court.  To limit searches to a particular court, use the Advanced Search and then select the desired court from the menu. 
Commonwealth of Nations (former British Empire) Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII)
CommonLII provides free access to case law and/or legislation from the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, an inter-governmental organization which includes most of the countries that were formerly part of the British Empire.  Coverage also extends to some current British overseas territories.  To browse, scroll down to select a jurisdiction.  After the page refreshes, select the desired court.  To limit searches to a particular court, use the Advanced Search and then select the desired court from the menu.    
Austria, France, Germany, and Israel Foreign Law Translations
The Institute for Transnational Law at the University of Texas maintains this free resource, which provides English translations of selected decisions issued by high-level courts in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, contract law, and tort law for the following jurisdictions:  Austria, France, Germany, and Israel.  For France and Germany, translations of selected statutes also are provided.
Commonwealth of Nations (former British Empire) Law Reports of the Commonwealth, Call No. K3165.A495 L38
This series of print reporters publishes the full texts significant decisions issued by courts throughout the Commonwealth of Nations.   Each volume has its own subject index and list of cases by jurisdiction.  Use the two-volume cumulative subject index to locate relevant cases across the entire series.  Coverage is from 1980-present. 
Pacific Islands Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PACLII)
PACLII provides free access to case law and/or legislation from 20 island jurisdictions in the Pacific Ocean.  Most are sovereign, independent states, but some are self-governing overseas territories of other states.   To browse, select the jurisdiction.  After the page refreshes, select the desired court.  To limit searches to a particular court, use the Advanced Search and then select the desired court from the menu.
Southern and Eastern Africa Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII)
SAFLII provides free access to case law and/or legislation from 16 jurisdictions in southern and eastern Africa.  Content and dates of coverage vary by jurisdiction.  To browse, select a jurisdiction from the menu on the left.  After the page refreshes, select the desired court.  To limit searches to cases from a particular court, use the Advanced Search and then select the desired court from the menu.
Worldwide World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)
WorldLII aggregates content from national and regional organizations which provide open access to primary legal information from their respective jurisdictions.  Collections of case law and/or legislation for selected jurisdictions are grouped by region and arranged alphabetically by country.  Content and dates of coverage vary by jurisdiction.  Click on a collection to browse chronologically or alphabetically.  To search across all case law collections or to limit searches to a particular court or jurisdiction, use the Advanced Search and select the desired collection from the menu.