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.

Abbreviations & Dictionaries


The following resources will help you to decipher legal abbreviations and acronyms from jurisdictions outside the U.S.

  • Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
    This free, Web-based resource covers legal abbreviations used in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth jurisdictions, as well as the United States.  Search by abbreviation to locate the title of the corresponding publication or search by title to determine the correct abbreviation for a specific publication. 
  • Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations, Call No. Ref K85 .R3 2013
    This index enables users to quickly de-code legal citations used in the UK and in many other common law jurisdictions.  It also provides disambiguation for similar or identical abbreviations used in multiple jurisdictions that were once part of the British Empire.
  • World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations, Call No. Ref K89.K38 1991 (updated regularly)
    This four-volume set offers the most comprehensive coverage of legal abbreviations used in jurisdictions throughout the world.  Content is updated regularly and is organized by jurisdiction.  You must know an abbreviation's jurisdiction of origin in order to use this resource effectively.


The Georgetown Law Library's collection includes both general dictionaries and legal dictionaries in English and other languages.  Dictionaries are available in print and electronic formats.  Many print dictionaries are located in the Reference Collection, which is located on the second floor of the Williams Library adjacent to the Reading Room. 

To locate legal dictionaries for a particular jurisdiction or language, use the Advanced Search and select Law Library Catalog.  Then select Title as the search field and enter either legal dictionary or law dictionary as an exact phrase in the first search box.  In the second search box enter the name of the desired jurisdiction or language.

Alternatively, select Subject as the search field and enter one of the following search strings in the search box:

  • Law -- name of jurisdiction -- Dictionaries
  • Law -- Dictionaries -- language