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.

Single Jurisdiction Resources

The electronic resources listed below provide access to codes, legislation, and regulations from a single jurisdiction.  Some of them are free databases maintained by a national legislature or a government ministry.  For non-English speaking jurisdictions, only those free resources that offer at least some content in English translation have been included.  

For links to government websites offering open access to legal information in the language of the jurisdiction, consult The Foreign Law Guide, the Law Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online, GlobaLex, and the World Legal Information Institute

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

Australia Federal Register of Legislation
This database, maintained by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, provides free access to current federal (a/k/a commonwealth) statutes (acts in force) and regulations (legislative instruments in force), as well as pending legislation (bills as introduced). Visit the Information page to learn more about legislation in Australia and to access tips on searching the database, as well as a glossary of legislative terminology.

Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)
AustLII provides free online access to legislation and regulations enacted by Australia's federal (a/k/a commonwealth), state, and territorial governments.  To search or browse, begin by selecting the desired jurisdiction from the menu.  After the page refreshes, select the desired type of legislation or regulation from the list on the right side of the screen.  To search more broadly for legislation or regulations enacted in all Australian jurisdictions, use the Advanced Search and check the appropriate box below the date filters.  Consult the User Guide for additional information.
Barbados Barbados Law & Regulations
This Westlaw database of laws and regulations currently in force is limited to commercial and tax law.
Canada Justice Laws
This database, maintained by Canada's Department of Justice, provides free access to current federal statutes (consolidated acts), federal session laws (annual statutes), and current federal regulations (consolidated regulations).  The texts of consolidated acts and regulations incorporate all amendments and revisions made subsequent to their original enactment.  For additional guidance, consult the FAQs page, the Search Help page, and the glossary of legislative terminology.

All Canada Statutes & Legislation
Lexis provides academic users with access to statutes, legislation, and administrative regulations at the federal level and in selected Canadian provinces.  Scroll through the alphabetical list to select the desired content.

Canada Legislation
Academic users of Westlaw may access a database of legislation currently in force at the federal level, as well as separate databases of current legislation for each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories. 
China (People's Republic of) China Law Database
This Lexis database includes English translations of more than 3,000 laws and regulations prepared by the editors of LexisNexis China Online and is regularly updated.  Coverage focuses primarily on laws governing business enterprises, commercial and financial transactions, real property, intellectual property, insurance, customs, foreign trade, and foreign investment.


This subscription database provides full-text English translations of more than 1,000 primary laws and nearly 2,000 administrative regulations, supplemented by thousands of provisions, administrative measures, circulars, opinions, notices, and announcements.  Many provincial and municipal regulations also are included.  Translations are displayed side-by-side next to the original Chinese text.  The Chinese language version of the database, known as ChinaLawInfo, has an even larger collection of un-translated legal texts.
France Légifrance
This free database, maintained by the French government, is the official public access point for legislation, regulations, and case law.  The navigation and substantive content are only available in French.

Academic subscribers to Westlaw may access English translations of the French Code of Civil Procedure and the French Commercial Code.
Germany Gesetze im Internet
This free database, jointly maintained by the federal Ministry of Justice and a commercial publisher, includes all federal codes, statutes, and ordinances currently in force.  Although the interface and most of the substantive content are in German, English translations of selected codes and statutes also are available.

German Law Archive
This free resource, hosted by Oxford University, provides English translations of selected German codes and statutes on a variety of civil, public, and criminal law subjects.
Hong Kong Laws of Hong Kong
The Lexis database includes full-text English translations of selected legislation prepared by the Bilingual Laws Information Service (BLIS) of the Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The translations are regularly updated to reflect subsequent amendments and revisions as they are published in Hong Kong's official gazette.

Hong Kong Legislation
This Westlaw database includes English translations of ordinances, subsidiary legislation, and selected constitutional texts currently in force within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  It also includes newly enacted legislation not yet in force.
India SCC Online
This subscription database includes acts, statutes, ordinances, rules, and regulations enacted at both the federal (central) and state levels, as well as case law and secondary sources.  Note:  First time users must register and create an account by entering their GULC email address as their Login ID.  Returning users may select "IP Login" from the upper-right hand corner of the top level navigation menu and enter their GULC email address to log in.  No password is required.
Ireland Electronic Irish Statute Book
This free database, maintained by the Office of the Attorney General, includes acts of the Orieachtas (Ireland's bicameral national legislature), regulations (statutory instruments), and the text of Ireland's constitution.  Consult the FAQs page for background information and search tips.
Japan Japanese Law Translation
This free database, maintained by the Ministry of Justice, includes English translations of Japanese laws on a wide variety of subjects, as well as a Japanese-English dictionary of legal terms.  Coverage includes laws currently in force and some that have been repealed.  
Kenya Laws of Kenya
This free database, provided by the National Council for Law Reporting, includes both statutes (acts of Parliament) and regulations (subsidiary legislation).  Browse the table of contents by subject or search by keyword.  Consult the FAQs page for additional guidance.
Malaysia All Malaysia Statutes and Legislation
This Lexis database provides access to the Unannotated Statutes of Malaysia, which includes bills, principal acts, subsidiary legislation, and amendments enacted by Malaysia's federal parliament and published in the Federation of Malaya Government Gazette.  It also provides access to the same content for two of Malaysia's sub-national states, Sabah and Sarawak.
Mexico Mexico - Primary Law
Academic subscribers to Lexis may access Mexico's official gazette (
Diario Oficial de la Federación), which publishes new federal laws and regulations chronologically as enacted.  The content is only available in Spanish.
New Zealand New Zealand Legislation
This database, maintained by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, provides free access to current and prior versions of statutes (acts) and regulations (legislative instruments), as well as pending legislation (bills).  Detailed instructions on how to search and browse the database are provided, as is a glossary of legislative terminology.  
Russia Russian Federation Primary Law
Lexis's coverage of Russian primary law is limited to English translations of those portions of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation that govern advertising, copyright, patents, and trademarks.  Links to the original Russian texts in PDF format are provided.
Singapore Singapore Statutes Online
This free database, maintained by the chambers of the Attorney General, provides comprehensive coverage of current and historical statutes (acts of Parliament) and regulations (subsidiary legislation), as well as bills pending before Parliament.  Consult the FAQs page for additional background information and the Online Guide for search tips.
South Africa

Butterworth's Statutes of South Africa
U.S. academic subscribers to Lexis may access this annotated compilation of South African federal statutes (acts of Parliament) arranged by subject.

Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII)
This free resource provides access to both federal and provincial legislation.  To browse chronologically by year of enactment, or alphabetically for federal (national) legislation, select the type of legislation from the menu.  Searching by keyword is limited to federal Numbered Acts.  For greater precision, use the Advanced Search form and use the menu on the right to limit the search to South Africa:  Numbered Acts. 

South Korea (Republic of Korea)

Korea Legislation
This Westlaw database includes English translations of selected South Korean legislation provided by the Korean Ministry of Government Legislation.

Korean Laws to the World
The Korea Legislation Research Institute provides free online access to an extensive collection of Korean laws and regulations in English translation.  Search by keyword or browse by subject, by field of law, or by government ministry.

Switzerland Swiss Federal Council - Classified Compilation of Selected Federal Laws in English
The executive arm of the Swiss Confederation provides access to English translations of selected federal acts and ordinances.  Search by keyword or use the menu below the search box to browse by subject.  For those able to read German, French or Italian, the following resources provide more comprehensive coverage:  the Official Compilation of Federal Legislation, the Compilation of Federal Legislation Classified by Subject, and the Official Federal Gazette.  To switch from German to French or Italian, use the language menu in the upper-right hand corner.
Taiwan (Republic of China) Law & Regulations of the Republic of China
This database, maintained by the Ministry of Justice, provides free access to hundreds of primary laws (acts) and secondary regulations in English translation.  All legislative and regulatory texts are provided in their current (consolidated) versions, which incorporate any amendments and revisions made subsequent to their original enactment.
United Kingdom
This database, maintained by the UK's National Archives, provides free access to primary legislation (acts of Parliament) and secondary legislation (statutory instruments, orders of council, and orders in council) for the UK as a whole and for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  It also includes bills currently pending before Parliament.  Consult the User Guide for background information and search tips.  A glossary of legislative terminology also is available.

The legislative component of this subscription database includes primary legislation enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom (1707-present), the Parliament of England (1235-1706), the Scottish Parliament (1999-present), and the Northern Ireland Assembly (2000-present).  It also also provides access to secondary legislation, including UK statutory instruments (1949-present), a collection of older statutory instruments (1671-1948), selected statutory rules and orders, and Scottish statutory instruments (1999-present).

All UK Statutes & Legislation
Lexis provides access to multiple UK statutory and legislative databases covering the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly, as well as statutory instruments (administrative regulations).

UK Legislation
This Westlaw database includes current statutes and statutory instruments in effect for the UK as a whole.  It also includes the procedural rules of the Supreme Court of the UK and of many lower courts.

Scots Legislation
This Westlaw database covers all primary and secondary legislation currently in force in Scotland, including acts of the devolved Scottish Parliament and acts of the UK Parliament that are applicable to Scotland.