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.

Finding Treatises & Books on Foreign Law

To determine what laws govern a particular subject in a specific jurisdiction, begin your research by consulting a secondary source, such as a treatise or practice guide.  In addition to providing background information, analysis and commentary, secondary sources will help you to identify relevant primary sources.

The Georgetown Law Library's collection includes secondary sources in English for many jurisdictions outside the U.S.  Countries with the greatest depth of coverage include Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  For select non-English speaking jurisdictions, a more limited range of secondary sources in the language of the jurisdiction also is available.

Law Library Catalog

To locate jurisdiction-specific legal treatises and books from the Georgetown Law Library's collection, use the Advanced Search and select Law Library Catalog.  For greater precision, search by subject for the name of the desired jurisdiction in combination with one or more keywords: 

By searching for the name of the jurisdiction in the "Subject" field, you will limit the items retrieved to materials that focus on that particular jurisdiction.  Be sure to add at least one other search term in the boxes below, using the default "Any Field" setting.

The Foreign Law Guide

The Foreign Law Guide is another tool that you can use to identify jurisdiction-specific secondary sources.  Begin by selecting the desired jurisdiction from the "Countries" menu.  After the page refreshes, scroll down to the "Laws by Subject" section.  Click on the desired subject to display a list of secondary sources. 

To determine if the Law Library owns a copy of a secondary source listed in The Foreign Law Guide, search for it by title (not by keyword) in the library's online catalog.  If they Law Library does not own a copy, you may request it via inter-library loan.

Getting the Deal Through (GTDT)

Getting the Deal Through provides detailed, practitioner-written summaries of national laws that govern dozens of work areas using a question and answer format.  Work areas focus primarily on commercial law and regulatory compliance.  Jurisdictional coverage varies by work area. 

To see what content is available for a particular jurisdiction, select the desired jurisdiction from the menu.  After the page refreshes, scroll through the list of work areas, which are grouped by category.  Select one or more work areas to generate a jurisdiction-specific report.


Global Legal Monitor

Global Legal Monitor
The Law Library of Congress maintains this blog, which tracks significant legal developments in jurisdictions worldwide, including the enactment of notable new legislation and the issuance of landmark judicial decisions

For optimal searching, click on the + sign to open the Advanced Search form.  Alternatively, you can browse for posts using one of the following browsing options:

Posts are authored by the Law Library's foreign jurisdiction specialists and by visiting scholars and library interns who are familiar with the jurisdictions and subject matter.  Many posts include links to relevant legislation or judicial opinions

The blog is a credible source for monitoring new developments in foreign law before scholarly articles have been written about them.

Research Guides for Foreign Jurisdictions

The Georgetown Law Library maintains in-depth legal research guides for a limited number of foreign jurisdictions.  If your topic involves one of the jurisdictions listed below, start with the research guide for that jurisdiction.

Each foreign jurisdiction guide includes one or more pages with a selection of secondary sources for the jurisdiction in question.

Questions? Need Help? Contact the International & Foreign Law Dept.

International & Foreign
Legal Research

(202) 662-4195

Request a Research Consultation