Foreign case law can be more challenging to locate than foreign legislation. You may not be able to locate an English translation of a foreign decision.
In many countries, court decisions are not considered primary law and there may not be any official publication of decisions. Also, in some countries, only the country's highest court will issue its decisions. Periodicals and journals may be the best source for decisions--in fact, in many countries, legal periodicals act as unofficial sources for case decisions. Periodicals can also be used to find case summaries and citations to new case law.
If you have the citation to a foreign decision and cannot decipher the abbreviation for the case reporter, try the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations online or Index to legal citations and abbreviations INTL K85 .R3 2008
Below are selected print and electronic sources for foreign case law. For more guidance on locating foreign law cases, please see our Foreign & Comparative Law Research Guide.
- Foreign Law Guide (Georgetown Law Only) This is the best source to find out the name(s) of the official reporter for a country. Choose the jurisdiction, then look under "Court Reports."
- International Law Reports INTL KZ199.I58
- Law Reports of the Commonwealth INTL K3165.A495 L38
- Lexis (Georgetown Law Only) Currently, you must log into Lexis Advance, select the research tab at the top left of the page, and then select Lexis.com from the drop down menu to access foreign laws on Lexis. Once you reach classic Lexis, you can reach each country's information by following the pathways listed below. Lexis provides updated coverage of legislation from the following countries:
- Canada Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Canada > Legislation & Regulations > Federal > Consolidated Statutes of Canada
- China Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > China & Hong Kong > Legislation & Regulations > LexisNexis China Law Database
- Hong Kong Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > China & Hong Kong > Legislation & Regulations > Laws of Hong Kong
- Malaysia Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of Malaysia
- Mexico Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Mexico > Legislacion (Legislation) > Leyes Federales - Federal laws
- Puerto Rico Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Puerto Rico > Find Statutes, Regulations, Administrative Materials & Court Rules
- Russia Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Russian Federation > Russian Legal Texts
- Scotland Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of Scotland
- South Africa Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Butterworths Statutes of South Africa
- U.K. Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of England & Wales
- Westlaw (Georgetown Law Only) provides coverage of legislation from the following countries:
- WorldLII : Countries
Provides links to courts or case law for many jurisdictions. There is no subject heading for animals however sometimes within a jurisdiction or a topic there is relevant information. Also if you click on "Advanced Search" you can search "All Case Law Databases"
- Global Courts
Is a portal that provides access to Supreme Court decisions of 105 countries, or a way of finding them.
- Manupatra (Georgetown Law only - password required)
Law of India database. It provides full text of Indian law in PDF format, including case law, legislation, regulations, ordinances, bills, and some secondary material.
- World Law Guide: Courts / Cases
Most useful if you can read the official language of the jurisdiction you are researching and have a good idea of which court the case is in, as this list links to courts for many jurisdiction of the world.