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Moritz College of Law

Law Library

Research Guide: Foreign and International Law

A guide to researching the laws of foreign states as well as international law governing relations between multiple states

How to Start

1. Start with a Guide

In most cases, you should start with a guide (typically written by a librarian or a local attorney).  There are subject-specific guides that describe or summarize the laws of each country in a particular area of law. There are also more general guides that provide background information about a particular country's legal system and sources of law (legislative codes, judicial opinions, etc.), and describe how to find relevant primary and secondary material in print and online.

2. Consult Secondary Sources

If, after consulting a guide, you don't have enough information to find the primary sources you need, the next step is to locate secondary sources like encyclopedia sections, treatises, books, or journal articles that cover the particular topic. A research guide may reference secondary sources. Searching the OSU Libraries Catalog or journal databases may also lead to promising secondary sources. For more details about searching the library catalog for books and journal databases for articles, consult the tab to the left titled Finding Books and Articles.

3. Locate Primary Law

Based on references in research guides and other secondary sources, locate applicable primary law. Searching a primary law database directly may also produce relevant material.

Guides to Foreign Law Research

Popular and reliable guides include:

Several law libraries have created their own guides to foreign law research, which may refer to GlobaLex and the Library of Congress guides, and may also link to individual library webpages for researching that country's laws.

Consulting Secondary Sources

Use these secondary sources to help you better understand the foreign law and to point you towards primary sources.

Bloomberg, Westlaw, and Lexis have a substantial amount of secondary legal materials, though what is included varies by country.

Locating Primary Law


Case Law:

Other materials:

Free Sources of Primary Law in Major Foreign Common Law Jurisdictions


United Kingdom


Books on Foreign Legal Research

Historical Foreign Law Databases