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Foreign Law Research Guide: Secondary Sources

General Information on Countries (Legal System, History, Political Structure, Business, etc.)

University of Ottawa: World Legal Systems and Index​


The CIA World Fact Book​

  • US government profiles of countries and territories around the world. Information on geography, people, government, transportation, economy, communications


The Europa World Year Book

  • Subscription database
  • Economic, political, historical, and geographic profiles of 250+ countries and global regions. Contact information for political, business, media, and cultural agencies and officials, including 1,900 international organizations. Search or browse by country, region, organization, or people (Economic Intelligence Unit)

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit provides a constant flow of analysis and forecasts on more than 195 countries and six key industries. We help executives make informed business decisions through dependable intelligence delivered online, in print, in customized research as well as through conferences and peer interchange.


Research Starters (Online)

Research Starters (Online)

Research Starters (Research Guides)

Research Starters (Prints)

  • Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World by Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores (Littleton, CO.:F.B. Rothman, 1989-2007)
    • Only available online from fall 2007, Foreign Law Guide (subscription).
    • Chapters cover codes and basic legislation in the Western hemisphere, Africa, Asia, and Australasia.  This book and subscription database introduces brief history and backgrounds of the laws of countries and provides useful research tips.  This guide also provides a comprehensive list of names of session laws and authoritative resources for 150 subjects and a useful tool to foreign legal practitioners.
  • Germain’s Transnational Law Research / Clare M. Germain (Ardsely-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Transnational Juris Publications, 1991-)
    • This book targets at practitioners who encounter some elements of foreign and international law in their domestic law firm practice, and includes index and bibliographical references.  This book deals with not only substantive research issues in international and foreign law, but also procedural and practical issues such as proof and pleading of foreign law, service of process, choice of law and jurisdiction in transnational litigation.  Its chapter IV and V covers a systematic survey of the literature by subject and country.  Especially, the country part includes surveys and practitioners’ guide, English translations and digests of primary sources, guides to research, in-depth subject studies regarding Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kazkhstan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.
  • Guide to International Legal Research / The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics (Salem, NH: Butterworths, 2002-)
    • This guide is a good place to start research for public and private international law as well as foreign or comparative law.  This book provides how to formulate questions and to design a research strategy, saying, “A good attorney must be able to chart the way through the maze of regulation, without letting the client get lost part way through the journey.”  The chapters include (1) primary sources including constitutions, case law, statutory sources, and treaties; (2) secondary sources including mass media, bulletins and news letter, periodicals, periodical indexes, annuals, loose-leaf services, digests, textbooks, and legal encyclopedias and dictionaries; and (3) research tools including practice manuals, handbooks, manuals, guides, and online databases and internet.   Specifically, Chapter 5 Geopolitical Regions include research guides on Africa, Japan, the Republic of Korea(South Korea), China (including Hong Kong), India, Pakistan, Russia, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Latin America, and European Union and its member countries including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, and United Kingdom.
  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest
    • Avaiable at Martindale-Hubbell Website.
    • Provides summaries of statutory law compiled and revised by distinguished lawyers and legal scholars of the respective countries for over 80 countries, arranged by main subject categories, then topics and subheadings.  Descriptions of the governmental and legal systems of the countries are also given.  The aim of the international law digests is to present the points of law most likely to be of assistance to a lawyer with a matter in hand some facet of which is controlled by the law of that country.  Digests of the laws of the Australian and Canadian States and Provinces are included with the digest of their Federal laws.  Entries are updated annually to include changes in court rules and the most current enactments of the legislature.  In some instances, the digests are revised by authorities residing in the United States with the advice and assistance of local experts.
  • The International Lawyer’s Deskbook (2nd ed., L. Law et al. eds., WashingtonDC: Section of International Law and Practice, ABA, 2003).
    • This book is prepared by experienced international law practitioners with introduction to the topic, current issues in the topic area, and sources including treaties, books, online sources, and sometimes practical information such as phone numbers and agency names.  Chapters cover a variety of topics such as the international practice of law, international litigation, international commercial arbitration, international commercial transactions, international financing, political risk insurance, international litigation, international labor and employment law, intellectual property rights, international antitrust, securities law, environmental law, family law, etc.