FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
This pathfinder is meant as an overview of sources used when researching foreign
or international law. While the LA Law Library collects for over 300 countries,
we do not collect everything for every country. The information gathered, including
laws, cases, regulations, and practice guides, will come from a variety of sources
and in a variety formats and languages.
For more specific directed research assistance, please contact our Foreign and International
Law Librarian at 213-785-2529, option 3.
Foreign Law: the domestic law of a country other than your own.
Comparative Law: study comparing the laws of two or more countries
or two or more legal systems.
Legal System: a collection of rules imposed by an authority, i.e.
common law, civil law, religious law, customary law.
Public International Law: rules dealing with the relations between
two or more states or some relations between states and persons.
Private International Law: rules dealing with the relations among
individuals that have an international element, typically rules concerning which
country’s laws apply to a particular dispute.
Transnational Law: rules governing certain disputes that are accepted
regardless of national jurisdiction.
Treaty: a formal agreement between two or more states, as
in reference to terms of peace or trade.
Law Library Catalog
To locate books and other materials held at the LA Law Library on a particular topic,
you will need to do a subject or keyword search our online Library Catalog.
If you are looking for a particular country, make it one of your keywords.
If you know the specific author or book title, search directly under those headings.
All online catalog entries can be searched in English, regardless of language of
Sample subject searches include:
Primary law for foreign and international research includes gazettes, laws, and
judicial decisions. While the LA Law Library collects primary law for over 300 countries,
some of this material is found online.
Tips to remember when searching for primary law:
Some of this material is in English, but much of it is available only in the country’s
Heavily used codes and country materials are kept in the Foreign Reference section
located in Alcove 4 of the main reading room.
Majority of material located in the closed stacks. Just ask at the Reference
Desk for help in retrieving this material.
While the LA Law Library cannot collect practice guides on every country, we do
collect as many country and subject specific practice guides and treatises as possible.
Some information can also be found in periodicals, online databases, and the general
Here are some overview materials:
Foreign Law: current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions of
the world – K1 .A15 R46
Germain’s Transnational Law Research: a guide for attorneys –
K28 .L5 G37 REFf
Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest (2006) – K15 .M322a Ref
Public International Law in a Nutshell – KJ 409 .B92 2007
Access to these databases is available in the Library’s Reading Room only:
Foreign Law Guide: current sources of codes and basic legislation
in jurisdictions of the world
HeinOnline: full-text image-based database of treaties and agreements,
English Reports (1220-1865), Foreign & International Law Resources Database
and World Trials
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals: multilingual index of articles
and book reviews for jurisdictions other than US, UK, Canada, and Australia
These compiled links have been the most helpful in answering foreign and international
reference questions. They complement the print sources here at the Law Library.
Remember, while these links are helpful, they often time only provide limited information
and summary descriptions.