Introduction to Foreign Legal Research: Foreign Legal Research

This research guide will help you begin researching foreign law using both resources available at Vanderbilt University, and resources available for free online. We recommend that when researching the laws of other jurisdictions, you first us jurisdiction-specific research guides to learn about the foreign legal system at issue and its sources of official legal documents.  Then, use available secondary sources to gain a better understanding of substantive law in that jurisdiction, and to locate citations to relevant primary sources. In certain instances, subject-specific resources such as treatises, monographs, or web resources offering coverage of the laws of multiple jurisdictions can be quite helpful.

Note Regarding Translations

Some foreign legal documents simply will not not be available in English.  Even where translations are available, they may be imprecise and are quite often unofficial.  Software translation tools cannot help researchers understand legal terms of art.  For many academic researchers, however, English translations available in commercial publications and secondary sources, or available from reputable sources on the web, may be adequate.  Those seeking more precise translations in a connection with a legal matter should consider consulting an attorney who does or has practiced law in the relevant jurisdiction.

Ask a Librarian