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Foreign Law Research for U.S. Attorneys

An introductory guide to finding the laws of foreign jurisdictions.

Free Collections of Foreign Law Online

The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing free online access to laws from a specific country or region. If you are a U.S. law student, you have likely run across the U.S.'s Cornell Legal Information Institute (CLII), which is usually the first result when you google a U.S. statute or regulation. 

A complete directory of LII websites is available at the central WorldLII website:

There are also many subject specific efforts to provide laws for free online, often with English translations. For example, WIPO seeks to provide free access to each country's intellectual property laws in its WIPO Lex database and the Food and Agriculture Organization seeks to provide access to each country's food and agriculture laws in its FAOLEX database. 

The GlobaLex guide series includes a guide that provides a useful round-up of these subject-specific databases:

One useful database that is not listed in the GlobaLex guide is the CODICES database:


Unlike many other foreign sources, foreign constitutions are readily available online, often in English translation.

Try the following websites:

The library also owns some historical foreign constitutions in print:


Gazettes are official government newsletters that generally publish statutes passed by the legislature, administrative law materials passed by agencies, and (in some countries) selected cases decided by courts. 

Generally, any of the guides listed under the Guides to Research by Country tab should identify the country's official gazette. 

However, there are also a few resources specifically devoted to locating gazettes by country:

Non-U.S. Law on Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg

General Foreign Law Materials 

Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg's foreign law coverage is limited but they do sometimes have useful materials, so it's always worth double-checking:

Practical Law and Practical Guidance

Several years ago, Westlaw purchased a UK based company called Practical Law, which provides detailed articles written by practicing attorneys on how to perform legal tasks in specific practice areas. Because Practical Law began as a non-U.S. company, it has extensive international law material and is an excellent starting point for foreign law research:

Lexis has recently started building a competing Practical Guidance tool, which also includes international content:

Doing Business In and Getting the Deal Through

Both Lexis and Bloomberg provide the popular Getting the Deal Through series. Each book in this series covers business laws on a specific topic (e.g. copyright, corporate governance), divided into chapters covering the laws of roughly one to two dozen specific countries. 

Additionally, Lexis provides the popular Doing Business In series. Each book in this series covers the business laws of a specific country.

To locate books in these series:

  • On Bloomberg Law, select Browse > All Legal Content Search > U.S. Secondary Sources > Books & Treatises for the Getting the Deal Through series. 
  • On Lexis:
    • Select International and then check the secondary materials for a specific country to see if Lexis includes a Doing Business In guide for that country.
    • Select International > View All Countries > Foreign Law > All Foreign Law Secondary Materials for the Getting the Deal Through series.

You can also locate many of these books in print by searching the library catalog for "Doing Business In" and "Getting the Deal Through". 

Other Databases for Non-U.S. Legal Research

The library also subscribes to a handful of legal databases that provide non-U.S. law:

Sometimes scholars will publish articles detailing a particular country's laws or providing information on how a specific legal issue is handled in a variety of countries. Articles can be rich sources for citations to both primary and secondary sources and may even provide English translations of certain laws. In addition to standard sources for legal articles, you may also want to consult HeinOnline's Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals:

Finding Foreign Law Materials in Print

Many foreign law materials are still only available in print.

Search for the name of a country plus the word law in the UC library search catalog to locate print foreign law materials available at libraries throughout the UC system: