Foreign law refers to the laws of countries other than one's own. International law is the body of rights and obligations, arising from treaties and other sources, between two or more countries or international organizations. To find an overview of any country's system of laws and where they are published use GMUSL's electronic Foreign Law Guide.

Reference Books:

Language Dictionaries:

The Reference collection on the first floor has many foreign language dictionaries in the PA-PG call number range and many foreign language law dictionaries in the K52 call number range.

Foreign and International GMU Databases:

  • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) Materials on international relations since 1991 including working papers, conference proceedings, and books, as well as abstracts from journals, brief reports, monthly statistics, and maps.
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World Online. Contains the full text of the constitutions of 187 countries in English. 
  • Foreign Law Guide, describes the legal structure, where legal materials are published, and whether English translations are available for the laws of each of the 190 countries in the database.
  • HeinOnline Foreign & International Law Resources Database. International yearbooks; U.S. digests of international law; Reports of the Hague Permanent Court of International Justice and Reports of International Arbitral Awards; reports of the Court of Justice of the European Communities; other miscellaneous works.
  • International Legal Materials, published by American Society of International Law. Electronic version through HeinOnline International and Non-U.S. Law Journals (also available on Westlaw). Since 1962, ILM has been publishing selected full texts of important treaties and agreements, judicial and arbitral decisions, national legislation, international organizations resolutions, and other documents useful for scholarly work.
  • Kluwer Arbitration. Contains the full text of almost 1700 bilateral investment treaties; over 5,400 court decisions, and 1,800 arbitral awards.
  • Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. Includes more than 700 topics and is updated quarterly.
  • Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS). Index to periodicals, books, reports, and government information published in English from around the world.

Journals:

Treaties-United States:

Treaties-Multilateral:

Lexis Advance:

You need to return to Lexis.com. To do so from Lexis Advance, click on the red Research tab in the upper right corner, and select lexis.com. In the Legal Search tab, you can find a link under "Area of Law by Topic" for both "Foreign Laws and Legal Services" and "International Law." Lexis provides European Union documents, documents of the International Court of Justice, and other international materials. It provides a good amount of Canadian, UK, and Mexican legal materials.

Westlaw Next:

On the main page, click into the "International Materials." You will find all of Westlaw's international and foreign legal materials here, organized both by jurisdiction and content type. There is also an Index to the materials, wherein you can browse every title in the collection. Westlaw's foreign materials vary by country, with better materials for the UK, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong. Westlaw provides the journal International Legal Materials and has material from the International Chamber of Commerce, American Arbitration Association International, and International Commercial Arbitration, among others.

English Translations:

Finding English translations of foreign laws is difficult. The Law Library of Congress has this helpful guide (updated March 2012) to finding national legislation translated into English. Countries included in the guide are Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Russia.

Other Online Resources:

Many free websites offer international legal information.  

  • CMS Guide to Arbitration Volume I of this international arbitration guide includes chapters on the law and practice of arbitration in 32 foreign jurisdictions. Volume II contains international arbitration resources and materials, which include international conventions, institutional rules and model arbitration clauses. The guide may be downloaded and is optimized for tablets and mobile device
  • Council of Europe The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its 46 member states.
  • Dag Hammarskjold Library, United Nations library.
  • EISIL, developed by the American Society of International Law to assist in locating high quality primary materials, authoritative websites, and research guides to international law on the internet.
  • EUR-Lex, provides free, online access to European Union law and documents in all languages of the EU countries.
  • International Court of Justice (ICJ), news, decisions, and documents of cases heard by the ICJ.
  • United Nations Official Documents System (ODS), provides UN documents since 1993.
  • World Legal Information Institute, free independent and non-profit access to worldwide law from 123 countries and territories.

Last updated: March 7, 2014