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International & Foreign Legal Resources
For intensive research in international legal matters, consult a Law Librarian for assistance.
Just as when looking for domestic legal information, in the international area, jurisdiction is important. Entities outside of the U.S. and its states include the following, each with its own universe of information. It is also important to keep in mind that while the laws of foreign governments have the same force, within their boundaries at least, as our laws and regulations, some international organizations can make recommendations and resolutions, but often do not have any true enforcement powers.
- Foreign governments. Of course, each sovereign nation has its own sets of laws and its own legal system.
- International organizations. For example:
There is one international court that bears at least some resemblance to courts we are more familiar with in a domestic setting, and that is the International Criminal Court. Their website includes a wealth of background information, including the texts of relevant treaties, and even streaming video of proceedings.
The following links might provide good starting points:
links to member parliaments and to other legislative and quasi-legislative bodies throughout the world
Law by Source: Global
constitutions, cases, databases of information, etc., from Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute
World Legal Information Institute
worldwide legislation, constitutions, statutes, case law, court decisions, journals, treaties, and related materials.
World Treaty Index
Datasets (csv) list of both bilateral and multilateral treaties signed during the 20th century.
HeinOnline This link opens in a new window
Several relevant collections, including "World Trials Library," "Treaties & Agreements Library," "European Center for Minority Issues," etc. Available in the Library only, for non-law students
Guides to International Information
A useful reference book, in the Library on the first floor:
- Legal systems of the world : a political, social, and cultural encyclopedia. K 48 .L44 2002.
The United Nations
United Nations site map
UNdata: Advanced Search
Advanced search to the UNdata portal that allow users to search by keyword, select statistical areas, sources, and years.
Official Documents System (ODS)
Provides full-text of documents issued since 1993; resolutions of all principal organs & Security Council plenary documents since 1946. Older documents are added regularly. Be sure to read the help page
to see how to search since the ODS interface is complicated.
United Nations Digital Library
Includes UN documents, voting data, speeches, maps, and open access publications. Provides access to some digital materials and records for other print materials. Back to 1979.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) homepage.
UN Global Pulse
blog concerned with uses of big data
Related Research Guides
The Blume Library has developed some other Reserach Guides that might be helpful in researching international legal matters: