Roy L. Sturgeon
Tulane University Law School
332 Weinmann Hall
6329 Freret St.
New Orleans, LA 70118-6231
Tel: +1 504.865.5953
Fax: +1 504.865.5917
Free, Reliable Websites
In addition to the Law Library's subscription databases, foreign law information can be found on free, reliable (i.e., reasonably accurate & current) websites. Among the best are:
Abbreviations & Acronyms
For help in deciphering abbreviations & acronyms, see:
Foreign Law Defined
Foreign law usually means the law of a nation, or group of nations with a shared legal system like the European Union, not one's own. It is sometimes mistaken for international law, which is the law between or among nations that have expressly or tacitly agreed to be bound by it. Foreign law may consist of constitutions (written & unwritten), codes/statutes, regulations, & court decisions. It lacks effect outside that nation's borders, but may regulate or bind foreign entities & persons inside that nation.
For help in citing to foreign law, see:
Foreign Law & American Constitutional Law - 2 of 2
See these 2 recent publications for more background:
Over many decades, the Law Library has built a substantial collection of foreign law print resources—many not available online. The bulk are shelved on the 5th & 6th floors. These include caselaw, statutes/codes, journals, & treatises. And a lot are in the vernacular. The collection is particularly strong in French, German, & United Kingdom law. Additional print resources are shelved on the 3d floor in New Books, Reserve, Reference, & the Maritime Collection; 4th floor in Special/Rare Collections & Microforms; 5th floor in Government Documents; & 6th floor in the Comparative Law Collection.
For more details, search the Law Library's online catalog.
Most foreign law in non-common law jurisdictions is difficult, if not impossible, to find in English translation (accurate or not, official or not). The best translations are done by qualified humans. But if you lack access to one, then try a machine translator. Although often unreliable & unintelligible, they can be useful as a preliminary step until getting a human translator (or consulting a bilingual print dictionary, which the Law Library owns many of) to help you: