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Researching Comparative Law: Print & Online Resources   Tags: comparative law, legal analysis  

Highlights resources available at/via the Tulane Law Library as well as on free, reliable websites. Coverage includes primary & secondary sources. Feel free to contact me whenever you need more help researching comparative law.
Last Updated: Sep 2, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Roy L. Sturgeon

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Roy L. Sturgeon, Foreign, Comparative, & International Law/Reference Librarian
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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
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Subscription Databases

Complementing its print resources, the Law Library subscribes to numerous online databases with diverse content for comparative law study. A few are listed below. For more, see my foreign & international law LibGuides.

Free, Reliable Websites


Devil in the Details

For help in citing to comparative law sources as well as deciphering (or creating) abbreviations & acronyms, see my foreign & international law LibGuides.


"What We Learned From German Prisons"


What is Comparative Law?

Comparative law as defined by Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed.) is "[t]he scholarly study of the similarities & differences between the legal systems of different jurisdictions, such as between civil-law & common-law countries." Put another way, it is a method of analytical study that relies mainly on foreign & international law as sources (& inspiration). Its aims vary, depending on the researcher.


Comparative Law in Action!

Tulane Law prof & EWC co-director Jörg Fedtke speaking on a Tahrir Dialogue panel with Kenyan & South African comparative law experts in 2013 at the American University in Cairo about Egypt's then-draft constitution:


Useful Books

For help in learning comparative law essentials, read:

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Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law - Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei (Eds.)
Call Number: K559 .C365 2012
This collection of 18 essays aims to give readers a fundamental understanding of the dynamic relationship between the law & its cultural, political, & socio-economic context. Also, each essay ends with a list of books & articles for further reading. Tulane Law prof Palmer wrote essay 17.

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Comparative Law - Mathias Siems
Call Number: K583 .S585 2014
Discusses older comparative law methods as well as newer ones like postmodernism & socio-legalism. Contextualized & cosmopolitan in perspective. See book's website ( for supplements, updates, & more.

Comparative Law: A Handbook - Esin Örücü & David Nelken (Eds.)
Call Number: K559 .C652 2007
Enables readers to familiarize themselves with the challenges & controversies found in comparative law. Describes key concepts & includes questions for discussion as well as reading lists for further study.

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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (2d ed.) - Jan M. Smits (Ed.)
Call Number: K48 .E42 2012
Provides general readership with 76 easily accessible articles that take stock of current comparative law scholarship. Contributors include Tulane Law profs Fedtke (44 & 55), Gordley (17), & Palmer (48).

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International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (17 vols.) - Konrad Zweigert & Ulrich Drobnig (Eds.)
Call Number: K530 .I57
Broadest, most systematic compendium on comparative law ever published. Peerless, formidable, & much-cited reference work.

Introduction to Comparative Law (3d ed.) - Konrad Zweigert & Hein Kötz
Call Number: K583 .Z813 1998
English translation of classic German text discusses the nature, functions, aims, methods, & history of comparative law.

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The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law - Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann (Eds.)
Call Number: K48 .O96 2006
Summarizes & evaluates, in 43 chapters, a discipline that is time-honored but not easily understood. Also, each chapter has a short bibliography of the definitive works in the field. Tulane Law prof Gordley wrote chapter 23.


Print Resources

Over many decades, the Law Library has built a substantial collection of print resources numbering in the tens of thousands—many not available online—that can be used for comparative law study. The bulk are shelved on the 5th & 6th floors. These include caselaw, statutes/codes, journals, & treatises. And a lot are in the vernacular. Also, a special Comparative Law Collection with around 1,000 volumes (& growing!) in multiple languages is shelved next to the Maritime Collection on the 3d floor. Additional print resources are shelved on that floor in New BooksReserve, & Reference; 4th floor in Special/Rare Collections & Microforms; & 5th floor in Government Documents.

For more details, search the Law Library's online catalog & see boxes below.

In-House Publications

Tulane Law's major commitment to furthering the study of comparative law is shown partly by its publishing of 3 periodicals:



This information was published as a LibGuide by Roy L. Sturgeon in September 2011 for Tulane University Law School in Louisiana.


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"A Look at Prisons Around the World, With a Spotlight on Our Own"


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