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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: Jul 14, 2014 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 abbreviations & acronyms, see my foreign & international law LibGuides.


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.


Analysis of the British & American Legal Systems

What are some similarities & differences between the American & British legal systems? See what 2 eminent jurists, UK Supreme Court Justice Brenda Hale & US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had to say below:


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: 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.

Comparative Legal Traditions in a Nutshell (3d ed.) - Mary Ann Glendon et al.
Call Number: K560 .G43 2008
Discusses, from an American lawyer's perspective, the 3 major legal traditions of the West: civil, common, & socialist.

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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—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 approximately 750 volumes (and growing!) in multiple languages is located across from the Wisdom Room on the 6th floor. Additional print resources are shelved on the 3d floor in New BooksReserve, Reference, & the Maritime Collection; 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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