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Introduction to Foreign and International Legal Research

General/Multi-Jurisdictional Online Collections

In addition to country legal research guides, the following are good starting points for locating country-specific primary sources of law:

Regional Resources

Primary Law Materials on the Web

In addition to codes, many countries publish legislation and regulations in publications called official gazettes. The Law Library of Congress summarizes the function of gazettes as follows:

"Official gazettes are primary sources of law published by national governments to disseminate new legislation, regulations, and decisions of governmental bodies. These publications may also contain other information including the text of international agreements, court decisions, official announcements, and government notices. For countries with civil law systems, the official gazette often serves as the sole source of the authoritative texts of laws until updated codes are published. In most countries, a law enters into force on the date of publication in the official gazette."

country legal research guide, such as those found in Foreign Law Guide (VPN required) or GlobaLex, is a good starting point for locating foreign codes or official gazettes, or you can check one of the following online resources:

Depending on the jurisdiction you are researching, foreign case law may be challenging to locate. In addition to country legal research guides, you may find the following resources useful:

Primary Law Materials in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law

Westlaw has some primary and secondary legal sources from selected foreign jurisdictions, including: Australia, Canada, the EU, Hong Kong, Korea, and the UK, among others. However, be aware that the level of content coverage for the listed jurisdictions varies widely. 

To access these sources, select International Materials under the All Content tab, then browse materials by jurisdiction or content type. 

Lexis+ also has foreign legal materials from select jurisdictions. The list of countries covered in Lexis is more extensive than in Westlaw, but the scope of materials included for each country still varies widely.

To begin accessing foreign legal sources in Lexis+, visit the Lexis homepage and click on the International tab. Select a country from the initial list provided, or click on "View All Countries" for more.

Bloomberg Law contains legal materials from Canada, the EU, the UK, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and several other jurisdictions. Foreign and international materials in Bloomberg mainly include court filings or decisions, corporate filings, and international intellectual property materials.

To begin locating foreign & international materials in Bloomberg Law, log in with your Bloomberg Law username and password. In the menu to the left, under Browse All Content, click on All Legal Content Search. Then, click on Select Sources by Global Jurisdiction. From here you can enter keywords to search across all global content, or filter by jurisdiction and then content type.

*Access to Bloomberg Law requires a unique login, available to current UC Davis Law students, faculty, and staff. For registration help, please email lawlibref@ucdavis.edu.