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Foreign Law Research: Structure of a Legal System

Structure of Legal System - Overview

When analyzing the structure of a country's legal system, you are generally trying to answer two questions:

  1. What type of legal system does the country have (ex. "civil law," "common law," etc.)?
  2. What are the specific sources of law for the country?

There are a number of useful resources that can be consulted to answer these two questions.

Determining the Type of Legal System

There are a number of useful resources for determining the type of legal system for a given country. Furthermore, many works provide in-depth analysis of the features of legal systems.

There are many in-depth treatises that examine different types of legal systems in general as well as the given type of legal system in place in specific countries. Several of the major treatises in this area are listed below. Consult the "World Legal Systems Web Site: General Bibliography" for an extensive listing of articles and books addressing this topic.