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Foreign Law Research: Sources of Law

Finding the sources of law for a given country - overview

To locate sources of law for a given country, use a combination of the following resources:
  1. Use the Library of Congress classification system (call numbers)
  2. Use Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
  3. Consult a research guide:
    1. Multi-jurisdictional research guides and bibliographies
    2. Multi-jurisdictional foreign law web portals and research guides
    3. Research guides/pathfinders for research in specific countries (remember research guides can be found in books, periodicals, and on the Web)

Best Bets (i.e. start with these resources):

  1. Foreign Law Guide
  2. Guide to International Legal Research
  3. GlobaLex
  4. Library of Congress Guide to Law Online

Library of Congress Subjects

Many library catalogs will allow you to search the catalog by subject heading (along with searching by title, author, or keyword).  Some ways to take advantage of this more precise style of search are to select a subject search and:

  • Enter "Legal Research (insert country name)" to find legal research guides for a particular country.
  • Enter "Law (insert country name) bibliography" to find bibliographies on a specific country's legal system.
  • Enter "Law (insert country name)" to find general works on the laws of a specific country.
  • Enter "Constitutions" or "Constitutions (insert country name)" to find constitutions or the constitution of a specific country.


Library of Congress Call Numbers

Library of Congress call numbers related to legal materials:

  • KD – KDK: United Kingdom
  • KE: Canada
  • KF: United States
  • KG: Latin America
  • KH: South America
  • KJ – KKZ: Europe
  • KL – KWX: Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica

Multi-jurisdictional Research Guides and Bibliographies