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Foreign and Comparative Law Research

This guide provides recommended strategies and sources for conducting research in the law of foreign jurisdictions.

Research Guide Overview

Foreign and Comparative Law Research Guide

"Map of the Legal Systems of the World" by Maximilian Dörrbecker. Licences under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 Generic via Wikimedia Commons - No image modification.

Foreign Law refers to the domestic law of a foreign state or country, while comparative law is the study of differences and similarities between the law (and legal systems) of different countries. These two areas should not be confused with public international law, which is concerned with the "law of nations" and governs diplomatic relations, treaties, and international organizations.

This guide provides an overview of the major components in foreign and comparative law research and highlights resources and research strategies that can be used when researching the law of a foreign nation. This research guide is organized into the following sections, each with various subsections:

General Materials on Foreign and Comparative Law
Understanding a Foreign Legal System
Conducting Legal Research in a Foreign Jurisdiction

Related Research Guides

The UNC Law Library also provides in-depth treatment of the following international law topics: