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Foreign Legal Research: when & how Anne L. Abramson Foreign & International Law Librarian The John Marshall Law School Lois L. Biro Law Library.

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Presentation on theme: "Foreign Legal Research: when & how Anne L. Abramson Foreign & International Law Librarian The John Marshall Law School Lois L. Biro Law Library."— Presentation transcript:

1 Foreign Legal Research: when & how Anne L. Abramson Foreign & International Law Librarian The John Marshall Law School Lois L. Biro Law Library

2 Frequent Foreign Law Issues Doing business in a foreign country: what types of entities can do business there? Pros and cons of a particular business organization? (i.e. export/import, distributorship, overseas office) Potential disputes: what law applies; what forum decides; how will judgment be enforced in another jurisdiction

3 When to Research Foreign Law Potential conflicts of law issue Forum selection, choice of law and arbitration provisions Globalization & rising expectations Harmonization: treaty may make it unnecessary to research foreign law in certain areas Foreign counsel

4 Foreign Legal Research Strategies Use secondary sources Find subject collections Preliminary question: does a treaty apply?

5 Hague Conference on Private International Law

6 State Department Website

7 Bureau of Consular Affairs

8 Judicial Assistance

9 Getting to Know You Sources Doing Business Guides Martindale Hubbell International Law Digest Department of Commerce Website University of Ottawa Website Introduction to the legal system of a foreign country (i.e. books, articles)

10 Doing Business Guides s/default.htm

11 Martindale Hubbell International Law Digest Legal>Area of Law – Topic>International Law>Find Laws by Country or Region>Search International Law Digests COUNTRY(germany) & TOPIC(patent!)

12 Department of Commerce


14 Country Information

15 World Legal Systems Civil law: based on comprehensive written codes covering an entire area (i.e. civil); decisions binding only on parties; public v. private Common law: judicial decisions are precedent Customary, Religious, Mixed

16 Finding Foreign Law Foreign Law Guide GLIN: Global Legal Information Network LLRX & Globalex Research Guides Catalogs & indexes: books and articles Last resort: Embassies or consular offices Example: German patent law, Italian commercial agency law—Foreign Law Guide, JMLS catalog, Worldcat

17 Foreign Law Guide Materials Indexed

18 Subject Headings

19 Countries & Jurisdictions Introduction to Legal System

20 Agency & Distribution Agreements

21 Link to Materials Indexed

22 Worldcat

23 Links to Websites Paraguay

24 Global Legal Information Network

25 Globalex

26 Globalex Country Guides

27 Websites of Particular Jurisdictions


29 Websites on Particular Topics: FAOLEX

30 NATLEX of the ILO

31 Global Insolvency Law Database

32 Buffalo Criminal Law Center

33 International Supreme Court Decisions

34 Lexis and Westlaw Coverage

35 Embassies & Consular Offices

36 Understanding Foreign Law Translations: consider currency and accuracy Beware of Babelfish Foreign Law in U.S. Courts

37 Lost in Translation § 202c Vorbereiten des Ausspähens und Abfangens von Daten (1) Wer eine Straftat nach § 202a oder § 202b vorbereitet, indem er 1. Passwörter oder sonstige Sicherungscodes, die den Zugang zu Daten (§ 202a Abs. 2) ermöglichen, oder 2. Computerprogramme, deren Zweck die Begehung einer solchen Tat ist, herstellt, sich oder einem anderen verschafft, verkauft, einem anderen überlässt, verbreitet oder sonst zugänglich macht, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu einem Jahr oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft. (2) § 149 Abs. 2 und 3 gilt entsprechend. § 202c Prepare spying and interception of data (1) who a criminal offence after § 202a or § 202b prepared, by he 1st passwords or other safeguard codes, those the entrance to data (§ 202a Abs. 2) make possible, or 2nd computer programs, whose purpose is committing such an act, manufactures, or another provided, sold, another leaves themselves, common or otherwise accessible makes, with imprisonment up to one year or with fine one punishes. (2) § 149 Abs. applies for 2 and 3 accordingly.

38 Types & Sources From: Hoffman, Marci & Rumsey, Mary. International and Foreign Legal Research: a coursebook Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008). K85.H64 2008 7 th flr Highly recommended: Germain, Claire M. Germain's Transnational Law Research: a Guide for Attorneys, Transnational Juris Publications, (1991-). K85.G47 1991, 7 th flr Common LawCivil LawPublic International Law Private International Law Primary SourcesConstitutions Statutes Regulations Court Decisions Constitutions Statutes Regulations Treaties Customary Generally recognized principles of law National law Treaties Customary Law Secondary SourcesScholarly commentary Court decisions Scholarly commentary Court decisions Teachings of publicists (scholarly commentary) Court decisions Scholarly commentary

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