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Researching an Unfamiliar Country’s Law

The following is a guest post by Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division.

Have you found yourself needing to research a jurisdiction that you know next to nothing about?  Because I studied law in Bangladesh, I will use that country as an example to provide some tips on how you could go about conducting your research.

A good place to start is the Law Library’s quick reference site, the Guide to Law Online.  For example, just click on the Nations of the World and select Bangladesh.  This site takes you to a number of valuable resources available at the Law Library of Congress and also links to sites outside the Library.  (If you are interested in learning more about the Guide, see Christine’s post.)  You might also want to check to see if the country you are researching is included in our Foreign and International Law Research Guides.

Sangsad Bhaban (Bangladesh Parliament). Photo by Manzurur Rahman Khan via Flickr.

You may also search our Online Catalog to locate print publications available at the Law Library of Congress.  This could include primary and secondary sources.  For example, we have all the versions of Bangladesh Code in print, including the most recent 38-volume edition published in 2007.

Law reports and periodicals are also helpful for finding up-to-date information.  For example, we have a subscription to the Dhaka Law Reports. This monthly publication contains the High Court and Supreme Court cases, in addition to the current laws of Bangladesh, as passed by the Parliament.

Another good place to look for primary materials is in the official gazettes.  For example, we have the Bangladesh Gazettes, including the Extra Ordinary Gazettes published since Bangladesh became independent, as part of our microform collection.  Each country will have different processes relating to publishing their gazettes – Bangladesh Gazettes are published every Friday, and the Extra Ordinary Gazettes are published as a special edition when there is a request by the issuing authority.

In addition, reference librarians such as myself are here to help you with your research.  Just visit us in the Law Library of Congress Reading Room.

One Comment

  1. Rebecca
    January 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Ms.Sellers, thank you for creating “Researching an Unfamiliar Country’s Law.” As a new-ish Government Documents Librarian, I appreciate this guide and the helpful links on laws from other countries. Regards, Rebecca

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