One of the things that makes the Law Library of Congress so unique is its specialty in foreign, comparative, and international law. It often surprises people to learn that the majority of the Law Library’s collection is in a language other than English. The Law Library’s foreign law collections developed as the United States assumed a greater role in world affairs, with a resulting need to equip Congress with knowledge of the legal systems of other jurisdictions.
Of course, having an impressive collection of foreign and international law is only useful if you have the professional capacity to make use of it. That is why the Law Library of Congress employs legal specialists from around the world who cover 300+ jurisdictions, often divided up by language. Many of these legal specialists have a law degree from their country of origin and an LL.M. from a U.S. law school. The legal specialists write reports and provide expert witness testimony for Congress and various executive branch agencies.
If the office requesting the report provides permission, these reports are made available on Law.gov, the Law Library’s recently refreshed website. You can access the Law Library’s reports by topic, region, year of publication, or you can simply browse all of the reports. These reports address specific legal issues for a particular country or present a comparative multinational analysis of legal and legislative approaches to an individual problem in a variety of countries. In addition to the contemporary content, you will also find historical reports from the Law Library dating back to the 1940s, which provide an interesting glimpse into U.S. policy during the Cold War.
We hope you enjoy exploring the Law Library’s foreign, comparative, and international law reports, and will visit the Law Library’s Legal Research Institute to join us for foreign, international, and comparative webinars in the coming year.
The most-viewed reports that were published in 2021 are as follows:
7. Regulation of crash avoidance systems: Australia, Canada, China, European Union, France, Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
2. Belt and Road Initiative: China, Cambodia, Caribbean Countries, Djibouti, Egypt, Greece, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation and Central Asian Countries, South America, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.