Foreign Law in the United States
- 1 Foreign Law in the United States
- 1.1 Legal Materials
- 1.2 Countries
- 1.3 Foreign Law in the Context of Service of Process Abroad
- 1.4 Service of U.S. Process Abroad Under New Rule 4(f) and Other Legislative Grants Where Foreign Law Restricts U.S. Service in International Civil Litigation
- 1.4.1 Congress May Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
- 1.4.2 Presumption That Congress Does Not Intend to Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
- 1.4.3 Old Rule 4(i)’s Treatment of Service Abroad in Violation of Foreign Law, RIO PROPERTIES, IN v. RIO INTERNTAIONAL INTERLINK
- 1.5 Use of foreign law in American court decisions
Secondary Sources: Many researchers often start their foreign law research with secondary sources. Some of the best follow:
- The subscription-based Foreign Law Guide: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World by Reynolds and Flores explains the legal bibliographies of most foreign countries, including subject-specific treatises in English [formerly published by F. B. Rothman as a looseleaf under the title Foreign Laws].
- The blue pages of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.
- The foreign law research guides on GlobaLex.
- The Foreign and International Legal Research Guides from the Library of Congress.
- A legal encyclopedia explaining the law for a particular country; as discussed in the “Legal” section of the Encyclopedias entry.
- The “Doing Business in …” guides listed in the Doing Business in Foreign Countries entry (for summaries of foreign countries’ corporate, securities, banking, customs, tax, and other business-related laws).
- The volumes in the Getting the Deal Through series (print and online), which explain the laws of foreign countries in dozens of business-related practice areas.
- The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals can help you find articles on particular subjects. The Index is available in print (William S. Hein & Co.; formerly University of California Press) and on HeinOnline (1985-Current).
Primary Materials / Internet Sources: To find Internet links to primary legal materials for specific countries, (1) look up the entry for the country by name in this Guide and/or (2) check the links posted by the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) and/or (3) check the links posted in the Guide to Law Online by the Library of Congress.
Primary Materials / Print Sources: Some publishers publish English translations of the key laws of foreign countries, notably the Central & Eastern European Legal Materials series by Columbia University’s Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law. There are also many subject-specific compilations of English translations of foreign laws, such as:
- Air Laws and Treaties of the World (Hein)
- International Securities Laws Handbooks (Aspen, formerly Bowne)
- Investment Laws of the World (Oxford University Press, formerly Oceana)
- Mergers and Acquisitions in Europe
- Trademarks Throughout the World (West) (Also in Westlaw’s TMWORLD database)
Constitutions: Oxford University Press (formerly Oceana) publishes the definitive multi-volume Constitutions of the Countries of the World and Constitutions of Dependencies and Territories, each providing high quality English translations. Subscribers can access online editions. Alternatively, the subscription-based World Constitutions Illustrated library in HeinOnline includes the current constitution for all countries (with an English translation), “constitutional histories” for selected countries, plus hundreds of books and articles on constitutional law. Great stuff if you have a password.
If you don’t, the constitutions of many foreign countries are available free on the Internet at the University of Richmond’s Constitution Finder. Georgetown University posts Constitutions from North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. Constitute not only posts the constitutions of many countries, it allows you to pick atopic and drill down to the related section in each country’s constitution.
Legislation: Most countries publish new laws in a Gazette (the equivalent of the U.S.Congressional Record). Many of these Gazettes are posted online; and you can link to most online Gazettes through Government Gazettes Online. If that doesn’t do the trick, see if the Gazette is available on Lexis, Westlaw or at one of the libraries discussed above.
English translations of corporate, commercial, tax and other business-related laws for most countries are included in RIA’s World Wide Tax Law Service, which includesCommercial Laws of the World and Tax Laws of the World. The Service is available by subscription through Checkpoint.
In case of emergency: Guideline (formerly Find/SVP) has offices in 30 countries that do document retrieval of foreign legal materials. See also the separate entry for “Document Retrieval Services.”
For more information: Foreign laws are further discussed in the entries for specific countries (e.g., “Australia,” “United Kingdom”) and specific subjects (e.g., “Patents,” “Environmental Law”).
•St. Kitts & Nevis
•Trinidad & Tobago
Territories, Protectorates, Other
Foreign Law in the Context of Service of Process Abroad
Service of U.S. Process Abroad Under New Rule 4(f) and Other Legislative Grants Where Foreign Law Restricts U.S. Service in International Civil Litigation
Analysis of the Service of U.S. Process Abroad Under New Rule 4(f) and Other Legislative Grants Where Foreign Law Restricts U.S. Service
Congress May Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
Read more information about Congress May Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
Presumption That Congress Does Not Intend to Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
Read more information about Presumption That Congress Does Not Intend to Authorize Service Abroad in Violation of International Law
Old Rule 4(i)’s Treatment of Service Abroad in Violation of Foreign Law, RIO PROPERTIES, IN v. RIO INTERNTAIONAL INTERLINK
Use of foreign law in American court decisions
About the history of foreign law in American courts, see Steven Calabresi & Stephanie Dotson Zimdahl, The Supreme Court and Foreign Sources of Law: Two Hundred Years of Practice and The Juvenile Death Penalty Decision, 47 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 743 (2005) (cowritten by Steven Calabresi, a cofounder of the Federalist Society and a noted conservative constitutional scholar).
In Daimler AG v. Bauman, the “complaint alleged that during Argentina’s 1976-1983 “Dirty War,” Daimler’s Argentinian subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz Argentina (MB Argentina) collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture, and kill certain MB Argentina workers, among them, plaintiffs or persons closely related to plaintiffs.” The near-unanimous majority opinion concluded this:
“The Ninth Circuit, moreover, paid little heed to the risks to international comity its expansive view of general jurisdiction posed. Other nations do not share the uninhibited approach to personal jurisdiction advanced by the Court of Appeals in this case. In the European Union, for example, a corporation may generally be sued in the nation in which it is “domiciled,” a term defined to refer only to the location of the corporation’s “statutory seat,” “central administration,” or “principal place of business.” The Solicitor General informs us, in this regard, that “foreign governments’ objections to some domestic courts’ expansive views of general jurisdiction have in the past impeded negotiations of international agreements on the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments.” Considerations of international rapport thus reinforce our determination that subjecting Daimler to the general jurisdiction of courts in California would not accord with the “fair play and substantial justice” due process demands.”
Doing Business in Foreign Countries