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LAW Foreign Legislation

Foreign law is the domestic, national or internal law of a country or jurisdiction.This guide is intended to help researchers locate the legislation of foreign jurisdictions.

Accessing the law of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (U.K.) includes England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Statutes passed by the U.K. Parliament may also apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

European Union (E.U.) law has had an impact on U.K. law since the European Communities Act of 1972. The House of Lords ruled in Factorame litigation that E.U. law overrides domestic law. When the E.U. law applies to U.K., look for E.U. Directives. Statutory instruments may be passed under the E.U. Directive.

The U.K. consitution is unwritten, but includes Statutes, E.U. law, cases, treatises and conventions or customs.

To determine legislative intent look at: white papers, committee reports, Hansard, Law Reform Commission Reports and case law.

British documents may be dated by  "regnal" year (for example 55 Elizabeth II) meaning the year "of the reign".

Legislatures and Government Websites

Magna Carta

The law library collection contains many books and ebooks on the subject of Magna Carta.

Finding Legislation

Legislation is part of primary legal materials and includes Acts, Statutory Instruments, Orders in Council etc. The English Statutes are complete from Magna Carta to 2004 in two sets on the law library first floor (KD125 and KD129). Internet sources to find legislation include Parliament's website for Bills, government website or BAILII for Acts and the Westlaw database for U.K Bills and U.K. Statutes. For consolidated legislation, go to the government website.The government's website should have the most current legislation.

Secondary Sources

Start  legal research with secondary sources, including encyclopedia, books and journal articles.

The U.K.'s legal encyclopedia is Halsbury's Laws of England (KD310 .H38) available in print on the 1st floor of the law library. Halsbury's Laws provides a brief introduction to the topic and  includes laws, subject index, consolidated table of cases, consolidated table of statutes, consolidated index and supplement.

Use the library catalogue or the big search box on the main library page to locate books. The leading U.K. publisher is Sweet and Maxwell.

The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is available on the database HeinOnline. If a journal is on there, it will be available in fulltext.

Impact of U.K. law on Canadian Law

In Canadian law, U.K. law is only persuasive and the degree of persuasiveness is affected by statutory provision, court level, judge and/or facts.