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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 States

U.S. laws are often called Codes or Session Laws. For U.S. legal research, consider whether you are dealing with a Federal or State law.

U.S. legislative publication patterns are different than in Canada. Acts are first published as Session Laws or Statutes at Large (similar to annual statutes and are called Public Laws), then part of the Code (by topic), then they are published in Annotated Codes. Regulations are rules passed by governmental agencies or departments, published in the Code of Federal Regulations or administrative codes.

To determine legislative intent look at committee reports and case law.

Impact of U.S. law on Canadian Law

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

Secondary Sources

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

There are two general legal encyclopedias in the U.S. – American Jurisprudence (Am Jur) and Corpus Juris Secondum (CJS); both are available on Westlaw.  Each encyclopedia 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.

Most legal databases will include U.S. law journal articles.

Finding Legislation

Legislation is part of primary legal materials and includes Acts, Statutory Instruments, Orders in Council etc. Internet sources to find legislation include government websites or LII for Acts, Hein Online, Quicklaw, and Westlaw.

Government Websites