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Foreign Law Research: Cases

Starting points to either collect foreign law sources or conduct in-depth foreign law research.

Source Collection

Step 1: Decipher the citation

To find cases when you already have a citation, start by deciphering the citation. Case citations will often take the form:

[volume number or year] [abbreviated publication title] [page number]

Find the complete publication title and jurisdiction of the source using one of the resources below. Cardiff is on the web. If that is unsuccessful, try the print resources or your Bluebook. T2 of the Bluebook provides country-specific guidance and is now available on the web too.

Step 2: Locate the source

Once you know where the case is printed, find the publication or a database containing cases from that jurisdiction. Then locate the specific case using your citation.  This may be available electronically or only in print. 

If you don't find your case through the resources below, search the web for sites containing cases from the relevant jurisdiction (a government website is a likely resource), or use the resources in Where to Begin to find a guide that will help you locate jurisdiction-specific case databases.

Researching Cases

Similar to U.S. legal research, running a keyword search for cases at the start of your research can lead to overwhelming results and it can be hard to sift through them without context. Starting with guides and secondary sources will help you locate key cases, then you can expand your research as you locate the cases and other related cases using the Source Collection guidance. Where to Begin provides information on finding a guide.

  • Remember, not all countries are common law countries. It's often much trickier to find cases if you're researching a country that doesn't follow the common law tradition.