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Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research

An introduction to researching foreign, comparative, and international law.

What is FCIL?

While often discussed as a group, foreign, comparative, and international law are three distinct subjects:

  • Foreign law refers to the domestic law of other countries.
  • Comparative law is the study of similarities and differences between the law of two or more countries or systems.
  • International law (or more specifically public international law) is the law of international relations, including relations between countries but also involving international organizations and individuals. (Private international law, or conflict of laws, is beyond the scope of this research guide; instead, see (for example) this guide from the American Society of International Law.)

This guide discusses researching each of these topics. It includes links to resources available at Temple and elsewhere, as well as suggestions for more advanced research.

The “Best Bets” section of this guide includes materials of wide applicability that are good starting points when beginning research on many FCIL topics. If you are delving deeper into one of these specific subjects, consult the separate pages for Foreign, Comparative, and International Law. For more advanced research, consult the Research Guides page for links to guides at other institutions covering various aspects of FCIL research, or contact the Temple Law Library to schedule a research consultation.