Chapter 14. The Law of Other Countries 51 results (showing 5 best matches)
- GlobaLex (www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/) is a free service with guides prepared by attorneys and librarians on researching the legal systems of more than 150 countries. These guides generally summarize the legal system, describe available documentation, and have extensive links to electronic resources. Published research guides, such as Francisco A. Avalos,
- Part of the difficulty of doing legal research in a foreign legal system stems from differences in language. Even legal systems sharing the same language can have different meanings for the same terms. Legal dictionaries can help somewhat, but they usually provide only a superficial sense of the differences in meaning and usage.
- While thorough research on a foreign law issue can be undertaken only in original sources, print and online reference resources can provide a working knowledge of major legal issues. It is usually best to begin with an encyclopedia or treatise for a general introduction to a national legal system or a specific subject, and then to find translations or summaries of the primary sources. Foreign law research guides with descriptions and links for sources can help clarify the range of options.
- A number of guides to the legal systems of specific countries are published in English. These generally explain legal institutions, summarize major doctrines, and provide leads to research resources. Recently published titles includes Howard D. Fisher,
- Further information on the British and Canadian legal systems and sources is available from websites for their parliaments ((www.parliament.uk), (www.parl.gc.ca)) and their governments generally ((www.gov.uk), (www.canada.ca)), as well as from online and published research guides.
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Chapter 13. International Law 40 results (showing 5 best matches)
- International and Foreign Legal Research: A Coursebook
- The first twelve chapters of this book have focused on researching the law of the United States. In the final two chapters, we broaden our view and look at legal materials affecting our relations with other countries and at sources from outside this country. A modern legal practice often requires knowledge of international and foreign law. Lawyers representing an American firm investing in another country, for example, must be aware of treaties between the two nations as well as the investment and trade laws of both countries. This chapter focuses on international law, while research in the law of foreign countries is the subject of Chapter 14.
- The most thorough international law research is not limited to U.S. sources, and a facility with other languages assists greatly in broadening the scope of research. There are, however, many English-language resources available for serious international law study.
- The U.N.’s Dag Hammarskjöld Library has published more than three dozen research guides on its website (research.un.org), some explaining the major organizational units and others focusing on specific topics such as the environment, health, human rights, or international law.
- Treaty research generally involves several aspects: (1) finding its text in an authoritative source; (2) determining whether it is in force and with what parties and reservations; and (3) interpreting its provisions, with the aid of commentaries, judicial decisions, and legislative history. The resources available may depend in large part on whether the United States is a party to the treaty, so answering that question is an important first step in research.
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Chapter 1. Introduction: Context and Process 103 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Finding relevant information is only the first step towards competent representation. Analyzing that information, understanding its significance, and applying it to a new situation are essential components of the research process. Legal research works hand-in-hand with the legal analysis skills learned in law school classes like Torts and Constitutional Law. These substantive law school classes teach you to evaluate factual situations and to determine the relevant fields of legal doctrine. Legal research skills give you the ability to identify the specific rules that apply to a particular situation.
- Resources in disciplines other than law are also essential in legal research. In the 1800s and early 1900s, American judicial opinions typically cited only legal authorities in support of their conclusions. Many modern judicial opinions, however, articulate quite clearly the social, economic, political and even psychological consequences with which they are concerned. Law has become an interdisciplinary study, and research in materials considered “nonlegal” is an inherent part of legal research.
- Legal research is not simply gathering information, but being able to analyze that information and grasp its significance. Applying rules of law to a specific fact situation, the process of legal research and analysis, requires determining the scope and meaning of various rules and how they pertain to a given situation. It is a process that requires a significant commitment of time and focus.
- “ ‘Legal research’ is not merely a search for information; it is primarily a struggle for understanding. The need to think deeply about the information discovered is what makes legal research the task of a professional lawyer.” Michael J. Lynch,
- As of 2014, 27 state bars provided member access to Fastcase and 23 to Casemaker. Texas attorneys had access to both services, and only California and Delaware did not offer an online legal research service as a membership benefit. For a state-by-state summary, see
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Chapter 10. Secondary Sources (1): Encyclopedias, Restatements, and Texts 68 results (showing 5 best matches)
- There is nothing wrong with doing preliminary research with Internet searches and free online resources such as Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), as long as you recognize that these are only starting points for background information. Further research in legal resources will be necessary to find the more sophisticated detail and supporting documentation required for legal analysis.
- Legal texts and treatises play a vital role in legal research. They analyze the developing common law and contribute their own influence to this development. By synthesizing decisions and statutes, these works help to impose order on the chaos of individual precedents. Although they lack legal authority, some are written by scholars of outstanding reputation and are well respected by the courts.
- Even basic legal texts can be daunting to someone new to legal research generally or to a particular area of law. For a start in understanding and analyzing an issue, it may be helpful to begin with resources written for a more general audience.
- Works such as these provide background information on legal issues, and can place these issues in a broader social or historical context. They generally will not, however, answer specific questions about particular legal situations, and they contain relatively few references to the primary sources needed for thorough research. For more detailed coverage, we must turn to works designed specifically for lawyers and law students.
- To be reliable for coverage of current legal issues, any publication, from treatise to self-help guide, must reflect changes in the law promptly and accurately. Some form of updating is usually essential to preserve a legal text’s research value. An outdated text may be of historical or intellectual interest, but it cannot be relied upon for analysis of current law.
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Chapter 12. Reference Resources 44 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Legal materials can vary greatly between jurisdictions, and a state-specific research guide can provide valuable details and information on sources. Law library websites often have guidance on legal research issues in their home jurisdictions, so browsing these libraries’ websites may yield useful insights. More in-depth guides are published in print for most states. A series of research guides by Carolina Academic Press now covers more than thirty states. Hein publishes guides for several states, and others are published by state continuing legal education entities.
- Tax research is the focus of several published works, including Joni Larson & Dan Sheaffer,
- This text examines legal research generally, but researchers should be aware that specialized areas of law have many idiosyncrasies. Numerous guides to these topics are available. Many law libraries have research guides to specialized areas on their websites, so a first approach may be to run a general search such as “environmental law research guide.” More than 430,000 publicly available research guides across the library community can be searched at the LibGuides Community website (libguides.com).
- Guides have also been published in legal bibliography journals such as
- Law and Legal Information Directory
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Chapter 3. The Legislature (1): Statutes 58 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The role of statutory law in legal research is often underemphasized, in part because of the focus on appellate decisions in American legal education and the complexities of case research. In practice, however, statutes are central to most legal issues, and you should usually ascertain whether there is a governing statute before searching for judicial precedents. Indeed, the vast majority of appellate decisions today involve the application or interpretation of statutes rather than the consideration of common law principles.
- Statutory law plays a pivotal role in the legal system and in legal research. Most court decisions involve the application or interpretation of statutes, and the scope of judicial authority and jurisdiction is largely determined by legislative enactments. Administrative regulations, court rules, and local laws are all based on statutory delegations of power created by statute. All legal research must therefore include the question: Is there a statute on point?
- The annotated codes provide the same research aids found in the official , law review articles, legal encyclopedias, annotations, and major treatises.
- State laws on particular subjects are also collected or surveyed in a variety of other sources, such as treatises, websites, law review articles, and government publications. It is vital that any printed or online source summarizing state laws is regularly updated and that it provides the code citations necessary for verification and further research. One of the most comprehensive online sites is Cornell Legal Information Institute’s topical index to state statutes on the Internet (www.law.cornell.edu/wex/state_statutes), with links to code databases in several dozen broad categories.
- In some ways statutory research is easier than case research, because the major resources are more accessible and more regularly updated. In many situations an annotated code provides most of the necessary research leads. This convenience is undercut, however, by the ambiguity of statutory language. One of the major approaches to interpretation of ambiguous statutes is the study of legislative documents created during the drafting of the statutory text. This research in legislative history is the focus of the next chapter.
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Preface 7 results (showing 5 best matches)
- This work is written as a guide for practicing legal researchers. It covers many more resources than a beginning law student needs but fewer than experienced legal researchers encounter in their careers. The book is arranged differently from many legal research texts and doesn’t prescribe a single path for learning about legal information. Secondary sources are often the easiest place to begin research, but to understand them you need to know something about the primary sources they discuss. The organization of primary sources is based on the treatment of the branches of government in the Constitution. Following discussion of constitutional law, the legislature (Article I) is treated first, followed by the executive branch (Article II) and then the judiciary (Article III). The material is suitable for use in a legal research course, but assigned readings may career wildly back and forth between chapters.
- The first twelve chapters focus on research in United States law. The final two chapters provide a brief treatment of international and foreign legal research, because no modern practice is untouched by globalization. The treatment of international and foreign resources is relatively cursory, with basic information and leads to many more detailed resources.
- Principles of Legal Research is the successor to How to Find the Law, a venerable work that was published in nine editions between 1931 and 1989. It still bears some genetic imprint of that work, but the world of legal research has of course changed dramatically. The primacy of printed materials in law libraries is long gone, microform has become a delivery vehicle of last resort, and even the dependence on subscription databases is fading as government and academic websites take more responsibility for disseminating the primary and secondary sources of the law. Not everything, however, has been digitized or is available free online, and a thorough legal researcher needs to be familiar with both online and print materials as well as both free and subscription online resources. This book provides an overview of all of these resources. It includes a bit more historical background than some researchers may feel they need, but the footnotes may provide a sense of the continuum from...
- The first edition of Principles of Legal Research was dedicated to Morris Cohen, the retired librarian of the Yale Law School who was for many years the lead author of How to Find the Law. I wrote then, “Morris is truly the godfather of legal bibliography, and legal research is just one aspect of his wide-ranging interests. In his ninth decade he still approaches life with more joy and curiosity than just about anyone I’ve met.” We lost Morris in December 2010, but I can still hear his voice in many passages of this book. It continues to be an honor and a challenge to be his successor.
- Legal research, like most areas at the intersection of law and technology, is in a state of flux. At this writing Lexis and Westlaw both offer two distinct interfaces by which to access their information.
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Chapter 8. The Judiciary (3): Case Research 53 results (showing 5 best matches)
- This chapter discusses several major case research tools, but it is not exhaustive. Several resources discussed in other chapters—such as annotated codes (Chapter 3), legal encyclopedias and treatises (Chapter 10), and law review articles (Chapter 11)—are also valuable in case research.
- To make sure you locate all of the most relevant cases, use several different research techniques. This discussion starts with an overview of online case research, the approach most widely used in legal practice today. It then introduces printed tools such as West digests and
- For a discussion of the influence of West’s digest system on legal thinking, see Robert C. Berring,
- As early as 1945, it was recognized that digests were “not usually the best starting point in research. The reason is obvious. In the digests there is neither fusion nor assimilation…. Each ‘pin-point’ is an isolated speck of light; its relationship, if any, to the specks around it is of no concern of the digester.” Paul M. Dwyer,
- The digest changes slowly, however, and it may take several years for new areas of legal doctrine to be recognized and to receive adequate coverage. Because cases in newly developing areas of the law are often assigned to general key numbers, digest research may not be the best way to find cases in these areas.
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Chapter 6. The Judiciary (1): Introduction 13 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The next four chapters concentrate on the judicial branch. This chapter introduces judicial decisions and provides some historical background on case publication. Chapters 7 and 8 explain where to find these decisions and several of the major methods used for case law research. Chapter 9 discusses several other aspects of judicial and case information that are important resources in legal research, such as court rules and briefs.
- A Brief History of Computer-Assisted Legal Research
- , usually available in PDF from the court’s website. Slip opinions are individually paginated documents containing the full text of the court’s decision, but they have two major drawbacks for research purposes. They rarely provide material that would facilitate research, such as a summary of the court’s decision, and because their page numbering is not final they are cited by docket number and date rather than to a permanent published source. Illustration 6–1 shows a slip opinion as issued by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
- The legislative branch makes the laws by enacting statutes, and the executive branch enforces these laws through regulations and other administrative action. The judicial branch decides disputes, but in doing so it creates law and determines how statutes and regulations will be interpreted. The judiciary has a vital place in the American legal system, and reports of judicial decisions are among the most important sources of legal authority in the common law system.
- , of the specific legal issues. Each headnote is assigned a legal topic and a number indicating a particular section within that topic. This classification plan, known as the
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Chapter 11. Secondary Sources (2): Periodicals 65 results (showing 5 best matches)
- For research in legal history, the predecessor to the
- Legal research also requires access to nonlegal periodicals, such as scientific journal articles to underlie a tort claim, contemporary coverage of business developments, or historical newspaper coverage of political changes. These interdisciplinary and fact-finding resources can be just as valuable as the publications of lawyers and legal academics.
- Legal periodicals appear in a wide range of forms, from scholarly law reviews to blogs covering the most recent breaking news, and they serve a variety of research functions. Some law review articles have analyses and insights that merit study even decades after publication. Bar association journals tend to highlight current practice trends, and legal newspapers, newsletters and blogs offer current awareness of new developments. All of these resources can serve as springboards to further research.
- . Some of the most important scholarly commentary in American law appears in the academic legal journals known as law reviews. Since the late 19th century, academic law reviews have been an important intellectual force with thorough discussion of legal developments and analysis of important decisions and statutes. A number of influential articles have led directly to major changes in legal doctrine. Thousands of law review articles are published every year, so effective research requires effective searching and careful evaluation of articles found.
- by students. Articles and essays by established scholars are more influential, but the student contributions can also be very useful in research. Like articles, they usually begin with an introductory section providing a summary of the relevant legal doctrine and citing the key literature. This introduction can provide an excellent overview and a starting point for research. The entire text is usually accompanied by footnotes citing cases, statutes, books, articles, websites, and other sources. An author and a team of law student editors may have worked months to gather citations and verify their accuracy, giving you a good head start in your research.
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Chapter 4. The Legislature (2): Legislative Information 45 results (showing 5 best matches)
- A state guide to legislative research can also be invaluable. Most state legal research guides include discussion of available legislative history resources for their states. Law libraries in the jurisdiction you are researching, particularly the state legislative library, may have posted legislative history research guides on their websites. The Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s “State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory” (law.indiana.libguides.com/state-legislative-history-guides) has links to guides from all fifty states, and law reviews and bar journals frequently publish articles on state legislative history research.
- Official agencies responsible for recommending and drafting new legislation, such as law revision commissions, judicial councils, and legislative councils, often publish annual or topical reports summarizing their work. For recommendations enacted into law, these reports may be valuable legislative history documentation. State legal research or legislative history guides are good sources of information on such agencies.
- The third and most wide-ranging research arm of Congress is the Congressional Research Service, created in 1915 as the Legislative Drafting Bureau and Reference Division. It issues reports like the other offices, but the CRS has no publicly accessible website and does not regularly publish its reports. Each year it produces several thousand new or updated reports, including legal and policy analyses, economic studies, bibliographies, statistical reviews, and issue briefs that provide background information on major legislative issues. These reports are written exclusively for members of Congress and their staff, however, and the CRS does not publish them online or distribute them to the public.
- Researchers are interested in Congress for numerous reasons, such as policy formation, voting patterns, and the influence of lobbyists on legislative behavior. This discussion, however, focuses on tools useful for two basic legal research tasks: investigating the meaning of enacted laws and tracking the status of pending legislation. A number of approaches can be used for these purposes. For recently enacted laws and pending legislation, a range of online resources provides current and thorough coverage. For older bills, the choices dwindle to a few tools that provide retrospective coverage.
- Committee prints are distributed by the Government Publishing Office, but they are not as widely available online as are reports or hearings. FDSys and Bloomberg Law have a limited number of prints beginning in 1995, but the most comprehensive source is the ProQuest Congressional Research Digital Collection, available as part of the ProQuest Congressional system. “Congressional Research” in the title means research performed for Congress, an apt description of the purpose of committee prints. This online collection includes thousands of committee prints dating back to 1830, with PDF images of the original documents and search options including full text and indexed fields.
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Resource Index 83 results (showing 5 best matches)
Chapter 9. The Judiciary (4): Other Court Information 24 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The value of these materials extends beyond litigation to other legal research situations. Rules of professional conduct are applicable to all lawyers, and sources such as briefs and model jury instructions may contain persuasive arguments and helpful summaries of substantive legal issues.
- Research in legal ethics is somewhat different from other doctrinal areas because it has its own distinct body of primary sources. In many jurisdictions, courts have delegated the responsibility for governing the professional activities of lawyers to state bar associations or oversight boards. The law of legal ethics is found in codified rules of conduct, ethics opinions, and disciplinary decisions. Ethics opinions are advisory documents, usually issued by bar associations, analyzing how lawyers or judges should handle particular or hypothetical problems, while disciplinary decisions punish specific acts of misconduct.
- Nontraditional Legal Research: Appellate Briefs
- (in print and on Lexis) contain not only Advisory Committee notes but also headnotes of cases applying and interpreting the rules, as well as other research aids such as references to treatises, law review articles, and legal encyclopedias. These annotations can be quite thorough; the Federal Rules of Civil
- This chapter also covers a number of other resources dealing with court proceedings and legal practice. Briefs and docket sheets contain background information on decided cases or pending lawsuits. Directories and forms provide practical assistance for anyone who needs to contact courts, draft documents, or transact other legal business.
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Chapter 7. The Judiciary (2): Case Law Sources 21 results (showing 5 best matches)
- More detailed information can usually be found on state court system websites and in state legal research guides. The NCSC (www.ncsc.org) maintains a comprehensive listing of court websites, including for most states a link to the judicial branch site as well as links for specific courts. This list provides access as well to the state court structure charts.
- Other online sources have extensive collections, if not quite as comprehensive. Subscription services such as Casemaker, Fastcase, LoislawConnect, and VersusLaw all have more than sixty years of Court of Appeals and District Court decisions. This coverage may not be as useful for exhaustive historical research, but it is sufficient for almost any modern legal inquiry.
- The Role of Official Headnotes in Legal Research
- In addition to Westlaw and Lexis, other commercial online services also provide access to state court decisions; Bloomberg Law extends back well into the 19th century, and sources such as Casemaker, Fastcase, LoislawConnect, and VersusLaw generally have coverage back to the mid-twentieth century or earlier. Although these services may not be sufficient for comprehensive historical research, any of them would provide more than adequate coverage for most contemporary case law research.
- Prestatehood Legal Materials: A Fifty-State Research Guide
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Subject Index 17 results (showing 5 best matches)
Table of Contents 24 results (showing 5 best matches)
Chapter 2. Constitutional Law 19 results (showing 5 best matches)
- For frequently cited constitutional provisions, the citators are most valuable if you narrow retrieval by searching within these results for specific keywords. This allows you to narrow your research to very specific fact situations or legal issues mentioned in conjunction with a constitutional provision. The “Search within results” features only work, however, with 10,000 citing documents or fewer. For major constitutional provisions with tens of thousands of citing cases, it is necessary first to restrict retrieval by document type or jurisdiction before limiting by keyword.
- Standard case-finding tools can also be of value in finding case law under the Constitution. A search in Westlaw or Lexis can combine the citation of a constitutional section or amendment with relevant factual or legal terms, such as “first amendment” within the same paragraph as “commercial speech.” Westlaw retrieval can be even more focused if an advanced search is limited to the Synopsis/Digest document fields, as will be discussed in Chapter 8 on case research.
- Only a small part of constitutional law research, however, relates to locating relevant constitutional provisions. Most research problems focus on historical background, judicial interpretations, legislative actions, and scholarly commentaries. They involve research in case law and secondary sources, using materials to be discussed in later chapters. To a substantial extent, though, constitutional literature is a distinct research field with its own procedures and tools.
- Prestatehood Legal Materials: A Fifty-State Research Guide
- The online versions on Westlaw and Lexis make it possible to search the references and annotations by keyword and thus to find cases with very specific fact situations. There are times, however, when the print volumes may be more productive to use than their online counterparts, especially early in the research process. Browsing through the annotations and understanding the broader context of a particular fact situation can provide a better research framework than simply pinpointing one or two cases by keyword.
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Chapter 5. The Executive Branch 46 results (showing 5 best matches)
- In researching administrative law, it is important to determine what agency has jurisdiction and to develop a preliminary understanding of its structure and functions. In some situations the relevant agency is obvious, but in others it may require background analysis or a close reading of statutory and judicial sources to determine an agency’s role. It is then important to develop an understanding of the agency’s legal mandates and information sources in order to understand more fully the scope and purpose of the documents it produces.
- The first looseleaf services were issued shortly before World War I to facilitate research in the new federal income tax law. By the 1930s other services had developed in public law areas where government regulation was the central focus of legal development, such as antitrust, labor law, and securities regulation. Services are now also published in numerous other areas such as banking, environmental protection, health care, and product safety.
- The LLSDC website also has an informative and regularly updated guide to regulatory research. Richard J. McKinney,
- They create a variety of legal documents which can be important in legal research. A city’s
- The opinions of state attorneys general, written in response to questions from government officials, can have considerable significance in legal research. Although attorney general opinions are advisory in nature and do not have binding authority, courts generally give them considerable weight in interpreting statutes and regulations. Most states publish attorney general opinions in bound
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Copyright Page 1 result
Appendix. Treatises and Services by Subject 7 results (showing 5 best matches)
Acknowledgments 3 results
- Illustration 2–4 is reprinted with the permission of the Committee on Legal Services, Colorado General Assembly.
- Illustration 11–8 is reproduced with permission of the Animal Legal Defense Fund www.aldf.org and the photographer, Maura Teague.
- Illustration 13–6 is reproduced with permission of the copyright holder, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
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- Publication Date: July 31st, 2015
- ISBN: 9780314286642
- Subject: Legal Research
- Series: Concise Hornbook Series
- Type: Hornbook Treatises
- Description: Winner of the American Association of Law Libraries' Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award in 2010, Principles of Legal Research provides encyclopedic yet concise coverage of research methods and resources using both free and commercial websites as well as printed publications. It has been thoroughly updated to provide coverage of WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, and other new resources. An introductory survey of research strategies is followed by chapters on the sources of U.S. law created by each branch of government, discussion of major secondary sources, and an overview of international and comparative law. Sample illustrations are included, and an appendix lists more than 500 major treatises and looseleaf services by subject.