The Lillian Goldman Law Library has an extensive collection of foreign, comparative and international legal materials. It has over 200,000 monographs in the major western European languages, as well as Slavic, and has a growing collection of Chinese language monographs. Collection strengths in foreign law include the civil law jurisdictions of France, Germany, Italy and Spain as well as the common law jurisdictions of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. There are also growing Chinese and Latin American collections. Collection emphases include constitutional law, environmental law, and legal history. There is also a wide range of serials and primary sources including codes, legislation and court reports.

The international collection is stronger in public international law, particularly humanitarian law and human rights, than in private international law, but there is a recent focus on the latter particularly on trade and corporate law. The library maintains the READEX law library of United Nations documentation. In addition to the print materials, there is a microform collection and a growing number of on-line data-bases.

The Law Library also develops collections in comparative law, Ancient Greek and Roman law,  Canon, Islamic and Judaic law, and a sizable collection of materials relating to international relations and contemporary international legal issues.

It is important to note that the Law Library’s collections are supplemented and augmented by the strong legal collections in the Sterling Memorial Library collection, and that the Law Library maintains a separate catalog, Morris.

Special Collections

Rare Book Collection

Half or more of the collections in the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room are foreign and international in nature. Chief among these is the holdings in English law, a traditional strength of the Law Library. The William Blackstone Collection is the world's largest collection of the works of Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), author of Commentaries on the Laws of England, the most influential book in the Anglo-American common law tradition. All of the significant works and genres of English common law are well represented.

Another strength is Roman and canon law, which form the basis for modern European law and many of the world’s other legal systems. The deposit of the Roman and Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1,600 volumes) greatly enhances collection strengths in this field.

The collection of early Italian statutes and ordinances is one of the largest in the U.S., rivaling the collection at the Library of Congress. It contains over 800 volumes, including 55 manuscripts and a dozen incunables. These collections of local laws, or statuta, are rich sources of legal, social and economic history for the various city-states and territories that eventually formed the Italian nation.

Also prominent in the collection is a strong selection of the classic works in international law, the law merchant, and maritime law, including over 30 editions of Hugo Grotius’ classic The Rights of War and Peace (De jure belli et pacis).

Curiae and Avalon

The library hosts three digital projects bearing on foreign and international law. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School hosts digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy, and government. The Curiae Project features direct links to information about the most commonly cited Supreme Court cases and access to Supreme Court records and briefs. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Videotape Collection features eighty-four episodes of news broadcasts assembled by journalist Max Du  Preez covering the history and activities of the Commission. Another related database maintained by the Yale Law School is Project Diana,  a human rights archive at Yale that includes human rights case law decisions and human rights treaties.  

International Involvement

Lillian Goldman Law Librarians are involved with a number of organizations relating to foreign and international law: The International Association of Law Librarians (including the editorship of its International Journal of Legal Information),  The Foreign, Comparative and International Law Special Interest Section  of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials, and the American Society of International Law (including the editorship of the human rights database in EISIL.) The Library also is active in the regional consortium, the Northeast Foreign Law Librarians Cooperative Group. The Law Library has also recently become a member of the International Federation of Library Associations.  

Foreign, International & Transnational Research Guide

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