Map of EritreaCongratulations to Luwam Dirar, Cornell JSD student, who recently published the research guide for Eritrea she co-authored with Kibrom Tesfagabir. The guide, entitled Introduction to Eritrean Legal System and Research, includes the following sections:

  • Constitutionalism
  • Government (National Assembly, Executive, Judiciary)
  • Court structure (regular courts, military courts, Sharia courts, etc.)
  • Legal education
  • Resources for researchers

The guide is published by Globalex, an online collection of research tools for foreign and international law hosted by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU Law. Globalex publishes research guides for many countries, and these are a great, free place to help familiarize yourself with that country’s legal system and legal publications, including Web sites. The foreign law guides are generally written by lawyers who have studied and practiced in these countries. Globalex also publishes research guides about international law and comparative law.

Last week Ken Strutin, the Director of Legal Information Services for the New York State Defenders Association and a contributor to the New York Law Journal, published an annotated bibliography on solitary confinement. The bibliography provides links to reports, law review articles, expert statements, standards, books, news, and organizations pertaining to solitary confinement. Here are a few examples:

LLRX publishes many bibliographies on a wide variety of topics to help jumpstart your research. Browse or search here.

World mapFor researching foreign law, the Cornell Law Library F&I Guide is a time saver and sometimes even a life saver!  This Guide and other guides are available under Research Guides on the Law Library home page.  Use the Guide to start your research or for ideas when you get stuck.  All 192 nations of the world are covered, listed by geographic region under “Foreign Law Sites.”

Once you select the country you want to research, you will see options for “Cornell Law Library Resources” and “Guides and Other Resources,”  but the four links in the brown box may be all you need (described in detail below):

Foreign Law Guide by Reynolds and Flores is the bible for foreign law research.  It is an online subscription resource available through Cornell Law Library and must be accessed via campus computer or through your Cornell ID.  Foreign Law Guide provides background on the history of each country’s legal system and where to find legal resources, both print and online.

Guide to Law Online is a compilation of resources for each country from the Law Library of Congress.  The Guide organizes links under branches of government and links to cases and statutes (among other things), if available.  It is free for everyone.

World Legal Information Institute (WLII) provides online information for countries by topic.  If the information isn’t listed, it is most likely not available online. This Web site is free for everyone.

CIA World Factbook is a respected source for general information about individual countries.  It is a good idea to understand the country’s government and legal system before plunging into foreign law research.  The Web site is free.

Like most online resources, these four generally do not cover information beyond the early 1990s.  For older cases and laws, you will have to look for print resources (use the F&I Guide to find print resources at Cornell Law Library).  It is often difficult to find case law and legislation in English and the information you seek may not be available.  As a last resort, you could call the embassy, a law library, or a law firm in the country you are researching.

Consider using the F&I Guide as a one stop shop for your research needs.  You are always welcome to come to the Reference Desk in the Reading Room for help.

Elena KaganOn May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.  Kagan is President Obama’s second nomination to the Court and, if confirmed, Kagan will be the fourth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.  To learn more about Solicitor General Kagan and the Supreme Court nomination process, there are some high-quality resources on the web that one should access.  Both the Library of Congress (LOC)  and the Georgetown Law Library  have extensive guides.  Both sites provide access to Kagan’s writing, including her law review articles, congressional documents, and briefs and transcripts of her arguments before the Supreme Court.  The Georgetown site includes e-mails, press releases, and other writings from Kagan’s tenure as Dean of Harvard Law School.  Also available are documents prepared in Ms. Kagan’s capacity as Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton.  Of particular interest is the questionnaire—with responses—submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which the Committee uses to begin gathering information about the nominee.

You can also access materials about the nomination process.  The Georgetown guide links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports on the roles and actions of the President, Judiciary Committee, and the Senate during the nomination process.  Nomination hearings transcripts back to 1971 are available, as well as this intriguing CRS Report  on nominations that the Senate did not confirm.  Be sure to check out the LOC guide for links to videos and blogs covering the Kagan nomination.

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