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International and Foreign Law Research: Background Sources

This guide is intended to assist students in the International & Foreign Legal Research class at Florida State University locate important resources.

What are background sources?

Background sources provide an overview of legal issues and concepts in a given area of law.  If you you are unfamiliar with a topic, background sources are useful because they analyze, explain, and comment on the law while giving you a context for your issue.  Background sources may save you time by pointing to relevant primary sources.  And, international law treatises written by "highly qualified publicists" may be binding in public international law and civil law jurisdictions.  General background sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, treatises, journal articles and law reviews.  More specific to international law include unique sources such as yearbooks, digests, and restatements. 

Research Guides

Research guides are great for starting research because they identify and describe important primary and secondary authority and indicate useful research strategies and tips.

Foreign Law
International Law

Dictionaries

Dictionaries in international law are important when first researching an area in which you are not familiar. Terms and phrases may have a slightly different meaning in international law than in domestic U.S. law. Good dictionaries might include citations to international cases or treaties that you might not be aware of when first starting to research.
Dictionaries in international law are important when first researching an area in which you are not familiar. Terms and phrases may have a slightly different meaning in international law than in domestic U.S. law. Good dictionaries might include citations to international cases or treaties that you might not be aware of when first starting to research.
Dictionaries in international law are important when first researching an area in which you are not familiar. Terms and phrases may have a slightly different meaning in international law than in domestic U.S. law. Good dictionaries might include citations to international cases or treaties that you might not be aware of when first starting to research.

Bibliographies

A bibliography is a select list of sources on a specific subject, usually compiled by an expert or subject specialist.  Use bibliographies when starting research to identify relevant works quickly.

Google Scholar

Use to quickly locate scholarly articles.

Google Scholar Search
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