Wednesday, October 21, 2009

National & International Law Yearbooks

When researching the law of other countries, yearbooks are frequently helpful. The articles in law yearbooks provide an annual survey of a particular country or region’s activities in the last year, and often reprint cases, legislation or other important documents. International law researchers often consult yearbooks to gain an understanding of state practice.

Duke’s International Legal Research Tutorial contains a section on the major international law yearbook titles and strategies for locating them in a library. In the Duke Libraries catalog, the best approach is to perform a title keyword search for [country name] and yearbook; e.g. new zealand and yearbook. Most law yearbooks will be available in the Periodicals collection on Level 4 of the library.

Electronic versions of yearbooks, where available, will be linked in the catalog search results. For example, HeinOnline offers a variety of yearbooks in its Foreign & International Law Resources library. Although most are focused on international law, national and specialized yearbooks are also included (such as the Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence and the European Yearbook of Minority Issues.) Note that in some cases, HeinOnline may not provide the most current volume of a particular title; check the libraries’ catalog to see if the most recent yearbooks are available in print at the library.

Country-specific databases may also offer certain yearbook titles. For example, LawInfoChina recently added the English translation of the Law Yearbook of China for 2002-2006 to its online offerings. (There is no print equivalent available in the Goodson Law Library, although a similar title, China Legal Development Yearbook, is available from 2008-present in the Periodicals collection.)

For more help locating law yearbooks for a specific country or region, Ask a Librarian.