Need a quick overview of a country's law and practice on a particular topic? We've previously written about the helpfulness of Foreign Law Guide and GlobaLex as starting places to locate legal information from non-U.S. countries. A secondary source set which is frequently cited in those resources is the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (IEL).
IEL volumes are published for 25 topics, including Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Intellectual Property, Commercial and Economic Law, Sports Law, Competition (antitrust), and Environmental Law. Formerly available at Duke as looseleaf print publications (which are no longer updated at the Goodson Law Library), the series is maintained electronically for the Duke community and on-site visitors via the International Encyclopaedia of Laws database. (Individual IEL titles will also be directly linked in the Duke Libraries Catalog with a keyword search for the appropriate topic. For example, a catalog search for international environmental law will return a result for the IEL Environmental Law volume.)
All IEL volumes and chapters are edited by experts in the field. Most topics begin with an introductory overview of the topic, before presenting "National Monographs" featuring a country-by-country analysis of that subject. (Some, like Environmental Law, also include regional or intergovernmental chapters, such as on European aspect of the topic.) Individual IEL volumes vary widely in the number of countries included, but even the smaller titles can be a helpful source for information in English about a particular country's current laws. National Monographs often include translations of statutes as well as references to relevant case law. The online volumes are divided into easily-downloadable individual PDFs.
When you see references to IEL volumes in Foreign Law Guide or the Duke Libraries Catalog, give IEL online a try! For help with foreign law research, be sure to Ask a Librarian.