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International Climate Change Law Research Guide: Foreign Law

Introduction

The first step in researching a country's laws is to understand its legal system. The types of sources your research should focus on vary depending on the country. For example, common law countries like the United States use case law to interpret statutes, whereas civil law countries like  Argentina view cases as mere persuasive authority. Finding a Globalex Foreign Law Research Guide on your country of interest is a good starting point for understanding a country's legal system.

Researching a foreign country's laws from scratch can be difficult. Journal articles that provide country-specific overviews of climate change laws are a good starting point. See this page for advice on searching journals. 

Other resources for country-specific overviews:

Most articles focus on international issues, but some country-specific articles are available (for example, see this article on Japanese environmental law, or this article on climate change law in India). Try searching for "climate change" along with your country of interest.

Features some country and regional-specific climate change profiles. 

Surveys & Databases

You can use these resources as a shortcut to find primary law:

A database hosted by Columbia Law School featuring country-by-country breakdowns of climate change legislation, litigation, and executive documents. One of the best resources if you need a quick overview of a country's climate action.

A database listing major climate change legislation by country. The information here is not comprehensive and varies by country . Includes select translations and article citations where available.

A database with translated environmental legislation and jurisprudence. Although the database is based around the broader umbrella of environmental law, it includes a strong collection of climate change-specific information.

A site created by climate change advocacy groups featuring country-by-country ratings of climate change action. Researchers should make extra efforts to verify the accuracy of the information on this site. Nevertheless, the site is a useful resources for quick introductions to climate change policy by country. The "sources" tab on each country profile is particularly useful for finding country-specific articles and primary law citations. 

A list of states with net zero emissions goals enshrined in legislation as of September 2021, including links to legislation.

Comparative Environmental Law

Despite focusing more broadly on environmental law, these resources include some discussion of climate change laws.

Using the Catalog

The library catalog can be useful for finding other books and articles on foreign climate change law. Try running keyword searches on your country or region of interest here:

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