Laws of Other English Speaking Countries

Although the Law Library's collection of materials from the smaller Commonwealth nations is by no means as full as the English and Canadian collections, there is nonetheless plenty of material for comparative studies. However, one should keep in mind that all of these nations use English law as a starting point and that some preliminary research in UK law is useful. In addition, one should not be surprised to see American and Canadian cases cited persuasively.


Australia has a federal system similar to that of the US and many issues like criminal law and domestic relations law are dealt with at the state level.


The Law Library only carries the federal statutes and reporters. The Acts of Parliament (located in the Sub-Basement range 25 (SB-25); 1901-73 w/ supplements) is indexed by the Commonwealth Statutes Annotations (SB-25). The Law Reform Commission Reports (SB-24; very incomplete set) can provide legislative history for some statutes enacted during the 1970s and 1980s.  Acts of Parliament can also be found via the Attorney Generals Department's Website. Current house and Senate bills can be found on the Australian Parliament's Website at  The library does not carry the consolidated acts of the Australian states and territories, however, access to the acts of all Australian states and territories is available through the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Case Law:

The three case reporters maintained by the law library, (Commonwealth Law Reporters (SB-24), Australian Law Reports (SB-24, 25), and Federal Law Reports (SB-25)) have their own cumulative indexes. While the Law Library does not carry Australian state reporters, the Australian Digest 2d and 3d (SB-24) digest common law decisions from a variety of sources and can be used to determine the outlines of the law of the various states. In addition, the Family Law Reports (SB-25) includes cases from both federal and state courts, and has its own index. (For further research in Australian state law, one should consider a visit to the Indiana University Law Library, it carries several Australian state codes and reporters). The Australasian Legal Information Institute has Federal cases from 1947 and cases from all of the states and territories (beginning coverage dates for the states and territories varies from 1986 to 1998)

The Law Library carries a number of Australian law reviews, including the Adelaide L. Rev., Aust. J. of Fam. L., Aust. Law J., Melbourne U.L. Rev., Queensland L. Soc. J., U. of Tasmania L. Rev., U. of Western Aust. L. Rev., Monash U.L. Rev., U. of Queensland L. J. and Sydney L. Rev., which are shelved with general periodicals on the 2d floor.  Several others are available from the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

New Zealand

New Zealand has a unitary system with no division of jurisdiction. The New Zealand Statutes (SB-25) are the basis of law throughout the island nation. These can also be found on-line through the Parliamentary Counsel Office's Public Access to Legislation Website. The New Zealand Law Reports are the primary law reporter (SB-26; discontinued by the Law Library in 1989). The NZLR is indexed by the Abridgement of New Zealand Case Law (SB-25). The Abridgement has lengthy summaries of the major cases decided and can be used to supplement the NZLR after 1989. Selected Court of Appeal's decisions since 1998 are available from the Australasian Legal Information Institute. The Law Library also subscribes to several New Zealand periodicals, including the Auckland U. L. Rev., Canterbury L. Rev., N.Z. Law J., N.Z. Universities L. Rev, Otago L. Rev., and Victoria U. Coll. L. Rev.

South Africa

The Law Library subscribes to the Law of South Africa (SB-26), which digests South African law, and the South African Law Reports (SB-26), which reports the decisions of the high courts of not only South Africa, but also Namibia (formerly South West Africa) and Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia). The Law Library also carries several South African law reviews. In addition, many important cases from these and other Southern African nations can be found in the Law Reports of the Commonwealth (SB-23, 24; see below).


The Law Library has a copy of the Cornell University Press reprint of the Liberian Law Reports, 1861-1978, the Code of Laws Annotated, 1973, and the Reports and Opinions of the Attorney General. (all on SB-26). Some more recent cases can be found in the Law Reports of the Commonwealth (SB-23; see below).

Other Commonwealth Nations

Selected judicial opinions from other Commonwealth nations are reported in the Law Reports of The Commonwealth (SB-23; 1985-present). Until 1993, the editors selected cases from dozens of smaller common law nations in three topical volumes per year (Commercial Law, Constitutional & Administrative Law and Criminal Law). Now, the four volumes published annually will include cases from those topics and additional topics, such as tort, that fell outside the original plan. A cumulative index was published in 1992. For general information on researching the law of smaller nations, see "How Do I Find: Laws of Foreign Nations".

Bibliography: Enid Campbell et al, Legal Research: Materials and Methods, 4th Ed. (KU 47 .C44 1996); Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth, Vol. 6, "Australia, New Zealand and Their Dependencies" and Vol. 7, "The Commonwealth, Excluding the United Kingdom ..." (KD 51 .L44x).