FCIL Newsletter, October 1998
v. 13, no. 1
Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier: An Introductory
Guide to Global Legal Research.
Edited by Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa.
Littleton, Colorado: Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1998. Pp. xv, 294. $ 67.50
Jean Davis, Reference Librarian & Adjunct Assistant Professor of
Law, Brooklyn Law School &
Ian Merrill, International Business Law Fellow, Library Student Research
International Legal Research Seminar Participant, Brooklyn Law School
From its opening paragraphs, this excellent international, foreign,
and comparative law research guide engages readers:
Those who love to travel know the feeling: You yearn to get out of town,
to wake up every morning in a different place, with a clean slate . . .
. And then the newness of traveling wears off and there are the frustrations:
reading road signs, train schedules, and menus in foreign languages; driving
on the 'wrong' side of the road; searching for a bagel outside of Manhattan;
generally, doing without the comforts of home. Like traveling in strange
places, research in foreign, comparative, and international law can be
fascinating, challenging, and rewarding. And then there are the frustrations:
overcoming language barriers, coping with legal concepts and systems that
may sound American but are different, struggling to find a copy of a recent
foreign law, maneuvering through the jungle of documents from international
The introduction characterizes Accidental Tourist as a foreign,
comparative, and international law primer for the non-specialist. This
is as understated as Gary Cooper's performance in High Noon. Accidental
Tourist will assist virtually all researchers. Legal practitioners
who need treaties and treaty status data should refer to the clear, helpful
charts in the "Finding Treaties and Other International Agreements"
chapter. Information specialists who wish to develop foreign law research
skills and collections should review the strategies and sources described
in the "Finding Foreign Law" chapter and the "Specialized
Topics" section. Both Palmer School of Library and Information Science
students (in a summer institute on international organizations) and Brooklyn
Law School students (in a seminar on international and foreign legal research)
have praised Accidental Tourist as a course text. Knowing that Accidental
Tourist would aid Brooklyn Journal of International Law staff, International
Business Law Fellows, Jessup International Moot Court participants, and
many others, our library purchased five copies -- these books are hot items
in the reserve collection!
Accidental Tourist includes 1) key differences between U.S. domestic
law research and foreign, comparative, and international law research (M.
Kathleen Price), 2) a description of Library of Congress "classes"
for foreign, comparative, and international law (Jolande E. Goldberg),
3) an introduction to foreign and comparative law (Thomas H. Reynolds),
4) processes and sources for finding foreign law (Jeanne Rehberg and Mirela
Roznovschi), 5) an overview of international law (Reynolds), 6) characteristics
of published treaties and treaty sources (Rehberg), 7) a review of United
Nations law-related activities and documents (Rehberg), 8) a survey of
European Union legal sources (Marylin J. Raisch), and 9) research chapters
focusing on transnational business law (Victor Essien), international tax
law, international environmental law, and international human rights (Radu
D. Popa). The distinguished chapter authors reference numerous print works,
microform materials, and electronic (LEXIS -NEXIS , WESTLAW , Internet,
and CD-ROM) resources. Authors who discuss international or regional organizations
(such as Rehberg, Raisch, and Popa) describe official, and other commercially
published, materials. Features such as Rehberg's treaty research strategies
for six typical problems and Raisch's "mad cow disease" example
of the European Union legislative process reveal that this book is much
more than a bibliography.
Be sure that your collection includes Accidental Tourist and
the George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics' newly
revised Guide to International Legal Research (3rd ed.). "Accidental
tourists" in the unfamiliar territory of international and foreign
law research and "seasoned travelers" will benefit.
to the next article: "UDHR Web Site Developed for 1998 Annual Meeting"
the Table of Contents