Where does one find the foreign investment laws of Botswana? What about the copyright law of the Netherlands, the corporation laws of Japan, or the English translation of the Egyptian Civil Code? Already back in 1991, just before the internet, Wallace Baker remarked that “foreign law has become the daily bread of lawyers everywhere who formally had totally domestic practices.” Since then, the need to access the content of foreign law has increased exponentially. The importance of global access to foreign laws on the internet and how to improve it was recently highlighted at an international Meeting of Experts on Global Co-operation on the Provision of Online Legal Information on National Laws organized by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in October 2008. This chapter purports to evaluate the current state of progress in online access to the content of foreign law, provide a world snapshot, and discuss such digital law issues as authentication and preservation for long term access.
Claire M. Germain, Digitizing the World's Laws, in International Legal Information Management Handbook (Ashgate, 2010)