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Researching Foreign Customary Law

The purpose of this lesson is to provide an introduction to customary law systems and to offer suggestions for researching the laws of countries where customary law is still being practiced.

Because customary law is not written down and is therefore very difficult to research, the lesson will discuss the importance of secondary sources, non-legal sources, reports from governments, IGOs, and NGOs, and case law or codifications reflecting principles of customary law as might be found in a mixed legal system.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain foreign customary law systems.
  2. Identify and evaluate primary and secondary sources within foreign customary law systems.
  3. Form a research strategy for the questions(s) to be answered.

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