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Comparative law: study & application: Books

Finding ebooks and books in the Bodleian Law Library

Use the tabs above to understand how the Law Bod's collection is arranged. There is an Enquiry Desk on Level 2, just as you enter the main Reading Room: please do come and have a word if you are having any difficulty in using the library.

Looking for a Reading List title?

When you search SOLO for books on your Oxford Law Faculty Reading List you may find that the location is shown as Law Library Reserve Collection. Books in this collection must be asked for at the Enquiry Desk on Level 2. Please remember to bring your Oxford University Card or your Bodleian Reader's Card when you come to the Desk.
Note.  The books in the Reserve Collection are available to all categories of readers, not just those on the particular course.

Help with finding books

The Law Library's collection is fully catalogued on SOLO, Oxford  University's online resource discovery tool. For those wishing to learn more about using searches, we recommend the following:

On Level 2, the level at which you enter the Law Library, an area of the open shelf collection has books with shelf marks beginning General.
This is where you will find comparative studies, and works surveying the response to legal problems in two or more jurisdictions. 

Also on Level 2 is a smaller collection with shelf marks beginning Cw Gen. This has books where all the jurisdictions under comparison are (or were) members of the Commonwealth  (the voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific).

Within General and Cw Gen the books are arranged by the last name of author or editor - there is no further subdivision into topics.

The Law Library is mid-way in project to convert current collections to the Moys Legal Classification scheme. Consequently, some of our newest comparative works may have shelf marks beginning KB. This is true of any comparative texts in the Law Reserve CollectionHowever both these are also Level 2.

Please feel free to ask at the Enquiry Desk if you have any difficulty finding any shelf mark!

The are some free online tools which enable you to keep up with legal developments around the world. Some like Law Over Borders (the second link below) focus on answering the questions a "busy practitioner" may ask about a particular jurisdiction's treatment of a legal topic.

Comparative theory

You may find that SOLO finds some books with shelf marks beginning Jurisp which look as though they might be useful.
The Jurisp - short for Jurisprudence (aka legal philosophy) - is another area of open shelf collection on Level 2 - actually after the end of the General section.

Within Jurisp the books are arranged by the last name of author or editor.

Mixed legal tradition is the term commonly used for the form of legal pluralism which is the historic legacy of colonialism or of close geographic ties. The following jurisdictions have a legal system  which draws on both the civil and the common law traditions.

  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Cyprus
  • Guyana
  • Louisiana (USA)
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • Philippines
  • Porto Rico (Ass. USA)
  • Quebec (Canada)
  • Saint Lucia
  • Seychelles

Legal pluralism can also study the interplay of customary or indigenous and/or religious law (which may be transnational) within the borders of a national entity - which may also have a state-based legal system. This is sometimes referred to as polycentric law.

Subject search terms to use in SOLO:

Legal polycentricity
Customary law 
Ethnological jurisprudence

Related Bodleian guides

Inter-library requests

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the book you are looking for, we may be able to source it through Oxford's inter-library request service.

Recommend a book

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the print or ebook you are looking for, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Oxford Single-Sign On required).