Case Law in PrintCase Law on the InternetCase Law in Beck-OnlineCase Law in Juris
Bundesgesetzblatt (Federal Gazette)Legislation in Free Online Databases and in JurisLegislation in Beck-OnlineLegislation in Print (Including Commentaries)Administrative GuidelinesEnglish Translations of Statutes
Finding Aids for Secondary SourcesEnglish Treatises and JournalsGerman Treatises and JournalsStatutory CommentariesFestschriftenCitator Services
Dictionaries & Language Reference (Online)Dictionaries & Language Reference (Print)Historical ResearchLegal NewsLegal Research for German States (Länder)Legal Studies and the Legal ProfessionLibraries and InstitutesMembership in International Organizations
Administrative Law (Verwaltungsrecht)Business and Commercial Law (Handelsrecht)Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch)Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung)Constitutional Law (Verfassungsrecht)Criminal Law and Procedure (Strafrecht and Strafprozessordnung)Data Protection Law (Datenschutzrecht)Energy Law (Energierecht)Family Law (Familienrecht)Intellectual Property Law (Geistiges Eigentumsrecht)Labor Law (Arbeitsrecht)Law of Obligations (Schuldverhältnisse)Public International Law (Völkerrecht)Religion and Law (Religion und Recht)Social Law (Sozialrecht)Tax Law (Steuerrecht)
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What's New in German Law

This section provides links to recent stories about Germany's legal system and laws.  

The articles listed in this section are organized chronologically (newest first).  They are in German; however, an English-language summary of each article is provided.

  • European Court of Justice: German-Language Test Requirement for Turkish Immigrants Unlawful (Die Welt, July 2014)
    The European Court of Justice has ruled that immigrants from Turkey cannot be required to pass a German-language test to immigrate to Germany. Prior to this ruling, this requirement was in place for immigrants from all non-EU countries. According to the ECJ, this requirement violates a convention between Turkey and the EU that prohibits limits on the freedom of establishment.
  • Neue Gesetze ab dem 1. Juli (Die Welt - June 30, 2014)
    This article outlines new laws in Germany that will take effect on July 1, 2014. Topics: cell-phone roaming charges within the EU, co-pays for prescription medications, consumer bankruptcy insurance, social security benefits, new energy efficiency requirements for certain household appliances, and requirements to stock "warning vests" for passengers in commercial vehicles.
  • Das ändert sich für die Deutschen im Jahr 2014 (Die Welt - Dec. 2013)
    New German laws taking effect in 2014. Topics: increased health insurance premiums for high earners; changes to social security and other benefits for retirees; tax exemptions; changes to bank account ID numbers; changes to the point system for driving infractions; new security measures in German airports for holders of special German, Swiss, and EU passports; property tax increases; increase in postage rates; new medical ID card requirements; ease of hiring restrictions on in-home healthcare workers; and new food packaging requirements.
 

German Legal Research: Wilkommen


This guide provides information about how to use Harvard Law School Library's collection for researching German law.  

It includes references to books, other print materials, subscription databases, and free internet resources.  

Both English- and German language resources are discussed, although its primary focus is on English-language materials.  Where appropriate, languages are designated in the guide by flag icons:

English-language materials 

German-language materials

If you are affiliated with the HLS community and need assistance with German law research, or if you have questions or feedback about this guide please contact Jennifer using the information to the right of this box.

Using and Accessing Subscription Databases

The law library subscribes to several German law databases, including Beck-Online, Juris, and Makrolog Recht für Deutschland.  These are available to HLS affiliates, although note that the library is charged for each document viewed under our subscription plans for Juris and Makrolog.  Therefore, this guide focuses primarily on our print collection, free internet resources, and Beck-Online.  

In addition, German legal databases have few instructions in English.  See the tabs in this guide under Databases for English-language instructions on these resources.  You are strongly encouraged to review that information before using any of those databases if you are unfamiliar with them.

If you have any questions about accessing or using any of our subscription databases, please contact Jennifer.

 

Getting Started: Auf die Plätze, Fertig, Los!

German legal research is easier if you read German; however, there are still plenty of English-language resources available.  

Generally, the same good-practice guidelines apply for both German and U.S. legal research.  

1.  First, learn about the German legal system, including the full and abbreviated names of the relevant legal bodies and institutions, as well as the process by which laws are created and published.  

2.  Next, review relevant secondary sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, digests, treatises, legal periodicals, and legal news publications. In addition to providing citations to primary law, these will help you understand the principles of the topic you are researching.  

3.  Finally, review applicable primary sources, including constitutional provisions, statutes, case law, and regulations.

This guide will aid you in finding those resources in English and in German. 

 

Helpful Websites

Those researching German law may find these websites helpful.  When possible, the English language version is provided.

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Getting Help from a Research Librarian

For help, visit the HLSL Ask a Librarian website: http://asklib.law.harvard.edu.  

This site includes links to all of our research guides, contact information for the research librarians (phone, text, email, chat), and a schedule of our training classes.  

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