In recent decades, the flow of legal ideas across continents and countries has intensified to such an extent that some legal scholars write of the "globalization of law." Digital forms of information storage and communication have made it cheaper and easier than ever for attorneys and judges to acquire and use legal materials from virtually anywhere in the world. Judges in numerous countries increasingly draw upon foreign and international legal materials to help them resolve questions that arise in their own national courts. This project will collect, prepare, analyze, and disseminate information on the globalization of law through national high courts. The current study will record citations to foreign and international legal materials in the decisions of about 40 constitutional or supreme courts, covering a 20-year span of time. The countries to be included represent all of the world's regions and major legal traditions. The researchers will use statistical techniques to analyze the patterns of judicial globalization.
The results of this research will be the first systematic, international, multi-year database of citations to the full range of foreign and international legal materials. Both the data and the analyses will be freely available to legal researchers, law practitioners, and policy makers through an interactive web site.