Global Practice Sources: Arbitration

By Neel Agrawal and Sarah Wolfson

Law librarians and legal professionals frequently consult up-to-date practice materials to understand legal concepts, receive practical guidance, and obtain citations for further research. This series highlights selected practice sources on various foreign and international legal topics. The first topic is international arbitration:


  1. The World Arbitration Reporter. Currently in its second edition, this set provides a general overview of the arbitration laws for over one hundred countries. The National Reports (vols. 1, 1A, 1B) include introductions to the arbitration law in each country, an overview of the current law and practice, arb1and national legislation and cases. This source also covers National Arbitration Institutions (vol. 2), for example, the Indian Council of Arbitration, as well as International Arbitration Institutions (vol. 3), such as the Singapore International Arbitration Center and the ICC International Court of Arbitration.


  1. The ICC International Court of Arbitration Bulletin. Founded in 1990, this biannual source, accompanied by an annual supplement, contains extracts from awards rendered in ICC cases as well as arb2reports and notes that are useful to ICC arbitration practitioners. For example, the most recent issue (vol. 24(2) of 2013) provides annotations to the new ICC mediation rules. In addition to the award extracts, this issue offers guidance about mediation for businesses, tracks current developments in mediation in English law, and discusses dispute boards in France as well as international construction contract disputes.


  1. International Council for Commercial Arbitration Yearbook. Published by Kluwer Law International with assistance from the International Council for Commercial Arbitration and the Permanent arb3Court of Arbitration, this essential source provides commentary and law on international arbitration. The yearbook lists the national reports that are published in the International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration, and provides country-by-country details of new and amended arbitration rules, as well as recent developments in arbitration law and practice. In addition to the arbitral awards, the yearbook also presents the extracts of court decisions organized by international convention.


  1. The Swiss International Arbitration Law Reports. arb4Includes decisions made by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court that address international arbitration. Each case has a headnote, case summary, and the full opinion which is provided in both its original published language along with an English translation. It is useful to consult the cumulative index and the tables of abbreviations, cases reported, cases cited, as well as the table of treaties, statutory instruments, arbitration rules, and other private regulations.


  1. Arbitration International Journal. Published quarterly by Kluwer Law International with assistance from the London Court of International Arbitration, this journal is a great source to maintain current arb5awareness on international arbitration issues. The Arbitration International Journal contains articles for practitioners, such as “Navigating EU Law and the Law of International Arbitration” (Bermann, 2012). Additionally, it highlights current national developments and provides conference updates, book reviews, and case notes. There are a variety of journals on international arbitration, such as Asian International Arbitration Journal and The American Review of International Arbitration.

Legal Translation and Interpretation Tools Recap

By Alex Zhang

One of the positive impacts of globalization is to greatly reduce the cost of cross-border communications and transactions.  The traditional physical boundary is blurred due to modern communication technologies.  Google Books allow readers to have instant access to works published by authors from hundreds of thousands of miles away.  Instant messaging and email allow acquisition librarians to negotiate licenses with vendors from the other side of the world all the time.  E-commerce and the Internet allow librarians to select and purchase materials without having to physically cross the borders.  However, none of the above tasks can be truly accomplished without breaking a barrier that still exists– the language barrier.

With over 190 countries and over 3000 languages being used in the world, reliable translation or interpretation tools become indispensable for all information professionals.  The complexity of legal systems and legal terminology pose an extra layer of difficulty of legal translation and thus stimulate higher demand for useful translation and interpretation tools.  Although the importance and value of accurate legal translation and interpretation attracts more scholarly attention (e.g. here and here) over the years in the law librarianship field, there have been very few discussions on the tools of legal translation and interpretation.

The excellent presentation made by librarians Saskia Mehlhorn, Jim Hart and Don Ford at the 2014 Annual Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries helped bridge the gap.  The presentation was informative, critical and thought provoking.  Presenters demonstrated use of a variety of online tools to facilitate three different kinds of translation projects: translating a catalog entry, cite-checking a source in foreign language, and translating legal documents, followed by a thoughtful discussion of pros and cons of many top-rated translation software, such as Google Translate, Babylon, Systran, etc. Mr. Ford also surveyed useful bilingual and multilingual legal dictionaries both in print and online.  The audience shared insightful comments and experience with using online translation discussion forum, such as the language forums maintained by  The presenters also make PowerPoint slides and an in-depth research guide available on the University of Iowa Law Library website.

All three presenters cautioned on caveats and limitations when using translation tools, in print or online.  For example, Ms. Mehlhorn pointed out that despite being low-cost and prompt, machine translation software “could not read context” and “has no consideration of cultural differences.”  She also shared concerns of privacy and confidentiality protections when using online discussion forums to translate legal documents.

Although the presentation only lasted about an hour, it raised many questions in the area of legal translation and interpretation worthy of further discussion.  For example, how to better utilize translation tools (without complete reliance) to provide accurate legal translation?  Determining sources of difficulty in legal translation will behoove us to find the answer to the question.  Professor Deborah Cao, in her book Translating Law, identified the following sources of difficulty: different legal systems and laws, linguistic differences, and cultural differences.[1]  As a result, I propose the following methods that would help us to use legal translation tools more effectively to provide accurate legal translations: to achieve a better understanding and a solid knowledge of a country’s legal system in advance (e.g. here and here), to consult a legal expert of native tongue if possible (e.g. here and here), to identify an authoritative bilingual or multilingual legal dictionary or an official legal glossary from the country of the vernacular (e.g. here and here), and/or to hire a professional legal translator if appropriate (e.g. here and here).  These methods and tools can help legal information professionals to better resolve issues relating to the diversity and complexity of legal systems and terminology, to appraise the linguistic sources of machine translation software and to appreciate the cultural differences.

[1] Deborah Cao, Translating Law, 23-35 (Multilingual Matters Ltd., 2007)

Upcoming MOOCs on Foreign, Comparative, and International Law

By Loren Turner

A MOOC is a massive, open, online course offered by premier universities to students around the world without charge. Anyone with an internet connection can enroll in a MOOC course and pursue their studies on a variety of educational topics.

The three most popular platforms offering MOOC courses are: edX, Coursera, and Udacity. EdX provides MOOCs created by Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, and is the only not-for-profit MOOC provider. Coursera and Udacity are for-profit providers and competitors that offer MOOCs from other premier institutions. Despite for-profit status, Coursera and Udacity do not charge students for MOOC courses unless students opt to join the “signature track,” which verifies student identity for current and future employers.

Initially, law schools were hesitant to offer MOOC courses in legal studies. But, within the last year, law schools have begun to embrace the idea as a way of exporting their brands, programs, and faculty to a global audience.

Last month, I, along with 7 other faculty members of UF Law (including Claire Germain, FCIL librarian, Associate Dean for Legal Information, and Clarence J. TeSelle, Professor of Law), completed the MOOC we launched in partnership with Coursera, titled The Global Student’s Introduction to U.S. Law. Although our MOOC focused on U.S. Law, comparative and international perspectives were encouraged in the video lectures, discussion forum prompts/posts, and research assignments. For example, Claire Germain recorded a video comparing the French and American jury systems. Also, Professor Sharon Rush prompted students to write discussion forum posts comparing the U.S. Constitution with the constitution of students’ home countries, which sparked a fascinating conversational thread for the benefit of all. Lastly, one of the three research assignments embedded in the course required students to explore the CISG database hosted by Pace Law School as part of their introduction to contract law.

If you are curious about MOOCs and would like to join one for fun (or for serious study), consider the following MOOCs directly related to foreign, comparative, and international law topics:

  • English Common Law: Structure and Principles (Available on the Coursera platform. Taught by Adam Gearey, Professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London. Class is currently ongoing.)
  • International Human Rights (Available on the edX platform. Taught by Olivier De Schutter, Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and at the College of Europe (Natolin). Class has ended, but students can still register and view class archives.
  • Introduction to European Business Law (Will be available on the Coursera platform on January 5, 2015. Will be taught by a variety of faculty at Lund University. If you enroll in the course now, you’ll receive notice via email when class begins.)

Or, visit the edX, Coursera, and Udacity platforms for a full list of MOOCs in any topic area of your choice. Keep in mind that many MOOCs, like ours at UF Law, may initiate and encourage FCIL conversations even when the MOOC focuses on domestic law.

Have fun MOOCing! And please consider sharing your MOOC experiences (for better or worse) with the rest of us by commenting on this post or by volunteering to write a blog post about the MOOC course(s) you joined.

Call For Book Reviewers

With his recent blog post reviewing Crisis in Ukraine, Dan Wade has inspired a new initiative to add critical book reviews to the regular content of our DipLawMatic Dialogues blog.  We have contacted several publishers and many are willing to provide complimentary copies of upcoming titles for review.  If interested in writing a book review, please contact Loren Turner at and she will help in the selection and acquisition process. Happy Reading!



Indigenous Peoples Law Interest Group Report, AALL 2014

By Joan Policastri

The Indigenous Peoples Law Interest Group has been mostly dormant for the past year, but no more. The San Antonio meeting was inspirational, and we hope to accomplish a number of goals over the next year.  We appreciate your input as we work to prioritize our projects.  Some suggested ideas for things to accomplish in the next year include:

  • Setting up our own web page
  • Gathering and posting laws related to indigenous peoples by region
  • Creating a list of serials, both legal and non-legal,  related to indigenous peoples
  • Creating a forum for questions and comments regarding the new KIA-KIX Classification for Indigenous Peoples of North America
  • Coordinating with other interest groups to discuss indigenous law aspects in other areas of specialization (indigenous peoples are concerned with virtually all FCIL areas)
  • Gauging interest in an Indigenous Law newsletter, email list, or blog where interesting members can let each other know what is happening in the world of Indigenous Law and communicate with regard to particular projects
  • Designing a webinar on the topic of Indigenous Law

The opportunity to participate in the “Hot Topic” presentation, “Land Grabbing: Accessing Information to Protect Property Rights of Indigenous People,” was a great way to re-energize. If you were not able to attend the program, please be sure to visit the Wiki for access to the presentations and research materials.

I know that many interested folks were not able to attend the San Antonio meeting. If you are interested in any of these projects or in simply being on any email list, please send me your contact information at and let me know your interest.  And, please feel free to make other suggestions as well.

Many thanks to everyone for your interest and support of the Indigenous Peoples Law Interest Group!  We look forward to hearing from you.

Guide to Legal Interpretation and Translation Tools Is Now Available

gg56368772FCIL-SIS members Don Ford, Jim Hart, and Saskia Melhorn gave an excellent presentation on Translation and Interpretation Tools for Law Librarians last week at AALL 2014.  For those of us who were attending Interest Group meetings during their time slot, or who were otherwise unable to attend the presentation, Don, Jim, and Saskia have created an in-depth research guide available on the University of Iowa Law Library website.  The PowerPoint slides from the presentation are included, along with an overview of issues relating to legal interpretation and translation, and extensive lists of translation tools available both in print and online.

If anyone attended the program and would like to submit a more detailed recap, please contact the blog administrators.

Exploring the World of FCIL Resources at the Global Law Resources Fair

By Amy Flick

The Global Law Resources Fair, sponsored by the Teaching FCIL Research Interest Group at AALL in San Antonio, offered demonstrations of print and electronic resources on foreign and international law.  For a librarian who has few of these resources in her own collection, or who just hasn’t seen them all, it was a great chance to peruse publications away from the Exhibit Hall.

Demonstrators at each table were able to answer questions and point out interesting publications. At Catherine Deane’s table, the topic was Research Guides, and she started a lively discussion on assigned texts and readings for Foreign and International Legal Research classes. Marci Hoffman demonstrated new electronic resources, including improvements to the Foreign Law Guide, with new headings and links to make the database easier to use.

I made notes of titles to recommend to my library for purchase as I went around the room, including textbooks, citators, and several books on Jewish and Islamic law. Even when I wasn’t shopping, I enjoyed getting to see resources that I use regularly in their online versions but not in print form, including official gazettes, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, and some interesting historical works at Lucia Diamond’s Religious Law Resources table.

The Global Law Resources Fair was a nice break from the formal programs at the AALL annual meeting, and I found it to be a great educational opportunity. My thanks to Neel Agrawal and the LA Law Library for making their materials available to FCIL-SIS, and to the table demonstrators who shared their time and expertise with the group.