The Squire Law Library has extensive and internationally important holdings of Foreign and Comparative Law, with particular strengths in Commonwealth, North American, French and German jurisdictions. Many of the latter include materials in both the vernacular and English. In nearly all instances, primary materials for Commonwealth (particularly for South Africa, Australia, Canada and India) are stronger than monographs. Subject areas which are well represented include Environmental law, Taxation Law, Intellectual Property and Financial Law. There are important collections of Festschrift on Comparative Law and Conflict of Laws. Our medium term aim is to strengthen Constitutional Law, and E-commerce Law.
In the early years of the twentieth century the holdings were developed by L.F.L. Oppenheim (Whewell Professor of International Law 1908-1914) who donated large collections of his books, especially on German criminal law. In mid-century, the appointment of H. C. Gutteridge (Professor of Comparative Law 1934-1941) added fresh impetus, when his collection was added to the library, while the appointment of Dr Kurt Lipstein (later Professor of Comparative Law 1973-1976) as Gutteridge's assistant in 1937 ensured that the tradition continued to modern times.
The appointment of W.A.P.F. Steiner to the Squire Law Library as Assistant Librarian (1958 - 1968) resulted in a significant increase in the library's acquisition of journals, many of which were in the field of Foreign & Comparative Law. Willi also had a major influence on the additions to holdings from the United States and Commonwealth and it was he who devised the classification system that the library uses today. A variation of this system was implemented at the European University Institute at Fiesole where he acted as a consultant.
Although the Centre for European Legal Studies (CELS) in the Law Faculty deals primarily with European Union law, its establishment in 1991 provided an additional focus for comparative law, as it's remit also extends to "national legal systems of different European countries, including those of the former Eastern Bloc, with particular attention being paid to the relationship between those countries and the EU Member States".
From 1955 onwards the Library has benefited from generous grants from the Managers of the Smuts Memorial Fund for complementing Commonwealth Legal materials. Other donations have supported acquisitions in foreign jurisdictions (German law) and for specific subjects (Environmental and Energy law).
A consolidated list of the Squire Law Library 's primary holdings in Foreign and Comparative Law Law can be found on the FLAG database, a collaborative Internet gateway to the holdings of foreign, international and comparative law in UK universities and national libraries.