Finding the Law of the Micro-States and Small Jurisdictions of Europe

By Andrew Grossman

Andrew Grossman is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who served in Seoul, Abidjan, London, Tehran, Algiers and Geneva. He holds the degrees of B.A. in Economics (Clark), LL.B. (Columbia), M.A. in L.I.S. (University College London) and of Licencié en droit européen et international, Maître & Docteur en droit (Louvain-la-Neuve) and is a member of the New York Bar. He now lives in London and in Switzerland, where he researches private international law issues, especially in the fields of nationality and tax. Among his publications are “Conflict of Laws in the Discharge of Debts in Bankruptcy”, 5 Int’l Insolvency Rev. 1 (1996), “Nationality and the Unrecognized State”, 50 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 849 (2001), “Birthright citizenship as nationality of convenience”, Proceedings, Council of Europe, Third Conference on Nationality, Strasbourg, Oct. 11-12, 2004; and “‘Islamic land’: Group Rights, National Identity and Law”, 3 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E.L. 53 (2004). His previous work in this series is “A Research Guide to Cases and Materials on Terrorism” and “FATCA: Citizenship-Based Taxation, Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements and American Citizens Abroad” He has begun a project analyzing the limits of national autonomy in matters of nationality under European law.

Published February 2019

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This article aims to provide an introduction to finding the sources of primary and secondary law for the “small jurisdictions” of Europe: the distinct European political entities having a population under one million persons. This update contains what materials and links have been accessible in English or the vernacular language from special areas and European enclaves and exclaves that have legal rights: either some degree of home rule or special residency and tax provisions. Suggested readings have been added to the listings for each jurisdiction based on their value to research in comparative law, and many citations and links to cited cases and works have been added. More than the original article it replaces, this version concentrates on the law and practice in those sectors that distinguish micro-states as legal and economic entities: bank secrecy, flexibility in trust management, tax sparing, asset protection, shipping, and political and juridical stability.

No attempt has been made to make the country sections entirely parallel. The first priority has been to identify online and print sources of primary law. Beyond that, secondary sources and commentary are provided when they are known to the author and when it is believed a bibliography would be difficult to develop by simple query on one of the OPACs listed below. Enclaves and exclaves tend to have limited differences in substantive law: their main distinction is in taxation and pragmatic concessions due to geography and access to the economy and social services of the contiguous State. Nordic, NATO and similar multilateral documents and links are generally listed only once, on the assumption that a reader interested in, say, the Faroe Islands will read through the Greenland and Iceland sections as well. All links were visited during August 2018. Some links, especially links to internal pages and those intended for student downloads, may have limited life spans.[1]

Country or Area

Approx. Population[2]



Cyprus (Republic)[3]


British Sovereign Base Areas


Northern Cyprus


Faroe Islands
















San Marino






Vatican State[4]


U.K. European Dependencies







Isle of Man


Other Areas with Distinct Legal Concessions

Åland Islands (2013)


Baarle-Hertog/Baarle Nassau

2,705 & 6,611

Büsingen am Hochrhein (2011)


Campione d’Italia


Ceuta (2014)








Mount Athos




2. Background

The micro-states and juridically autonomous small jurisdictions of Europe owe their existence to historical anomalies; vested interests seem to have assured their survival. Of the jurisdictions covered, only ten possess internationally recognized sovereignty. At least in the case of Northern Cyprus, lack of such recognition may impede foreign courts from giving force to its administrative and juridical acts and recognition to the status of inhabitants abroad except insofar as a “subordinate level of government theory”[6] or a pragmatic or sympathetic legal approach or the “Namibia Exception” (particularly in family-law matters) intervenes. For this reason, conflict of laws and foreign relations law need to be reviewed. In the United States, the case law on alienage jurisdiction has sometimes yielded curious results with respect to the bringing of cases by or against nationals of non-sovereign political entities in federal court, such as Matimak Trading Co. v. Khalily, 118 F3d 76 (2d Cir 1997), cert. denied 522 U.S. 1091 (1998) (Hong Kong, pre-reversion; holding abrogated by JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd, 536 U.S. 88 (2002). The access to U.S. courts of unrecognized states and territories and their nationals (such as North Cyprus) remains problematic. Inhabitants of breakaway territories and provinces including Transnistria may face similar difficulties to the degree that their nationality laws recognize as citizens persons who are excluded as such under the laws of the recognized state. Such territories also raise interesting questions of treaty law and status with respect to international organizations, and the researcher may wish to look at relevant data sources. Many micro-states have powerful advocates with access to the government and legislature of a nearby, protecting or sovereign power; the dynamics of tax-law legislation[7] and the international-law principle of sovereign equality[8] are important factors behind their viability.

Historically the economically-active jurisdictions covered have depended on flight capital, entity hosting, trusts, shipping and tax advantages or some combination of these for their economic survival. The issues have been extensively debated in international organizations and discussed in the legal literature. All the sovereign states reviewed here except the Holy See are members of the Council of Europe. In addition, because they are associated in varying degrees to the European Union and the euro, EU (and EEA and EFTA) law may need to be reviewed in relation to issues concerning the non-sovereign European UK territories, plus at least Malta and Cyprus. Cyprus, Malta and Gibraltar (and other UK dependencies) are within the British Commonwealth[9], which are relevant in some cases in the application of UK tax and immigration law. See the British Nationality Act 1981, the Immigration Act 1971, and the Immigration Act 1988; for the history of British nationality, see Clive Parry, British Nationality Law and the Law of Naturalisation (1954). Note that citizens of the Republic of Ireland are not aliens in the United Kingdom; see the Ireland Act 1949, and Good Friday Agreement (1998)[10].

Luxembourg is a member state of the European Union and is the seat of the European Court of Justice; the Republic of Cyprus and Malta became EU member states on May 1, 2004. The legal system of Andorra was discussed in a 1970 article in the American Journal of Legal History; it has a number of arrangements with the European Union. Liechtenstein and Iceland are member states of the European Economic Area. With respect to Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, relationships with the respective “protecting” powers (France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy), and with the European Union, are governed by treaties which may need to be examined; some of these treaties are cited below. Iceland is a member of the Nordic Council. The Iceland Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a webpage on Icelandic cooperation with other Nordic countries. See also the European Commission page on the use of the euro outside the euro area.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has a functioning body of laws and legal system, but as it is recognized de jure only by Turkey, its inhabitants may be treated by other countries as Cypriots, Turks or stateless, depending upon facts and circumstances in each case. Turkish law may apply for certain transactions; the shipping, banking and financial, postal and communications systems are integrated with those of Turkey. Under the Turkish Nationality Law, No. 5901, Art. 42 “citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus who apply for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship shall acquire Turkish citizenship if they declare in writing that they wish to become Turkish nationals”.

3. Selected Scholarly Materials on Micro-States

The following is in reversed chronological order.

4. Finding Print Sources of Primary Law

Where available and relevant, the name and URL (or street address) is provided of one or more major national law library(ies). In addition, the laws of many (but not all) the jurisdictions are available for consultation at major repositories of foreign law, including:

In the United States, the Center for Research Libraries has undertaken historical collection of foreign official gazettes (shelf code: FOG). Other recommended sources of official gazettes and information about them are:

Especially for historical legal materials, researchers may also wish to consult:

Most British Library historical holdings of official gazettes are not now reflected in the British Library OPAC; they are recorded in a card file in the Science, Technology and Business Reading Rooms. Current issues are more likely to be found in the UK at

Present and former U.K. dependencies

5. Sources of Law on Particular Subjects

The Council of Europe[11] requires its member states to provide translations and summaries of various laws (in English or French translation), and researchers may contact the relevant CoE office for details and, in some cases, copies of the resulting work product. The CoE site is an important source of primary and secondary law.

Other international organizations which may be sources of legal materials are:

Immigration: Schengen Area issues:


Commercial law

6. Conflict of Laws Rules

The common-law jurisdictions reviewed will follow, generally, Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws, 15th edition published in 2017. However, where European Union law, specifically the Brussels and Lugano rules, do not apply, the common law rules last set out and annotated in the 11th edition (1987), superseded in England, should be considered. See the BYU Law Library Conflict of Laws Study Guide of a list of U.S. texts.

For civil law jurisdictions, finding guidance is more complex in the absence of a specific statute. Such statutes and/or treatises dealing with the subject on a national scope are included in the descriptions of each jurisdiction. See also the paper prepared for Seminar für Internationales Privatrecht, Wirtschaftsrecht und Verfahrensrecht (MS Word, 2002/2003) including a list of statutes on page 15). Batiffol & Lagarde, Droit international privé (7th ed. 1984, 8th ed. 1993) is a good starting point for researching civil-law practice generally. On Brussels and Lugano, see Rodrigo Rodriguez, Die Revision des Brüssels und Lugano-Übereinkommens im Kontext der Europäisierung von IPR und IZPR (2002).

Note: This is a compilation of sources of the law based on personal visits to all the jurisdictions and national libraries listed (except for Iceland and Malta), and on consultation with law librarians. Small countries have come to appreciate that easy access to their law is an important element of commercial prestige and recognition and further development in collections of digital information can be expected. While we have concentrated upon online resources, some print resources are listed, especially for those jurisdictions that are largely ignored by major libraries.

7. General Sources of Information on Foreign, International and Comparative Law

A source of country-by-country bibliographies and legal-system overviews is the Reynolds and Flores Foreign Law Guide, although it is pricey considering that much of its content is historical material or public-domain data available elsewhere on the Internet. It would also be helpful if the country introductions indicated the names of the relevant local legal expert and the year of last update.[12] Nevertheless, for those with access, it is a good first stop for researchers new to a jurisdiction, especially those who lack the relevant language skills. Researchers without access to the online version can consult the same editors’ loose-leaf compilation “Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World” (below) and use the sources given here to develop much of the same bibliographic and background material.

Country Commercial Guides, U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets (formerly Background Notes) and Human Rights Reports published by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State will generally mention economic and legal issues of concern to the U.S. Government. Other material appear in the Post Reports intended as guidance for U.S. Government employees assigned overseas and formerly published on the Department of State website, and the Foreign Affairs Manual, containing operational instructions and the State Dept. Visa Reciprocity and Civil Documentation finder, background information on local judicial and public records systems.

Researchers are also advised to look at the traditional comparative-law sources, such as those listed on the Georgetown University Law Center’s International & Foreign Legal Research guide to Researching Latin American Legal Systems, upon which the following list is based in part:

For readers of French, several relevant loose-leaf publications with comparative-law content are published by Dalloz and by Juris-Classeur. Additional sources may be found in print and online. For example, Penn State University Comparative Commercial Law Research Guide and Bibliography.

8. General Sources, Common to More than One of the Jurisdictions under Study

European Integration:

International Organizations:

Legal databases:

9. European Integration

Luxembourg and, since May 1, 2004, Cyprus and Malta are member states of the European Union; Liechtenstein and Iceland are members of the European Economic Area. Gibraltar is within the EU for some purposes, including free movement of persons. It is not within the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) or its customs union. This is stated in the UK Treaty of Accession (OJEC 1972 L-73/201) (and see EU Brexit negotiating documents). However, that agreement is otherwise unclear on the subject and there is limited law on point; so, the extent that EU law on free movement of goods applies remains arguable. The ECJ decision of Sept. 23, 2003 in case C-30/01, Commission v. United Kingdom (non-implementation of directives on dangerous chemical substances, noise emission, packaging waste and genetically-modified organisms) discusses the subject in some depth. On immigration issues, see Regina v. Director of Labour and Social Security, ex parte Amimi Mohamed, [1992] 3 C.M.L.R. 481 (Sup. Ct. Gib.; application of EEC-Morocco cooperation agreement). A history of financial scandals including the Barlow-Clowes affair (Regina v. Clowes, [1994] 2 All E.R. 316 (C.A. Crim.)) has called attention to the nature of financial services regulation. The Lloyd’s of London cases illustrate the dynamics of pre-empting, out of comity, the “interests” and rules of the investor’s jurisdiction by those of the securities-issuing jurisdiction.[13] The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are subject to certain EU laws; the extent of this is open to some debate; see:

Other references are listed in the relevant country outlines, below. With respect to EEA member states, note particularly the acquis regarding the relationship with member states of the EU and the Lugano Convention[14] on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Guides to finding European Union law include:

The European Free Trade Area is comprised of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein; see the web site for details of the Secretariat, Surveillance Authority and Court, and the EFTA Court site for case reports and legal texts. The European Economic Area includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Switzerland has more than 200 bilateral agreements with the EU; Wikipedia has a chronology of Switzerland-EU relations

Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican (among the jurisdictions under study) are part of the European Central Bank (euro) currency union. See:

A search of EUR-LEX will yield a substantial number of documents and communications on the subject, such as the written parliamentary question of Daniel Féret, Oct. 10, 1998 (Note that the euro is the de facto currency of the successor states of Yugoslavia (via currency boards and euro notes in circulation) and of the CFA (BCEAO website), the CFP (IEOM Web site) zones and other French Overseas Territories and Departments with linked currencies; and that the euro currency provisions constitute part of the acquis[15] and the new member states of the EU will be required to adopt the currency in due course). As to the history of the European monetary system, see

All the jurisdictions considered except North Cyprus and the Vatican are member states (or subordinate entities of member states) of the Council of Europe; certain European Court of Human Rights cases (see below) have treated Turkey (a signatory state) as responsible for some acts of the North Cyprus administration. The CoE site includes a searchable database of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

10. Taxation and Finance

Much of the attractiveness of the micro-states derives from their tax position. The importance of tax law and policy to the European micro-states is apparent from the European Union policy statements; an article by EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, published Feb. 14, 2003, “Tax reforms and European and international co-ordination of taxation: the main issues,” and the European Commission Web page “EU Tax Policy Strategy.” The challenge for the micro-states is that their economic viability may depend upon their ability to serve as safe havens and secure “vectors” for capital. Online tax law resources (fee based; but larger university law libraries are likely to subscribe to one or more) include:

Although the U.S. Treasury has seemingly retreated from its prior support of the OECD project against tax havens,[16] the OECD has continued its project with European Union support, and its archives may be a source of useful material. The US and UK tax authorities are no less active in the pursuit of holders of unreported offshore accounts:

FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the resulting U.S. disclosure agreements (IGAs) with many countries and registration by foreign financial services providers, and the European Union Savings Directive are among recent initiatives that have seriously impacted economics and banking in offshore jurisdictions, including most of the countries and territories under review here. The United States claims an exorbitant jurisdiction to tax, including its citizens by descent who may never have been documented as such, never visited the United States, and never had any assets or income based there. Current (2014) draft revisions to tax and extradition treaties could extend the reach of the U.S. authorities and generate conflict with treaty partner countries, as has already occurred with respect to terrorism-based extradition provisions when used to extradite British citizens accused of cyber- and financial crimes. To some extent tax crimes have already been assimilated to common-law fraud and money laundering, enabling extradition under existing law, but new provisions would eliminate the dual criminality rule, already seen with respect to the European Arrest Warrant for listed offenses.

Tax havens remain a means of reducing corporate and trust taxation, however, subject to rules relating to “shadow directors” (effective control); see

Conflict in tax matters with micro-states, and offshore jurisdictions generally, may result not only from contrived jurisdiction through trusts and legal entities but from facts, and occasionally doubt, in matters of domicile, residence, ordinary residence, habitual residence and nationality. Dual residence may give rise to anomalies as well, such as Caron v. The Queen, Docket No. 95-4210-IT-I (Can. Tax. Ct. 1998) (French and Canadian residence; taxpayer employed in France, family resident in Quebec).

On the matter of offshore incorporation of trading entities (corporate inversions, expatriation) as a tax sparing measure, see:

As the New Zealand Winebox case showed (in connection with the Cook Islands) it is not unknown for a foreign sovereign government to be complicit in a tax evasion scheme:

There is a general concern and distrust in relation to offshore jurisdictions where bank secrecy and lack of surveillance make tracing of funds difficult and facilitates not only tax evasion but organized crime; the essence of money laundering. See Jack A. Blum et al., Financial Havens, Bank Secrecy and Money Laundering, United Nations Global Programme Against Money Laundering, Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (1998?). The Internal Revenue Service, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and European Commission websites have an extensive coverage of money laundering crimes and Transparency International has published a report and has a page of links entitled “Anti-Money Laundering: Tougher Oversight Required” (Dec. 12, 2014). This writer’s 2017 update of the GlobaLex article on laws relating to terrorism includes a discussion of the expansion of the scope of anti-terrorism legislation and practice to include many financial crimes.

There is also a substantial economic literature on tax evasion and tax competition, e.g., Eckhard Janeba and Wolfgang Peters, “Tax Evasion, Tax Competition and the Gains from Nondiscrimination: The Case of Interest Taxation in Europe” 109 Econ. J. 93 (1999). Several bibliographic and work-in-progress databases for law-and-economics are available to scholars:

Readers with an interest in tax matters may wish to research the Internal Revenue Service site concerning the Qualified Intermediary requirements for overseas financial institutions and see this writer’s GlobaLex article, “FATCA: Citizenship-Based Taxation, Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements and American Citizens Abroad.”

Print resources, some also available online:

  • Tax Notes International
  • European Taxation published by the IBFD and also indexed online through Dow Jones and Westlaw (as EUROTAX)
  • Thomas Azzara, Tax Havens of the World and a search engine query on the same subject
  • Juris-classeur de droit fiscal international (Paris: Editions Techniques, loose-leaf, 1962- )
  • International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation, loose-leaf series on taxation of corporations, companies and “patents, royalties, dividends and interest” in Europe
  • Jean Schaffner, Droit fiscal international, Editions Promoculture, Luxembourg

A number of private firms and organizations offer tax data, although the reader will need to judge for him- or herself the reliability of the information provider:

11. Shipping and the Sea

Shipping and open registries (flags of convenience):

12. Policy Issues

A few private organizations are concerned with policy matters in relation to the states under review or with democracy or anti-corruption generally; an Internet search under “micro-states,” “microstates” and “mini-states” should yield additional hits.

A list of real and imagined micro-states was developed by the late Professor Fabrice O’Driscoll, author of “Ils ne siègent pas à l’ONU.” — Archived copy. The most prominent of these in case law and law review articles has been Sealand:

Some of the matters raised by Sealand are familiar to those who know the history of Radio Caroline, now updated by new developments in intellectual property, communications and data storage and handling. The question of micro-states is considered generally in Jorri C. Duursma’s book Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-states (Cambridge University Press 1996; reviewed at 9 Eur. J. Int’l L. 763 (1998) and 12 Am. U. J. Int’l J.L. & Pol’y 629 (1997)). It is extensively discussed in books such as James Crawford, The Creation of New States (1979) and Thomas D. Grant, The Recognition of States: Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution (1999), and in many law review articles. A brief summary of the issues appears on the Swiss Government website. The economic aspect is discussed in Armstrong & Reed, “Western European micro-states and EU autonomous regions: the advantages of size and sovereignty“, 23 World Devel. 1229 (1995).[17]

A Web search on “offshore” will yield, in addition to the inevitable scams and tax-evasion schemes, a number of hints for further research on company, LLC, trust and tax laws. The OECD and the European Union in particular have undertaken to pressure these micro-states, and other jurisdictions which they consider to be tax havens and money-laundering venues, to tighten their laws and to cooperate in providing banking information to foreign law-enforcement agencies. (Compare the issue of tax competition within the EU, European Parliament, Working Paper ECON-105, including especially Luxembourg; and see Akiko Hishikawa, “The Death of Tax Havens?“, 15 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 389 (2002); for a list of older European Parliament economic papers see this link).

13. Pathfinders, Bibliographic References and General Sources of Law Online

The following list is in no particular order:

Cases of foreign and international interest may be reported in the International Law Reports. has a number of research guides, both by country and by subject. (Because of the short life span of web pages, readers confronted with a “404 Not Found” message or an obsolete page should run a search engine query using appropriate key words.)

14. Other Sources of Laws of the Jurisdictions under Review

Print compilations of law and doctrine include:



  • Nationality laws (This site, largely based on printed copies of laws, has not been updated in a number of years as most nationality laws are now online and kept up to date by Websites in the relevant country)
  • Birthright citizenship (paper submitted by this writer to the Council of Europe Conference on Nationality and the Child, Oct. 11-12, 2004)

Arbitration Law:

Banking Laws:

Insurance Law:

The University of York (among other law faculty sites) has links to other legal sites, by topic. Also see Project for a Common Law of Europe. A number of private sites collect laws and links to statutes on women’s rights, same-sex partnership, gaming, sports and hobbies of various kinds, the environment, animal welfare and other interest groups. These can be found with any search engine.

15. Orthography and Digitization – Non-Standard Characters

There may be problems in displaying, transcribing and printing Icelandic text with non-Icelandic Macs (especially), PCs, word processors and browsers. Most PCs and Macs include modern (but not multi-diacritical) Greek, Cyrillic, Turkish and Slavic fonts. As for Icelandic, specifically the letters Đ, ð (eth) and Þ, þ (thorn) in upper and lower case, see:

Modern laws published or reprinted in Greece and Cyprus use modern fonts; when photoprinted from pre-1980s official gazettes, however, they will be in old fonts and occasionally isolated old characters appear in modern transcriptions of or citations to old laws. Neither PCs nor Macs will display or print the “lightning bolt” koppa, used, for example, on one occasion in the Greek nationality code in referring to a prior law, and discussed on numerous Unicode online forums. (Archived copy) This can alternatively be dealt with, if crudely, by a workaround: inserting a drawn or copied mini-picture at the character’s location in a document or webpage. Another workaround is to transmit files that must be read in a multi-platform environment as a PDF file with fonts embedded using Adobe Acrobat software. Some versions of Microsoft Office have this capability.

16. The Micro-States and Small Jurisdictions of Europe

Our visits to national and parliamentary libraries in the jurisdictions under review, substantive research and extensive Web and OPAC searches yielded the sources shown below, by country and territory.

16.1. Åland Islands

“The self-governing province of the Åland Islands lies off the southwest coast of Finland. Åland is an autonomous, demilitarised, Swedish-speaking region of Finland. Åland consists of more than 6,700 islands, but the current population of 28,000 live on only 65 islands. Over 40 per cent of the inhabitants live in the only town, Mariehamn, which is one of Åland’s 16 municipalities.” — Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Other materials (in reverse chronological order):

16.2. Andorra

The primary source of law is the official gazette, Butlletí Oficial del Principat d’Andorra, published by Butlletí Oficial, Av. Santa Coloma, 91, Andorra la Vella, Tel. +376 861 400, Fax +376 864 300. The official gazette is available online. Since 1995 it has also been published and sold in CD-ROM format.

It and other Andorran legal resources can be consulted at the Biblioteca Nacional in Andorra la Vella. While not legally trained, the staff is helpful and multi-lingual. Researchers might also consult the law library at the University of Barcelona. A search on the Catálogo colectivo de las universidades de Cataluña under various permutations of “Andorra” and “dret” or “derecho” yielded a number of works, particularly on constitutional law. For collections from a French perspective, the researcher might search (under “Andorre” and “droit“) on the OPAC of one of the major French university collections, such as SCD Paris X Nanterre, or the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Except for treaty documents Andorran legal materials are almost entirely drafted in Catalan.

Customary Catalan law from Spanish sources include the Catalan (i.e., Andorran customary) law: codification, Compilación del derecho civil especial de Cataluña, Law 40/1960 of July 21, 1960 (1960 Boletín oficial del estado 10,215); and see, regarding inheritance and succession, Tarragona i Coromina, Miquel, com. art. 123, in Lluís Jou Mirabent (ed.), Comentarios al Código de Sucesiones de Cataluña, v. I, & Disposición transitoria, art. 3 of Law 40/1960, v. II (1994), Decreto legislativo 1/1984, de 19 de julio, por el que se aprueba el Texto Refundido de la Compilación del Derecho Civil de Cataluña.

As for the Andorran court system, Reynolds and Flores (Foreign Law Guide) implicitly underline the frailty of Andorran sovereignty and the democratic deficit: “Just as legislative and governmental power in Andorra is bifurcated, so is the court system. One of the courts is a local court of first instance known as the Batlle (apparently derived from the same root as the English bailiff), whose judges are nominated by both co-princes (the litigants may choose either the French or episcopal court). The same judges also sit in Andorra in an appellate capacity. Final appeals are either to the Tribunal Superieur de Perpignan in France, a chamber of the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Perpignan, where French judges interpret and apply Andorran law, or to the clerical counterpart in Urgell, the Tribunal Superior de la Mitra para el Principado de Andorra. Criminal matters are handled locally by the Corts, constituted as the two veguers and other elected judges.” This is discussed in the European Court of Human Rights case Drozd and Janousek v. France and Spain, (1992, A/240) 14 E.H.R.R. 745 (1992) or WORLDLII summary. The nature of the legal system, encompassing French Napoleonic and Spanish clerical, arguably Canonic, law, means that the philosophic and juristic understanding of the lawyer may play a greater role than black-letter law in the outcome of litigation. The outcome of the current European Court of Human Rights case, Pla and Puncernau v. Andorra (application No. 69498/01) may bring this little-understood quality of Andorran law to outside scrutiny.

Treaty references:

European Union:

Private international law:

  • Ramón Viñas Farré, Dret Internacional Prviat del Principat d’Andorra (Marcial Pons 2002)

Court Decisions:

Banking Regulations

Human Rights:

Online sources (in approximate order of relevance:

Cardiff University Country Information Guide

Compilations and translations include:

  • Recopilació: ordinacions, decrets, acords, avisos, lleis, reglaments del M.I. Consell General, M.I. Govern, I Jurisprudència de les M.I. Delegacions Permanents, 1866-1988, Andorra Govern, Conselleria de Serveis Públics
  • Manuel Digest, Antoni Fiter i Rossell (1987), Consell General de les Valls d’Andorra
  • (transcription of volume first published in 1748)
  • J. Bartemeu i Cassany (ed.), L’Estat Andorra. Recull de textos legislatius i constitucionals d’Andorra. (Andorra, Casal i Vall, 1977)
  • N. Marqués (ed.), Lleis y resolucions dels Coprínceps i del seus Delegats, 1900–1979.(Andorra, Casal i Vall, 1979)
  • Sabater i Tomás, Legislació civil (Andorra la Vella, Erosa, 1981)
  • Sabater i Tomás, Legislació penal (Andorra la Vella, Erosa, 1982)
  • Sabater i Tomás (ed.), Estudios recopilados de legislación y jurisprudencia correspondientes al derecho civil del principado de Andorra (Barcelona, Colegio de Notarios de Barcelona, 1986)

Compilations of court decisions with commentary:

  • Tribunal Constitucional, Secretaria General, Jurisprudència Constitucional, series, Edita: Tribunal Constitucional del Principat d’Andorra, Impremta Solber
  • C. Obiols i Taberner, Jurisprudéncia civil andorrana: Jutjat d’apellaciones, 1945–1966. (Andorra, Casal i Vall, 1969)
  • Paul Ourliac. La jurisprudence civile d’Andorre: arrêts du tribunal supérieur de Perpiganan, 1947–1970, (Andorra, Ed. Casal i Vall, 1972) (found, among other locations, in the New York University Law Library)

Secondary sources and analytical works, mostly dated:

  • Joan Anglada Vilardebo, “Andorra” (1970), International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law. Vol. I, “National reports,” sect. A
  • A.H. Angelo, “Andorra: Introduction to a Customary Legal System.” 14 American Journal of Legal History 95 (1970)
  • Antoni Fiter i Rossel, Manual digest de las Valls neutras de Andorra (1748)
  • J.A. Brutails, La coutume d’Andorre (Paris, Leroux, 1904).
  • Léon Jaybert, La République d’Andorre: ses moeurs, ses lois et ses coutumes (1865)
  • P. Raton, Le statut juridique de l’Andorre (Andorra la Vella, Casa de la Vall, 1984)
  • R. Viñas Farré, “Regimen de la nacionalidad y de la extranjera en el derecho andorrano” in Andorra en el ambito jurídico europeo. (Madrid, M. Pons, 1996)
  • Asociacion Española de Profesores de Derecho Internacional y Relaciones Internacionales. Jornadas 16es: 1995, Andorra, Andorra en el ámbito jurídico europeo: XVI Jornadas de la Asociación Española de Profesores de Derecho Internacional y Relaciones Internacionales : Principado de Andorra, 21-23 de septiembre de 1995 (Andorra: Jefatura del Estado Andorrano. Copríncipe Episcopal, Madrid: Marcial Pons, 1996)
  • Marc Mareasceau, Relations Between the EU and Andorra, San Marino and Monaco, Ch. 10 in Law and Practice of EU External Relations (2008) — Archived copy

Deutscher Bundestag 17. Wahlperiode, Beschlussempfehlung und Bericht des Finanzausschusses (7. Ausschuss) a) zu dem Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung – Drucksache 17/7145 – Entwurf eines Gesetzes zu dem Abkommen vom 25. November 2010 zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und dem Fürstentum Andorra über den Informationsaustausch in Steuersachen (German Bundestag 17th legislature, Decision recommendation and report of the finance committee (7th committee) a) to the bill of the Federal Government – printed matter 17/7145 – Draft of a law to the Agreement of 25 November 2010 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Principality of Andorra on the exchange of information in tax matters)

Further bibliography in Encyclopaedia Universalis France

Selected case law:

See also the Madoff Recovery Initiative (“The Fairfield liquidators are also suing Andorra Banc Agricol Reig SA, Hong Kong’s EC.Com, Netherlands-based Stichting Stroeve Global Custody and the Channel Islands-based Credit Suisse Nominees (Guernsey) Ltd. in smaller amounts ranging from $1.2 million to $2.6 million”).

The reader should be aware that there have been significant constitutional changes since the 1970s in Andorra as in other European, and especially smaller European, jurisdictions. Council of Europe and European Union influences have been very significant. See especially the European Treaty Series; the CoE website allows users to view all treaties acceded to by a specific member state, or to view the ratification status of any particular treaty.

The Library of Congress Law Library site has an Andorra page. The German-language “Andorra-intern” Bibliographie-Recht collects news reports and texts on legal, economic and political issues.

For those corresponding with Andorran publishers and government offices, it may be useful to note that Andorra has no postal service of its own; postal facilities are provided equally by the French and the Spanish postal services. As a practical matter, correspondence may be in Catalan (official language), Spanish or French. The University of Laval (Quebec) site discusses the language issues (in French). Basque (Euskadi) is a minority language. See the Endangered Languages Project and the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (closed 2010; website archived) for language policy issues, and Glenn Fulcher and Fred Davidson, Language Testing and Assessment, An Advanced Resource Book.

Reports, articles and commentary:

16.3. British Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus

The British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia[18] (98 square miles total area) retained special status, and British personnel were and are governed by legislative acts specific to those areas. British control of the area was fixed under Appendix A of the Treaty Concerning the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. See the Privy Council site for its jurisdiction to hear appeals from those areas, and the Cyprus Government site regarding their future status in relation to European Union accession. See below regarding the British Sovereign Base Areas, and see the Declaration of H.M. Government on its law-making policy (Appendix O of the Constitution — another copy). (2011 commitment to SBAs)

The main newsworthy issue in recent years was the fate of certain asylum seekers who landed in the Sovereign Base Area and sought transfer to the United Kingdom, remaining in disused and dilapidated military housing for over 18 years. See below in “Case law”, R (on the application of Tag Eldin Ramadan Bashir v. Home Secretary and Sovereign Base Area Authority, [2017] EWCA Civ 397; and July 2018 UK Supreme Court holding that ECHR applies to the SBA but that the terms of the Convention do not entitle asyluym seekers to be resettled in the United Kingdom [2018] UKSC 45, — Asad Ali Khan Comment.

Case law:

Print collections:

  • Laws of the Sovereign Base Areas
  • Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Gazette (at LSE, Bodleian and Trinity College Dublin)

Other materials:

16.4. Republic of Cyprus (Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας, Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti)

The status and the law of the Republic of Cyprus are governed, in principle, by the Constitution of 1959 (HMSO, London, Cmnd. 1093) and Treaty of Establishment of Aug. 16, 1960 (382 UNTS 8, No. 5476) (another copy). Websites on the origins of the dispute have a variable life, and variable bias and accuracy; a brief exposition was published in the New York Times in 2016; “Cyprus: Why One of the World’s Most Intractable Conflicts Continues.” Hellenic Resources Network has a webpage of documents relating to Cypriot constitutional issues, including relevant documents. Constitutional protections were to be granted to the two separate linguistic/cultural/religious communities, and personal status of individuals would depend upon their affiliation to one or the other. This was a continuation of Ottoman law[19] and colonial practice. Following independence, laws were to be published in the Greek and Turkish official languages. In fact, the inter-communal strife and the de facto division of the island led to anomalies of law, municipal and international, that are beyond the scope of this paper. However, laws and court decisions from the mid-1970s were no longer published in either English or Turkish, but in Greek only. A complete collection of Cyprus laws and regulations (official gazettes, published documents, case law, law reviews, and other secondary sources) is at the Cyprus Library (Kypriake Vivliotheke), Eleftherias Square, Nicosia, at the National Parliamentary Library, and at the Bodleian Law Library. (The Milli Arsiv in Kyrenia contains much of the same materials, at least through the mid 1970s.) The University of Cyprus library has a website. LEGINET is a searchable database of Cyprus legislation and case law.

Until 1974, most Cyprus laws and a considerable number of case reports and secondary sources were published in English. That is no longer the case. Unofficial English translations of statutes may be available from the Ministry of Justice in Nicosia. Some commercial, intellectual property, shipping, securities and tax laws have been summarized, translated or published privately. (The Tax Department site includes a useful FAQ.) The website of the law office of Dr. K. Chrysostomides & Co. offers publications on a number of legal subjects. offers a “non-exhaustive list of the main Cyprus statutes affecting offshore business” with English-language summaries.

Military and treaty law may be applicable to the status of UNFICYP, the UN Forces monitoring the Green Line. Diplomats accredited to the Republic of Cyprus are granted pragmatic and expedient status in North Cyprus (where number of missions maintain satellite offices) and may cross the border at will.

Statutes available online in English:

The official source for primary law is the Ep’isemi Ephimer’ida tes Kypriak’es Demokrat’ias[20] (Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus), published by Printing Office of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicosia, Tel. +357 22302202. Until 1960, a semi-official translation of the Official Gazette was produced (mimeograph) by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Copies of these old gazettes are included in the materials of the former FCO library now on deposit at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London. Some historical materials may be found at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, the British Library, and the National Archives, Kew. More recent materials are on deposit in the Bodleian Law Library.

Some informal legal information (including translated statutes mentioned above and the Official Gazette) may be available online at the Cyprus Government Web Portal. A “Legal Guide for Cyprus” is was published by Chr. Chrysanthou & Associates firm around 1999-2000, but it has not been updated and like most of what is available gratis on Cyprus, it is probably inadequate to the needs of the serious legal researcher except as a very first introduction to the subject. From the standpoint of this writer, it is one of the tragedies of the Cyprus conflict that the two legal systems that have established themselves since 1974 have grown provincial, inward-looking and non-transparent. Access is further hindered by linguistic and orthographic facts and the limited availability of translations of laws into world languages, something that may be said, too, of Greece and Turkey.

The U.S. State Department site has a page on judicial assistance and a page on reciprocal consular treatment in Cyprus

In addition to the sites linked here and in the TRNC section below, Greek and Turkish government sites contain documentation and treaties, as well as substantial polemics. See also relevant parts of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, from the U.S. Department of State website (via the Wayback Machine), and documents collected online for the Avalon Project at Yale University.

The Cyprus Stock Exchange site discusses the financial services regulatory scheme.

Some statutes have been collected in the form of codes and some have been translated. Among those codes and collections included in common bibliographies:

  • Civil Code
  • Code of Civil Procedure Peri politikes dikonomias nomos. Law 11 of 1965. Reprinted and translated, as of 1986, by Hyperesia Anatheoreseo Kai Henopoieseos tes Kypriakes Nomothesias (Services for Revision and Consolidation of the Cyprus Legislation in Nicosia), 1986.
  • Commercial Code
  • Criminal Code (Chapter 154, Statute laws of Cyprus)
  • Code of Criminal Procedure, Peri poinikes dikonomias nomos
  • Criminal procedure law, Chapter 155
  • Cyprus merchant shipping legislation (English translation of the main Cyprus merchant shipping laws consolidated up to 30 April 1996)

Statute laws of Cyprus: Statutes that have not been consolidated into codes may be unwieldy due to multiple amendments, especially for the reader not fluent in Greek. Pre-independence statutes are in The Statute Laws of Cyprus: In Force on the 1st Day of April, 1959. In the author’s experience, English translations of at least some and perhaps most current laws may be obtained from the Ministry of Justice in Nicosia. The author has used a Cyprus secretarial service (see Cyprus Yellow Pages) to transcribe into modern (post 1982) Greek orthography [21] Cypriot statute law from copies of the official gazette.

Official translation of the general body of Cypriot law into Turkish, while envisaged by the Treaty of Guarantee of Aug. 16, 1960 and Constitution, has fallen victim to politics and demographic reality. The text of Cyprus treaties and diplomatic correspondence can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Some good sources for generating a current bibliography would be the OPACs of the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, the United Nations Library at Geneva, and the Bodleian Law Library. On linguistic and demographic issues, see the University of Laval site. Both the political and the linguistic environments are changing, however, with EU accession. One cannot know the content of diplomatic talks, but the opening of the Green Line, the new access of Turkish Cypriots to employment in the South and a sudden interest in Turkish language study there hold promise. See:

The Greek point of view (see below for the Turkish) on international- and constitutional-law questions is stated in Kypros Chrysostomidis, The Republic of Cyprus: a Study in International Law (Kluwer Law International, 2000). On a proposed confederal solution, see Nanette Neuwahl, Cyprus, Which Way? – In Pursuit of a Confederal Solution in Europe, Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper 4/00 (2000). For an examination of the respective roles of Greece and Turkey in prolonging the dispute through the EU accession process, see Neophytos G. Loizides, “Greek-Turkish Dilemmas and the Cyprus EU Accession Process“.

Case Reports: Reynolds and Flores list the historical Cyprus Law Reports, published in English and local language until independence. The Necatigil book (below) describes the forcible removal of non-Greek jurists from the court system, which thereafter largely ceased to operate in English and Turkish. IALS London holds:

  • Cyprus Law Reports, vol. 1 (1883 to 1890) – vol. 24 (1959-1960)
  • Epitheorese kupriakou dikaiou = Cyprus Law Review (last issue received at IALS and Bodleian libraries, 1996).
  • Cyprus law reports and monthly publication of judgments of the Supreme Court of Cyprus, 1956-1976, Panayiotis Kallis, ed.
  • These apparently came from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office library when it was disbanded some years ago. Because IALS does not normally collect materials in non-Roman alphabets, later materials will be found in the Bodleian Library.
  • The Bodleian and ISDC have, in addition:
  • Cyprus law reports: cases decided by the Supreme Court, Anotaton Dikasterion, 1969-1989

Case Law:

ECtHR cases:

For a general survey, see Andreas Neocleous & Co., Introduction to Cyprus Law, Center for International Legal Studies (Yorkhill Law Publishing, 2000, Archived copy). A recent historical review of post-war human rights and British decolonization with extensive treatment of Cyprus is Prof. A.W. Brian Simpson’s Human Rights and the End of Empire (OUP, 2001) ReviewGoogle Books

Articles and commentary;

16.5. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti)

While unrecognized internationally except by Turkey, the international community has taken a pragmatic approach administratively to the division of the island. Researchers who review the more hysterical Internet forum postings might have despaired of peaceful coexistence ever again occurring and wonder how soon reunification in democratic conditions under the internationally-recognized Cyprus government is likely to occur. Yet, with the recent opening of the Green Line, peaceful encounters have proved possible, and reconciliation may be in sight. Whatever the position of foreign and international tribunals with respects to claims (mostly by ethnic Greeks for lost property) the existence of an economy, a polity and a legal system argues for a pragmatic approach to the jurisdiction, at least in matters of librarianship and comparative law.

The status of the TRNC, as well as its inhabitants – nationals[22], ressortissants[23], belongers[24] and migrants from mainland Turkey – and TRNC legal acts have been the subject of a number of important foreign and international legal cases concerning taxes, nationality, refugee status and insolvency that researchers concerned with matters relating to persons, property and transactions in the North of the Island may need to consult. These include:

The Caglar case, by implication, underlines the problem of status of the inhabitants of Northern Cyprus, immigrants from Turkey and their descendants, who have no status as Cypriots under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus. This is an issue that will need to be settled upon reunification, and one that can create choice-of-law anomalies in cases that reach courts abroad.

Additional resources include:

Other case law:

Other materials (in reverse date order):

One must mention, if only in order to dismiss, Reynolds and Flores’ unsupported assertion that “[a]s far as can be discerned, most of the legislation being applied to or in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus originates in Ankara.” The function of this article, as should be that of any work intended for law librarians and researchers, is not to put forward or support any particular ethnic or political agenda but to provide guidance on finding the law that rules lives and commerce and to point to legal rulings by others. The TRNC has a functioning legislature and court system, and this author has met and corresponded professionally with some of its parliamentarians and law librarians. It has a multitude of political parties and holds democratic elections.[25] The notion of refusing recognition to statutes created by unrecognized states despite social realities and notwithstanding personal hardship has come several times before the English courts. Adams v. Adams, [1971] P. 188, 52 I.L.R. 45, in refusing recognition to a divorce pronounced by an unrecognized judge in a court of an unrecognized state, pushed the principle to absurdity. The non-recognition of governmental acts relating to status is no longer so strictly maintained as in Adams[26] and the jurisdictional point has been rendered largely moot by statute.[27] The principle of non-recognition was rejected in an insolvency and fraud matter by Lord Denning, M.R. in In re James, [1977] Ch. 41. See R.D. Leslie, “Unrecognised Governments in the Conflict of Laws: Lord Denning’s Contribution”, 14 Comp. & Int’l L.J.S. Africa. 165 (1981) and, more generally, Lawrence Collins (Baron Collins of Mapesbury), “Foreign Relations and the Judiciary“, 51 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 485 (2002).

Documents issued by the TRNC Government are not, in principle, treated as valid governmental documents. Thus most consular offices, including those of the United States, will not impress a visa into a TRNC passport. The passport may be viewed as proof of identity but the visa, if issued, is entered onto a consular form by a United States other consular officers.

Without entering into an extensive discussion of the substance of Cypriot law, it might be mentioned here that before independence, and under the Constitution of 1959/1960, the Cypriot legal system applied legal pluralism: the personal law of the individual depended upon his or her membership in a religious community, Greek or Turkish. See Constitution, Art. 2 (Greek and Turkish Communities defined), Art. 22 (Marriage and the Family), Art. 23 (Property). Compare the British Order in Council of 1922, still in force in Israel. Legal pluralism, the assignment of personal law according to religion or ethnic group, was common in the colonial and protectorate context and exists today in many Muslim and multi-ethnic jurisdictions. Researchers may wish to review:

  • M. B. Hooker, Legal Pluralism: an Introduction to Colonial and Neo-colonial Laws (1975), Book review, 52 Int’l Aff 468 (1976)
  • B. Dupret, Legal Pluralism in the Arab World (1999)
  • Warwick Tie, Legal Pluralism: Toward a Multicultural Conception of Law (1999)
  • Baudouin Dupret, Maurits Berger, Laila al-Zwaini, eds., Legal Pluralism in the Arab World (1999)
  • Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (UCLA)
  • John Gilissen, ed., Le pluralisme juridique (1971)
  • L.I. de Winter, “Nationality or Domicile? The Present State of Affairs“, 128 Rec. des Cours, 347 (1969-III)

The basic source of TRNC primary law is the official gazette, the Resmî Gazete KKTC, which can be consulted at the Milli Arsiv ve Arastırma Dairesi Müdürlüglü (Cyprus Turkish National Archives and Research Centre), PK 175, Girne (Kyrenia), KKTC (postal address: “via Mersin 10, Turkey”) and at the Parliamentary Library, Room 008, Osman Pasa Caddesi, Lefkosa (Nicosia) (postal address also “via Mersin 10, Turkey”); at least some issues are in the Harvard University Law Library. A project has been under way since 1999 to post all laws in force on the Internet (in Turkish). An index to TRNC legislation (also pending bills) (in Turkish), maintained at the parliamentary site of the Cumhuriyet Meclisi, is accessible online (click on MECLiS [“assembly”] and then on YASALAR [“laws” = kanunlar]). The parliamentary librarian has been helpful in the past in providing requested documentation by e-mail.

Other TRNC government sites:

The former Attorney General of the TRNC has written treatises in Turkish and in English on the subject of constitutional and political law (as well as pre-1974 treatises on Cypriot law; Dr. Necatigil also appeared as an expert witness in the Caglar case, and he provided us with the nationality law translation):

  • Zaim M. Necatigil, The Cyprus Question and the Turkish Position in International Law (2nd ed., OUP 1998)
  • Zaim M. Necatigil, Kuzey Kibris Türk Comhuriyetinde Anayasa ve Yönetim Hukukui (1988)

16.6. Faroe Islands (Føroyar, Færøerne)

The Faroe Islands are an autonomous overseas district of Denmark, not part of the European Union. While the CIA World Factbook, and dozens of websites which draw from it, assert that “the legal system of the Faroe Islands is Danish,” that is a considerable oversimplification. Note the following declaration by Denmark in connection with its adherence to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, Aarhus, Denmark, June 25, 1998:

“Both the Faroe Islands and Greenland are self-governing under Home Rule Acts, which implies inter alia that environmental affairs in general and the areas covered by the Convention are governed by the right of self-determination. In both the Faroe and the Greenland Home Rule Governments there is great political interest in promoting the fundamental ideas and principles embodied in the Convention to the extent possible. However, as the Convention is prepared with a view to European countries with relatively large populations and corresponding administrative and social structures, it is not a matter of course that the Convention is in all respects suitable for the scarcely populated and far less diverse societies of the Faroe Islands and of Greenland. Thus, full implementation of the Convention in these areas may imply needless and inadequate bureaucratization. The authorities of the Faroe Islands and of Greenland will analyse this question thoroughly.”

Unfortunately, no thorough overview of the Faroes legal system exists other than those written in Faroese or in Danish, and an original undertaking is beyond the scope of this guide. What we can provide are sources of primary and secondary law and political and economic data, online and in print, for those who might want to undertake such a project or who need to find a specific law or legal principle as applied in the Faroe Islands. Some brief commercial and government descriptive material

The following statement was provided to us in 2004 by the Mission of the Faroe Islands to the United Kingdom for the preparation of an earlier version of this article: “The Faroes are a part of the Danish Kingdom and the Danish judicial system; the Danish Supreme Court is also the court of last instance in Faroese matters. The Danish judicial system is comprised of many city courts as tribunals of first instance. There are two High Courts, East and West. The East High Court (Østre Landsret) and the Supreme Court are in Copenhagen.”

For links to NATO documents, see the entry for Iceland. Denmark and Iceland have been ratifying signatories to the Treaty of Brussels (Mar. 17, 1948) and member states of NATO since 1949.

Constitution (Denmark):

Statutes and regulations:

European e-Justice Portal: Denmark including Faroe Islands (search engine results), Denmark genefrally, at e-Justice Portal

Danish private international law (international privatret)

  • Joseph Lookofsky, “Danish Private International Law in the Third Millennium: Where are We Going? Where Have We Been?”, in Peter Blume (ed.), Legal issues at the dawn of the millennium (1999)
  • Allan Philip, American-Danish Private International Law (Oceana 1957)

Government websites:

Online directories of official sites:

Libraries and institutions; legal bookstore:

Selected references:

Whales and whaling:

Other sources:

16.7. Greenland (Grønland)

First, see the introductory remarks for the entry on the Faroe Islands. Additionally, consult the following:

Selected basic laws, online:


Another site of law-related links:

Other sources:

Selected references:

16.8. Iceland (Ísland)

See Wikipedia and Iceland Gateway for Iceland’s historical background. As it became fully independent only in 1944, a review of the law of state succession may be relevant. The Iceland Constitution, as amended, is available in English translation on the principal government site.

Iceland Government sites:

Nordic Council:

EU and Schengen acquis:

EFTA Court:

ECtHR cases:


Statute law:


Multicultural Information Center:


Wales and Whaling:

NATO issues:

Library collections:

Selected texts:

Commercial environment; trade policy:

16.9. Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein)

“Prevailing Liechtenstein laws date to a great extent from the 19th Century. Liechtenstein law originates from Swiss and Austrian law. Of Austrian origin are civil and criminal court procedures, criminal law, succession and family law, and the law pertaining to contracts, torts and rights in personam. Swiss law pertaining to civil status, property, and to an extent, rights in personam has been adopted. The last twenty years have seen amendments to many laws.”[29] In fact, the manner in which laws are published on paper and online unsurprisingly parallels the Swiss and to a lesser extent the Austrian practice. Substantively, laws, especially those relating to establishment and to economic activity, have been greatly affected by the European Union acquis through Liechtenstein’s membership in the European Economic Area. The European Union, and the EEA/EFTA websites, and others cited in the introductory section of this article, will be sources of further information. As Switzerland is responsible for management of Liechtenstein’s foreign affairs and its communications and monetary system, the Swiss government website may be useful as well.

Statute law databases:

  • Gesetzesdatenbank LILEX (Landesgesetzblatt)
  • Liechtensteiner Rechtportal: Liechtensteinisches Recht – Systematische Gesetzessammlung (fee-based, by subscription)
  • Rechtportal (GMJ Juris Verlag subscription database, “Systematische Gesetzessammlung“)
  • Consolidated laws and official gazette (Landesgeseztblatt)
  • Liechtensteinische Gesetzessammlung
  • Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (Liechtenstein); The Liechtenstein Law Collection (LILEX) is a free-of-charge online documentation of the entire database of the Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Consolidated law: Current state and state contract law in a consolidated (adjusted) form. The Basic Decree incorporates all amendments. Text search. The search is based on the input rules of known Internet search engines.

Particular laws:

Relations with Switzerland with list of treaties, including:

ECtHR Case: Wille v. Liechtenstein, App. No. 28396/95, Oct. 28, 1999, (2000) 30 E.H.R.R. 558 (following a public lecture the applicant had given on issues of constitutional law, the Prince of Liechtenstein, as announced in a letter, decided not to appoint him to public office) — Comment, 10 HRCD [1999].

Print sources of law: The primary law of Liechtenstein appears in the Landesgesetzblatt (LGBl.) and is then consolidated and reprinted in the loose-leaf Systematische Sammlung der Liechtensteinische Rechtsverschriften. Reprints of the laws can be purchased over the counter from the Ministry of Justice (Liechtensteinische Regierunskanzlei) Städtle 49, FL-9490 Vaduz. Subscriptions to the Systematische 7bh-Sammlung are available from GMG Verlag, Weiherring 73, 9493 Mauren,

The Liechtensteinische Juristenzeitung (LJZ) is the authoritative legal journal and source of commentary and case reports. It is found in many libraries overseas.

The Liechtensteinische Landesbibliothek, Gerberweg 5, FL-9490 Vaduz maintains a complete collection of Liechtenstein legal materials, along with comparative-law documentation of contiguous jurisdictions. Liechtenstein laws and regulations are sold over the counter at the Liechtensteinische Regierungskanzlei, Städtle 49, FL-9490 Vaduz, and the staff will sort them by subject so that an up-to-date state of the law is provided.

Selected online articles, documents and sites:

A note about Liechtenstein and an aspect of international law: Liechtenstein was party to the Nottebohm case (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) that created the concept of “effective nationality,” a concept now somewhat eroded in view of changes in nationality law, human rights law (notably gender equality but also the evolution of nationality as primarily a source of rights rather than of obligations), and supranational arrangements. See, e.g., Micheletti v. Delegación del Gobierno en Cantabria, [1992] E.C.R. I-4239.

Some secondary sources:

Some articles of interest:

The legal portal includes all decrees on Liechtenstein law, all legislative materials (reports and petitions as well as government statements, state parliamentary minutes), the entire judicature published in the Liechtenstein Decision Collection (LES) as well as all other decisions of the Liechtenstein courts.

Primary law:

Other materials, in reverse date order:

The 2006 version of this survey of Liechtenstein legal resources was drafted with the kind assistance of Lic. iur. Johann Jakob, Audina Treuhand AG, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.[30]

16.10. Luxembourg (Lëtzebuerg)

Luxembourg is a trilingual State, and this is reflected in the parliamentary (Chambre des Députés) debates recorded in the Procès-Verbaux du Bureau de la Chambre des Députés. The Constitution (in French) as amended, is downloadable in French in PDF format with case-law annotations — English version. See the Wikipedia page for a complete list of versions, with links to the relevant official gazettes.

The official gazette (Mémorial), statutes and most secondary sources are published in French. The site includes a searchable database of laws, reports, official gazettes and documents published since 1945.

The Directory of Official Websites and the Legilux database have links to other official sites and to sources of `official documentation. These sites had been in the final stages of planning when the author called on the Ministry in 2001.

Printed documentation is published and sold commercially by Service Ce3ntral de Législation, 43 Bd. F.-D. Roosevelt, L-2450 Luxembourg. Other periodicals are listed on their website. A private bookstore, Librarie um Fieldgen, sells law and tax materials and has an online bibliography and price list.

The Legilux website has undergone continuous improvement over the years. Earlier, a Luxembourg legal database (IJUS) was maintained by CREDOC (Belgium). See also the list of CD-ROMs prepared by the Universität des Saarlandes. There is a proprietary online service of the Code fiscal and LexGo provides a number of laws and legal articles in English and French. has materials in English, French and German.

Back issues of the official gazette are maintained in a number of libraries in Europe and the USA, including the Université catholique de Louvain. Luxembourg law students study at Belgian universities as well as the University of Luxembourg, and Luxembourg juridical methods to a certain extent follow the Belgian pattern. See also the site of the Institut Universitaire International de Luxembourg.

The Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés site contains information about the corporate registry.

Bibliographic searches across the OPACs of all major Belgian university libraries can be conducted on LIBIS on the website of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

The major published case reporter and digest is the Pasicrisie Luxembourgeoise. An alternative source of laws and decrees is the Pasinomie Luxembourgeoise. Recueil des Lois Spéciales Annoté D’après La Jurisprudence is published by Imprimerie Saint Paul, S.A., Luxembourg. Répertoire Analytique de la Jurisprudence Administrative du Conseil d’Etat (Guy Glodt, ed.) is pubished by the Ministry of Justice.

Law codes (see the IALS catalog) are individually compiled and published under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, we were told at the Service Central de Législation, “as and when the need arises and time permits”. These include civil, criminal, commercial and procedural codes, which can be found in many libraries.

Private international law:


Secondary sources:

16.11. Malta

Maltese statutes are published in English and in Maltese, in print and online at the Ministry of Justice site and its Court Services page. The official source for primary law is the Atti Tal-Parlament – Acts of Parliament and the Legislazzjoni Sussidjarjai, both published and sold by the Department of Information, Publications Office, Castille Place, Valletta. The starting point for research is the Maltese government portal. A number of codes (civil, commercial, penal, procedural) have been consolidated and published separately.

The Government Gazette is available online, issues from June 2003.

The Ministry of Justice and Local Government, Palazzo Verdelin, Archbishop’s Street, Valletta publishes from time to time Laws of Malta – Analyzed Index of Titles.

See also the Administrative Reform in the Mediterranean Region, Summary of Malta on the reform process of Malta’s governmental institutional framework — Archived copy

Case reports:

  • Collezione di decisioni dei tribunali di Malta. (19th Century cases)
  • Collezione di decisioni delle corti superior dell’ Isola de Malta (title varies: Collezione di decisioni del tribunali superior; later title Decizjonijet tal grati superjari ta Malta)
  • Some digests of court decisions (in Maltese) are published by Għaqda Studenti Tal-Liġi, the Law Students’ Society-University of Malta.

Under Malta’s language law, any party to a case may require that it be heard in Maltese rather than in English.

E.Ct.H.R. cases:

Other secondary sources:

16.12. Monaco

“The Grimaldi ascent began one night in 1297, when Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress of Monaco from a rival Italian faction… In 1861, Monaco relinquished one-half of its territory to France in exchange for cash and independence.” (VisitMonaco)

“In the early 1960s, tensions between France and Monaco culminated into a blockade of the city-state ruled by Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. The absurdity of the episode has provided inspirational material for filmmakers, advocates of fiscal reform, and observers of global finance. This article tries to explain the origins of the crisis, and compare the treatment of tax havens by bigger countries before and after the globalization of capital flows.” (Fabien Hassan)

Background sources:

Primary law:

Secondary sources:

  • Revue de droit monégasque is published by Palais de Justice de Monaco, B.P. 513, MC 98015 Monaco CEDEX
  • Anthony F. Hancock, “The Legal System of Monaco“, Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia (1989).
  • M. Bettati, “Monaco”, International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law. Vol. I, “National reports,” sect. “M.”
  • P.J. Douvier, ed., Mémento pratique Francis Lefebvre. Communauté européenne: juridique, fiscal, social, comptable, financier, partially translated and reprinted as “Monaco Tax and Legal Guide”
  • The City Hall (Mairie) site includes a list of government agencies with addresses, and public services provided.
  • The Government portal includes descriptive material (in French) on the legal and judicial system

Other legal and institutional data, from international sites (non-exhaustive; to show the kind of sites that may be identified in a Web search):

Particular doctrinal essays are available online (in reverse date order):

16.13. Montenegro (Republika Crna Gora)

The Montenegro Constitution (“Ustav Republike Crne Gore”) (1992) is available in Serbian and in English translation

Primary law:

Other sources of law in translation:


Several sites concern themselves with Montenegrin affairs, including:

European Union and International Organization issues:

On economic and currency issues (the euro), see:

A useful for the legal researcher is the index and ordering facility for the Official Gazette, Sluzbeni List Republike Crne Gore. The publisher has in the past been willing to provide copies of individual statutes in Serbian upon e-mail by non-subscribers.

Serbian resources relevant to this survey:

Libraries and links:

Some relevant Eastern Europe sources:

Other materials (in reverse date order):

16.14. San Marino

The official source of primary law is the Bollettino Ufficiale della Repubblica di San Marino, for which an annual index is available. Prior to their official publication, newly-enacted laws are available from the Ministry of Justice. Both versions may be consulted at the Biblioteca di Stato. The Bollettino Ufficiale is sold by the Dipartimento Affari Interni, 47890 San Marino, tel. +378 882 278, fax. +378 882 197.

The national archives are at the Biblioteca di Stato, Contrada Omerelli, 13, Palazzo Valloni, SM-47031 San Marino.

Ministerial websites:

Published case law compilations:

An online database maintained by the Department of Internal Affairs for official use can be consulted by the public, and material printed or downloaded, at the Biblioteca di Stato. As of March 23, 1999, the database included laws through 1997. It might be worthwhile checking from time to time to see if web access has been made available to this database. The Università degli Studi has a Dipartimento di Studi Giuridici

Few specific laws may be found on the Web servers of government agencies and international organizations, and may be located on Google or another search engine:

Primary law:

Some legal materials may be found on Italian websites, especially treaties and their implementing laws. A Council of Europe Human Rights Report on San Marino was published in 2015.

European Court of Human Rights matters:

  • Stefanelli v. San Marino, No. 35396/97, Feb. 8, 2000, (2001) 33 E.H.R.R. 16 — Comment, Human Rights Case Digest
  • Buscarini v. San Marino, No. 24645/94, Feb. 18, 1999, (2000) 30 E.H.R.R. 208 — Comment, Human Rights Case Digest
  • Tierce v. San Marino, Nos. 24954/94, 24971/94 & 24972/94, July 25, 2000, (2002) 34 E.H.R.R. 25 — Comment, Human Rights Case Digest
  • Hughes, Comm’r of Immigration v. U.S. ex rel. Francesconi (“The exclusion of the appellees, natives of that republic, was based solely upon the fact that in the census of 1910 there had been no separate enumeration of natives of San Marino then resident in the United States; that in the census of 1910 such persons, together with the natives of Gibraltar and some other small countries, had been collectively grouped and designated as ‘other Europe'”)

Other materials (in random order):

16.15. Svalbard

“Svalbard is part of the Kingdom of Norway, but it’s not all of Norway’s laws that apply in the archipelago. Norwegian private law, criminal law and procedural law applies, however, unless otherwise provided. Other statutory provisions apply only if it is determined separately in the law.”

16.16. Transnistria

“The separatist region of Trans-Dniester – a narrow strip of land between the Dniester river and the Ukrainian border – broke away from Moldova after a brief war in 1992. The international community does not recognise its self-declared statehood, and the de facto government, which remains in a tense stand-off with Moldova, is economically, politically and militarily supported by Russia. A referendum on independence in September 2006, not recognised by Moldova or the international community, saw the territory reassert its demand for independence and vote in support of ensuing a union with Russia.” (BBC News, Dec. 13, 2016)

Primary law:

Other materials (in reverse date order):

Юридический факультет (Faculty of Law)

16.17. Vatican State (Holy See)

The modern status of the Holy See is governed by the Lateran Convention of 1929facsimile copy. Ecclesiastical law is well documented in various editions of the Codex Canonici. Notices of importance from a Canon Law perspective are published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis which can be consulted in major theological institutions, such as Heythrop College (London), and in more than 200 other libraries for which holdings are recorded in OCLC.

We are principally concerned here not with Vatican religious law but its civil and penal law. This is documented in the Vatican’s official gazette appendix, Acta Apostolicae Sedis Supplemento (per le leggi e disposizioni dello stato della Città del Vaticano) which is not included in the basic subscription to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Both are sold by the Vatican Publishing House, which has a catalog online. Older back issues are out of print and rare. The most important issue is Vol. 1, 1929, which was issued immediately following the implementation of the Lateran Convention (also online in English), signed by Pietro Cardinale Gasparri and Benito Mussolini on February 11, 1929. Vol. 1 includes the Italian text of that convention as well as the nationality law of the Vatican State. We found copies of this issue in the theology library of the Université Catholique de Louvain[31] and at the Vatican Library in Rome.

For recent amendments, see the Vatican website (Nuova legge fondamentale) (2000). And for a commentary, see Francesco Clementi, “La nuova ‘Costituzione’ dello Stato della Città del Vaticano” — Archived copy.

For international affairs, see the Secretariat of State site and the UN Treaty collection database.

Some scholarly studies of Vatican and Canon Law:

Numerous Web sources include texts of religious law, among them the principal Vatican site. The Vatican Library website has some, mostly ecclesiastical, materials online.

Primary law:

Other materials (in reverse date order):

17. United Kingdom-European Dependencies

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are outside the European Union for most, but not all, purposes[32] and have a unique constitutional status.[33] Gibraltar is inside the European Union for most purposes and British Dependent Territories Citizens (Gibraltar) are European Union citizens.[34] Rights of settlement and residence in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are founded alternatively on criteria of place of birth, paternity, employment and value of property occupied, conceived in such a manner as to benefit natives of the islands, those having a link by birth or ancestry[35]; persons who have British nationality by reason of a connection with those territories are not European Union citizens and do not have EU rights until and unless they have resided in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. Some United Kingdom laws apply to these territories and their inhabitants and guidance on how to find such laws can be found in Sara Carter’s A Guide to the UK Legal System (2005) 0n GlobaLex, and its 2009 Update. This section deals only with legal resources unique to the territories named or which include laws directly relevant to them. (For historical cases, the researcher may want to browse through the delightful English Reports, a collection of old (1220-1865) case reporters.

London sources common to all the jurisdictions include:

Relevant serials, monographs and bibliographies include:

European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights right of residence cases:

United Kingdom websites:

The Supreme Court (formerly the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords) and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and to a lesser extent other well-reasoned decisions of tribunals in England, may be persuasive of many issues before Channel Islands courts, notwithstanding their judicial independence and the impact of customary law. Because of their “foreign” status for tax and domicile purposes, the Channel Islands are a flight destination for capital. Increasingly the courts have developed theories to bring the fruits of tax fraud within the reach of the British fisc, whether through insolvency proceedings or otherwise.[36] Compare the Statute of Elizabeth, the common-law fraudulent conveyance law described in a Trusts and Estates article by Philip Hobson. (The Statute of Elizabeth was applied in some U.S. jurisdictions prior to the adoption of the uniform laws, in the District of Columbia until 1995).[37]

Some references:

One area that merits review in connection with the study of United Kingdom offshore jurisdictions is the expanding external reach of the UK, US and other courts in enforcement matters. This may be in money-laundering, bankruptcy, enforcement of judgment, contempt or criminal proceedings. A few references:

With respect to trusts, a particular caution is necessary in regard to any purported tax and asset protection benefits for US and UK taxpayers; such benefits may in fact be nonexistent in view of current reporting and attribution rules based upon the nationality and domicile of the settlor or beneficiary, and, further, general information exchange programs between the UK Inland Revenue and third-country fiscal authorities. Terms of a trust and local law may provide little protection to the settlor and beneficiary when the facts are bad:

On the future direction of legal practice in the Channel Islands:

  • Lucy Hickman, “All revved up for taxing times ahead – the streets of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man may be paved with gold but local solicitors are anxious to shrug off the traditional tax-haven image”, 98 Law Soc’y Gazette 34 (2001) (“The islands’ larger law firms all quote their financial work – and associated referrals from London’s City firms – as generating most of their income.”)

17.1. Gibraltar

The official Companies House site and various sites of firms specializing in company formation provide brief summaries on the Web of Gibraltar’s constitutional and legal status. As the Barlow-Clowes case (R. v. Clowes, [1994] 2 All E.R. 316 (C.A. Crim.)) demonstrated, although English law is the model for Gibraltar law, in specific areas, notably financial services, the law and practice are less rigorous in Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar Government portal has descriptive material but no substantive law content.

On the constitutional status of Gibraltar, see House of Commons, Foreign Affairs, Fourth Report, June 8, 1999; on the current status of talks between Spain and the UK, “Britain Abandons Gibraltar Talks“, Daily Telegraph, June 9, 2003 — Archived copy. For a commentary, see Thomas D. Grant, “Gibraltar on the Rocks“, 116 Hoover Institution Policy Review (2002). See also the Treaty of Utrecht.

On the personal status of the inhabitants of Gibraltar, see:

On the EEC-Morocco Co-operation Agreement and Gibraltar immigration, see

On EU free movement rights:

EU state aids case:

Privy Council case, discussion of the common law in Gibraltar:

Case law is published as Gibraltar Law Reports, Government Printer, (1979- ) (most recent number on library shelves at time of writing is 1999/2000).

The Gibraltar Gazette is available at the British Library, the Center for Research Libraries and the Dag Hammarskjold Library, United Nations, New York. The address for sales and subscriptions is 6, Convent Place, Gibraltar. Some issues of the Gazette and supplements may be found online with a search engine query.

Some cases (of national and territorial, as well as European Union tribunals) relevant to European Union matters appear in Common Market Law Reports, in print and on Westlaw. Privy Council cases, decided in London, appear in the Appellate Cases series of the Law Reports, and decisions since 1999 (and a few selected earlier judgments) appear on the Bailli website collection of judgments of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Additional useful websites and online documents:

17.2. Channel Islands

17.2.1. Alderney

Alderney and Sark are separate jurisdictions administratively combined with Guernsey for some purposes. The Island of Sark briefly became well known in United States banking circles after 1968 following the “Bank of Sark” scam:


17.2.2. Sark


17.2.3. Guernsey (Islands of Guernsey, Herm and Jethou)

Sources of law:

There is an online daily newspaper, Panorama, which reports heavily on legal and commercial matters. Other print and online resources:

17.2.4. Jersey

Online legal resources include:

Printed sources include, for current law:

  • Lois et règlements passés par les États de Jersey: revêtus de la sanction royale, et non compris dans le Code de 1771 (current to date)
  • Jersey, Regulations and Orders
  • Jersey Law Reports

And for documenting older law:

  • Ordres du Conseil et pièces analogues enrégistrés à Jersey. 1536–1867
  • Recueil des lois de Jersey. 1771–1881 and various subsequent reprints and consolidations
  • Regulations and orders. Revised edition. 1939–1955
  • Ordres en Conseil, lois, etc. Liste des actes du Parlement, etc. d’intérêt public. 1771/1850–1964/65
  • Orders in Council, laws, etc., List of acts of Parliament of public interest. 1966–67
  • Judgments of the Royal Court of Jersey and the Court of Appeal of Jersey


Case law:

Secondary sources (in reverse date order):

Other materials:

17.3. Isle of Man

Like the foregoing offshore United Kingdom jurisdictions, the Isle of Man derives its transnational juridical importance from its independent fiscal, financial services, trust and company law regimes. Latterly, its LLC law has attracted attention; LLCs, attractive in the United States for their informality of organization and management, may be useful internationally as hybrid entities. In the USA, “check the box” rules allow for options as to tax treatment; in the United Kingdom and many other countries (but not Switzerland) they are treated for tax purposes as corporations. Articles 75 and 76 of the UK Finance Act 2001 formalized policy in this regard (addressing the use of English limited liability partnerships to hold real property). (A Google search under “hybrid entity” will yield explanatory material on the tax advantages of the differential cross-border treatment.)

Print sources of law:

  • Statutes of the Isle of Man (several series)
  • Isle of Man statutes in force
  • Juta’s statutes of the Isle of Man (1999)
  • Manx Law Bulletin
  • Manx Law Reports

Online sources of law include:

Note in particular:

A general description of Manx company law is available at the government site and at various proprietary sites (which should be treated with appropriate caution), such as the Middleton Katz and Appleby sites. Similarly for Manx trust law, see another survey. offers constitutional materials and information on general background information.

Private firms’ websites with useful material in IOM offshore transactions:

Selected references (in reverse date order):

Other references are listed in the bibliography appended to the Wikipedia entry on Manx Law

18. European & European-Controlled Enclaves and Exclaves, Insular Spaces

18.1. Enclaves Generally

18.2. Baarle-Hertog/Baarle Nassau

18.3. Büsingen am Hochrhein

18.4. Campione d’Italia

18.5. Ceuta & Melilla

18.6. Llívia

18.7. Mount Athos

18.8. Island of Heligoland (Germany)

“[F]rom British colony, to German naval fortress under Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler, to British bombing range post-1945, and finally to German holiday resort in the late twentieth century”

“On Heligoland, there’s no VAT or customs duty. Heligoland’s VAT and duty free alcohol and tobacco, in contrast to 19 percent in the rest of Germany, attracts 250,000 day trippers in a year, all of them braving the rough four hour trip.”

18.9. Sámiland (Sápmi)

“At present, Sami self-government and participation in decision-making processes in Norway, Sweden and Finland are primarily exercised by the Sami Parliaments. According to Anaya, the autonomy and self-government powers of these parliaments have to be strengthened. The potential of the Sami Parliaments needs to be expanded to take part in decision-making related to Sami issues and to actually influence these decisions. Especially in Finland, Sami Parliaments are only regarded as bodies by which the Sami could interact with governmental authorities without having substantial influence or decision powers. Sami Parliaments do not have a special decision power concerning land, waters and natural resources, apart from exceptions as they exist in e.g. Norway.” (Carstens)

Other materials (in reverse date order)

19. A Final Note

As official gazettes, parliamentary debates, consolidated statutes and case reports migrate to the web, public, and especially foreign, access is rapidly expanding. One may consider that it is in the particular interest of smaller jurisdictions – and especially those whose sovereignty is in dispute and that want to promote an image of stability, commercial vitality and rule of law – to make their laws readily available. Two obstacles remain: language and cost. In the course of the broader, Europe-wide research project underlying this report, we had mixed responses from national authorities. We received an immediate, positive response from the Jersey authorities, and positive help from parliamentary librarians when we met them in person. One might have hoped for a more robust response from lawyers and law librarians at commercial providers and private law firms with promising websites, notably those in Cyprus.

A further problem underlying foreign and comparative-law research is that of language and official translations, which will be the subject of a later report. Of the jurisdictions reviewed, Luxembourg and the Republic of Cyprus have more than a single written language but in practice both use only one for statutes. Malta uses two languages in its judicial proceedings. Andorra and Luxembourg have three working languages each; Andorra’s use of Catalan and the Faroes’ of Faroese for written legal documentation may challenge many foreign researchers. The Danish translation of Faroese documents may not reduce the challenge by much. For passages written in “world languages” machine translations, translating search engines (such as Google Translate and and online dictionaries may be helpful. There was a brief effort among law librarians to make available volunteer translating resources to assist in deciphering brief passages; a more satisfactory long-term solution might lie (if demand and financial resources would support it) in the intervention of a student employment service, along the lines of Columbia Tutoring and Translating Agency at Columbia University. The Agency’s telephone number is 212 854 4888.

[1] The issues of copyright in laws and case reports, the “star pagination” issue (value added, something also addressed, but primarily as a matter of contract, in the Jurisline case) and infringement by digitization have been raised before in articles on The conflict of laws issue is not easily resolved in claims arising from the extension of copyright (PDF, 173 kb) to 70 years from the death of the author or (anonymous works and works for hire) 95 years from publication in the United States (17 U.S.C. §§ 302, 304): other countries have not followed suit, and potentially infringing works may be stored anywhere, even on the high seas (see Sealand, below). Or they may be stored “nowhere”, and developments in peer-to-peer technology, high-speed communication, cheap data storage and effective search engines pose a great threat to the value-added claimed for the traditional legal database.
The impossibility of finding, 50 years after publication, literary heirs or business successors with respect to academic works for which profit was not the motivation has become a serious obstacle to access to doctrine and other secondary sources and led to rampant disregard for the law and a broad, self-serving interpretation of “fair use”. Those wishing to pursue the issue may want to start with the HMSO “Dear Publisher” letter and Matthew Bender, & Co. Inc. v. Hyperlaw, Inc., 158 F.3d 674 (2d Cir. 1998) cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1154 (1999) (“star pagination” case).
Another source of confusion of rights is the linking to internal references within a site rather than to a home page. Arguably, site owners have no particular right to insist that visitors enter their sites only through a home page and respect a system of frames or searching, only that no false claim of ownership or authorship is made. The argument is strengthened when the reference is for non-commercial purposes. Archiving and caching of web sites, the object of a number of academic and national-library projects and (at least ephemerally) an essential part of the work of search engines and web crawlers, is another potential source of conflict in matters of ownership and control. (In an effort to reduce the number of broken links, some of the information sites referred to in this article have been cached, complete with the original links, advertisements and references to GIFs and JPEGs. Some links are to articles and documents archived on university servers; the life span of such links is unpredictable.).
Copyright issues aside, a recent source of Internet deletions and disappearing documents, especially of U.S. Government publications, is political embarrassment, and the use of security justification to defeat FOIA arguments.

[2] CIA World Factbook 2017 estimates, accessed May 2018, except as otherwise noted.

[3] The population figures for Cyprus are contentious and the grant of status to immigrants to North Cyprus and their progeny is discounted by the Republic of Cyprus Government and some international organizations as “contrary to international law”. The issues of vested interests and the status of offspring of refugees and migrants would seem to be a matter for diplomatic, rather than legal, analysis. See Report Submitted by Cyprus Pursuant to Article 25, Paragraph 1 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Council of Europe, ACFC/SR(1999)002 rev., 1 March 1999. — Archived copy)

[4] Vatican City State information page

[5] Swedish Government estimate; divided among Sweden (20,000-40,000), Norway 50,000-65,000), Finland (8,000) and Russia (2,000). There has been no census.

[6] UN Legislative Series, Book 25: Materials on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, Ch. 2; R. D. Leslie, Unrecognised Governments in the Conflict of Laws: Lord Denning’s Contribution, 14 Comp. & Int’l L. J. of S. Afr. 165 (1981).

[7] In re James (an Insolvent), [1977] Ch. 41.

[8] R. P. Anand, “Sovereign equality of States in international law”, 197 Rec. des Cours 9 (1986-II).

[9] Researchers may find useful case law of these jurisdictions reprinted in the series “Law Reports of the Commonwealth.” Cases decided by the Privy Council will usually be in the Appellate Cases series of the Law Reports; also online to subscribers to Justis, Lexis and Westlaw. See also the Common Market Law Reports (bound volumes and online in subscription services) for cases touching on EU interests, and BAILII.

[10] Yasmeen Sherhan, The Good Friday Agreement in the Age of Brexit, The Atlantic, Apr. 18, 2018.

[11] About 1999 the writer visited the Law Library at the National Library of Belarus and noted a gap or gaps in the secondary-law series. The accompanying librarian explained with some librarian-style embarrassment that they had been “recalled” by the Presidency.

[12] The latter problem is illustrated by the description in the Isle of Man introductory section, in late 2003, of Juta’s Statutes of the Isle of Man, as “a 1996 compilation” when major law libraries hold a 1999 edition.

[13] In the Lloyd’s matter the U.S. courts almost universally applied English law while the academic commentators universally argued for the application of American law.

[14] See the Jenard Report, OJEC 1990 C-189/7.

[15] See the Maltese book Europe: Your Government’s Proposal, especially Chapter 4.

[16] The OECD project was discussed critically in Mason Gaffney, “A response to the OECD report Harmful Tax Competition: An Emerging Global Issue”, 7 J. Int’l Trust & Corp. Planning 23 (1999).

[17] The article discusses the economic viability of micro-states and autonomous regions (the areas under study here, plus the Spanish and Portuguese territories) in relation to 1989 GDP but does not address the issue of legal autonomy and taxation.

[18] Mentioned in six UK statutes: Adoption and Children Act 2002, Ch. 38; Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Act 1991, Ch. 41; Visiting Forces Act 1952, Ch. 67; British Overseas Territories Act 2002, Ch. 8; Contracts (Applicable Law) Act 1990, Ch. 36; British Nationality Act 1981, Ch. 61.

[19] See George Young, Corps de droit ottoman (7 vols., 1905). George Young was vice-consul in Damascus at the time; he went on to have a distinguished career in UK government service.

[20] Catalogued as “Episemos ephemeris tes Kypriakes Demokratias” at the Center for Research Libraries; “Episemos ephemeris tes demokratia” at the Bodliean; “Episimi efimerida tis Kypriakis dimokratias” at ISDC.

[21] Eliminating breathing marks and grave and circumflex accents.

[22] R. v. Home Secretary ex parte Yurteri, CO/138/95, Q.B. Jan. 19, 1995, unreported.

[23] Difficult of translation, the Refugee Convention uses “country of origin“, Antonio Fortin, “The Meaning of ‘Protection’ in the Refugee Definition“, 12 Int’l J. Refugee L. 548, 557 (2000).

[24] See, e.g., Chagos Islanders v. Attorney General, [2003] E.W.H.C. 2222 (QB), [2003] All E.R. (D) 166; Luxemburg v. Goldfinger, [2002] U.K.P.C. 60 (P.C., Anguilla) (RTF file); R. v. Barnet London Borough Council, ex parte Shah, [1982] Q.B. 688 (C.A.).

[25] The country’s pariah status, it is submitted, comes from elsewhere: the confusion inherent in standards for according sovereign title to land in the modern era, and pragmatic diplomacy that extends even into international-law forums, and which affect, to varying degrees, the treatment afforded the TRNC, Taiwan, Transnistria, Republika Srpska, Somaliland, Kosovo, Montenegro, among non-states with functioning legal systems worthy of study.

[26] Emin v. Yeldag [2002] 1 F.L.R. 956. distinguishing Adams v. Adams and B. v. B. (Divorce: Northern Cyprus), [2000] 2 F.L.R. 707, [2001] 3 F.C.R. 331.

[27] SI 1972/1718 (repealed by Zimbabwe Act 1979, s. 6(3) afforded recognition to status effected by acts of Rhodesian authority; see also Family Law Act 1986, art. 45 & 46. The English and United States cases concerning the Zeiss trademark addressed a comparable issue: Carl Zeiss Stiftung v. V.E.B. Carl Zeiss Jena, 293 F. Supp. 892 (S.D.N.Y., 1968); Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon, 478 F.2d 231 (2d Cir. 1973), 678 F.2d 1150 (2d Cir. 1982); Carl Zeiss Stiftung v. Rayner & Keeler Ltd (No. 2), [1967] 1 A.C. 853 (H.L.) Other cases: Madzimbamuto v. Lardner-Burke, [1969] 1 A.C. 645 (treason; sovereignty of territory under control of a usurper); Bilang v. Rigg, [1972] N.Z.L.R. 954, 48 I.L.R. 30 (Rhodesian divorce; question of judge’s oath of office); The Doctrine of Recognition – A Case Note on Bilang v. Rigg, 7 Victoria U. Wellington L. Rev. 477 (1973-1975).

[28] We have received the following statement from Karnov.DK, reproduced with permission:

“Karnov and UfR only cover Danish legislation and court decisions. Some of the laws are not in force in the Faroe Islands and Greenland or are in force in a modified form. The Karnov annotations specify this. Specific regulations issued by Danish governmental agencies or legislative bodies in the Faroe Island and Greenland are not published in Karnov. “Karnov and UfR are only published in Danish.

“Karnov and UfR Online = Westlaw.DK is not available through Westlaw due to use of different technologies and business models. The demand from Westlaw customers for Danish legislation can not justify the costs of integrating the databases at this time, though Thomson strategy is in a 3-5 year perspective to have a common platform for all legal services. “Westlaw.DK is available on a subscription basis only. The cost of a single-user license is [as of 2006] approximately £750 per annum with high discount for additional users.”

[29] Norbert Seeger

[30] Mr. Jakob’s comments follow: “Mein kurzer Kommentar: Die von Ihnen Zitierte Literatur kann mit Sicherheit nicht als massgebend bezeichnet werden. Auf jeden Fall kann die von Ihnen zitierte Literatur nicht als Leading Opinion bezeichnet werden. Bei der Literatur würde ich deshalb allein auf die Liechtensteinische Juristenzeitung verweisen. Darin sind neb st regelmässigen Artikeln auch Urteile von sämtlichen liechtensteinischen Gerichten wider gegeben.

Im übrigen entspricht Ihr Text weiterhin der Realität. In juristischer Hinsight (staatspolitischer Art) ist vielleicht noch von aktueller Verfassung zu ändern. Er will, dass ihm mehr Macht eingeräumt wird (insbesondere auch bei der Wahl der richter; der Fürst hat gute Chancen zu gewinnen), die Gegner des Fürsten wollen demgegenüber bei der bisherigen Verfassung bleiben.”

[31] Interestingly, given to UCL as part of German reparations following World War II. The library was burned down by the German military in both wars. See P. Delannoy, “The Library of the University of Louvain“, 77 The Nineteenth Century 1061 (1915) and Ministère de la Justice, War Crimes Commission (Belgium), War crimes committed during the invasion of the national territory, May, 1940: the destruction of the library of the University of Louvain (Liège, 1946, 36 p.) and Nuremburg War Crimes Trial, hearing of Feb. 4, 1946.

[32] Department of Health and Social Security v Christopher Stewart Barr and Montrose Holdings Ltd., Case C-355/89, [1991] ECR I-3479

(relationship with the Isle of Man; unstated in the published judgment was an underlying public-security motivation).

[33] Jersey: Constitutional Status, 12 Commw. L. Bull. 556 (1986).

[34] British Nationality Act 1981

[35] Gillow v. United Kingdom, ECHR, 24 Nov. 1986, Ser. A., No. 109 (Guernsey).

[36] In re Clore (dec’d), [1982] Fam. 113; Inland Revenue Comm’rs v. Stype Investments (Jersey) Ltd. , [1981] Ch. 367 (Ch. D.); allowing appeal of the Commissioners [1982] Ch. 456 (C.A.); Inland Revenue Comm’rs v. Stannard, [1984] 1 W.L.R. 1039 (Ch.D.) (following IRC v. Stype, holding testator’s personal representative liable for tax, although resident in Jersey).

[37] Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act of 1995, Law 11-83, D.C. Code §§ 28-3101–28-3111 (2014).

[38] “First, it provides for common rules of jurisdiction in respect of (essentially) private law applications concerning children throughout the UK and the Isle of Man. Secondly, it provides a system for the recognition and enforcement throughout the UK and Isle of Man of such orders (but note, there is nothing equivalent under this Act to recognizing and enforcing ‘rights of custody’, as under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980) made in any one part of the UK or dependent territory.”