Legal Research Reports - Recent Updates

Legal Research Reports - Recent Updates

12/07/2017 03:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Parliamentary Oversight of the Executive Branch

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Parliamentary Oversight of the Executive Branch

This report provides information on parliamentary oversight mechanisms of the executive branch in Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The means by which the surveyed countries exercise parliamentary oversight of executive branch actions often include members’ inquiries, interpellations, and votes of no confidence against the respective governments. Specialized permanent or ad hoc parliamentary committees tasked with oversight of government actions in specific areas operate in all the countries surveyed. Both the United States and Canada have established special agencies dedicated to overseeing government activities.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


11/30/2017 03:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Laws Prohibiting Investments in Controversial Weapons

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Laws Prohibiting Investments in Controversial Weapons

This report describes the laws of eight European countries that prohibit investment in certain controversial weapons. Controversial weapons include those of mass destruction and those that fail to discriminate between civilians or combatants or cause disproportionate harm. Most of the surveyed countries prohibit both public and private investment in prohibited weapons, but Ireland’s legislation only covers investment by public entities.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


11/16/2017 03:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership

This report surveys the laws related to registration of beneficial owners and disclosure of information on corporate data in the European Union as a whole and in 29 countries. The individual country entries identify institutions authorized to collect information on beneficial owners, procedures for submitting and updating this information, existing exemptions from disclosure, and requirements for the government to verify the information provided. They also indicate who has access to the corporate data provided to the authorities and how companies can be held liable for nondisclosure, for providing false information, or otherwise violating relevant legal requirements. All individual country entries include a definition of “beneficial owner” or comparable terms as provided by national legislation.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


11/09/2017 03:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: State Anti-conversion Laws in India

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, State Anti-conversion Laws in India

India’s Freedom of Religion Acts or “anti-conversion” laws are state-level statutes that have been enacted to regulate religious conversions. The laws are in force in six out of twenty-nine states: Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh. While there are some variations between the state laws, they are very similar in their content and structure. All of the laws seek to prevent any person from converting or attempting to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person through “forcible” or “fraudulent” means, or by “allurement” or “inducement.” However, the anti-conversion laws in Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh appear to exclude reconversions to “native” or “original” faiths from their prohibitions. Penalties for breaching the laws can range from monetary fines to imprisonment, with punishments ranging from one to three years of imprisonment and fines from 5,000 to 50,000 Indian rupees (about US$74 to $735). Some of the laws provide for stiffer penalties if women, children, or members of scheduled castes or schedule tribes (SC/ST), are being converted.

Despite criticism of India’s anti-conversion laws, some human rights bodies have acknowledged that these laws have resulted in few arrests and no convictions. However, some observers note that these laws create a hostile, and on occasion violent, environment for religious minority communities because they do not require any evidence to support accusations of wrongdoing.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


11/02/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Russia: Decriminalization of Domestic Violence

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Russia: Decriminalization of Domestic Violence

Russia decriminalized nonaggravated battery in July of 2016 and made it an administrative offense punishable by a fine or detention. However, repeated battery and battery  committed against close relatives remained punishable under the Criminal Code. Russia amended the Criminal Code once again in February of 2017 and removed the provision regarding assaulting close relatives from the article on nonaggravated battery. As a result, violence committed against family members has also been made an administrative offense. Only repeated instances of battery are now prosecuted as criminal offenses and punishable by criminal law. International and nongovernmental organizations have noted that the failure to adequately protect victims of domestic violence may be incompatible with Russia’s international human rights obligations.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


10/26/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Features of Parliamentary Websites

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Features of Parliamentary Websites

In recent years, parliaments around the world have enhanced their websites in order to improve access to legislative information and other parliamentary resources. Innovative features allow constituents and researchers to locate and utilize detailed information on laws and lawmaking in various ways. These include tracking tools and alerts, apps, the use of open data technology, and different search functions. In some cases, information on more than one website is provided where separate sites have been established for different chambers of the national parliament.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


10/19/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Right to Counsel for Detained Migrants

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Right to Counsel for Detained Migrants

This report provides information on the laws of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, and the United Kingdom regarding the right to counsel for detained migrants. All countries included in the study allow detained migrants to be assisted by a lawyer. In Canada and Israel the authorities are required to inform detained migrants about their right to legal representation, and in France, Germany, and Sweden the right to counsel is considered a constitutional principle. In most of the countries, it is up to the migrant or asylum seeker to hire counsel; the government does not have an obligation to provide legal services to a person who entered the country without a valid visa or is subject to deportation. The United Kingdom appears to be the only country where legal counsel is provided by the government’s legal aid agency free of charge to all migrants in detention. Financial assistance may be requested by those migrants who cannot afford a lawyer at their own expense in France. In some countries, the provision of government-paid legal assistance depends on the specific circumstances. In Sweden, the government has an obligation to provide legal assistance to minors, and to some other migrants because of their needs. In Germany, a legal representative may be appointed by the court if the court deems it necessary. No country was found where the law would prevent a migrant from receiving assistance from volunteer lawyers or legal aid organizations funded by other than national budget sources. The details of each country’s governing laws are provided below, in alphabetical order.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


10/12/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Israel: Extrajudicial Sanctions Against Husbands Noncompliant with Rabbinical Divorce Rulings

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Israel: Extrajudicial Sanctions Against Husbands Noncompliant with Rabbinical Divorce Rulings

In a five-to-two decision, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected petitions by two Jewish husbands against rulings by rabbinical courts subjecting them to the application of twelfth-century social religious sanctions not expressly authorized under Israeli law.  The sanctions were designed to pressure husbands to comply with divorce judgements issued against them by rabbinical courts.  The Supreme Court accepted the petitions only with regard to one specific sanction that was held to conflict with current principles of Israeli law.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


10/05/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Trade Implications of Brexit: Lessons from Austria’s Accession and Greenland’s Withdrawal

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Trade Implications of Brexit: Lessons from Austria’s Accession and Greenland’s Withdrawal

The procedure for withdrawal from the European Union (EU) is governed by article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Article 50 has never been used and presents uncharted political and legal territory. It is only applicable to the withdrawal of Member States. As there is no precedent for a Member State leaving the EU, negotiations surrounding the accession of new member states or the withdrawal of countries or territories that are associated with an EU Member State might provide some guidance. This report will look at the accession of Austria to the EU as an example of a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and World Trade Organization member joining the EU. As an example of a withdrawal, this report will examine the withdrawal of Greenland, an autonomous territory within the EU Member State Denmark, from the European Economic Community.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


09/28/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Parliamentary Procedures Requiring a Supermajority

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Parliamentary Procedures Requiring a Supermajority

This report identifies countries where a vote by a supermajority of legislators is required to change or initiate some parliamentary procedures. The report’s focus is mainly on the procedural requirements for deviation from standing orders and the termination of filibusters. Following a detailed review of procedural rules accepted by legislatures worldwide, the report includes foreign jurisdictions where legal acts defining parliamentary procedures require a qualified majority vote on a motion to proceed with debating a bill, or to close deliberations and move to voting.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


09/21/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Lobbying Disclosure Laws

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Lobbying Disclosure Laws

This report surveys laws governing registration of lobbyists in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. A French law requiring registration will go into effect on July 1, 2017. The UK enacted a lobbying registration law in 2014 that requires lobbyists whose annual lobbying business reaches a certain threshold to disclose specified information. Germany does not have a mandatory register for lobbyists at the federal level, although it does have a voluntary register.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


09/14/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Israel: Sentencing of Soldier Convicted of Killing Neutralized Palestinian Assailant

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Israel: Sentencing of Soldier Convicted of Killing Neutralized Palestinian Assailant

On February 21, 2017, the Military Court Central District sentenced an Israel Defense Forces sergeant to imprisonment for 18 months and ordered that he be demoted to the rank of private.  The defendant was also sentenced to an additional 12 months of imprisonment if he commits another manslaughter offense within three years, as well as an additional six months’ imprisonment if he unlawfully uses a weapon within two years.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


09/07/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Germany: The Development of Migration and Citizenship Law in Postwar Germany

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Germany: The Development of Migration and Citizenship Law in Postwar Germany

Postwar migration into Germany started in the 1950s with ethnic German resettlers who were fleeing discrimination or persecution in the former communist “Eastern bloc” on the one hand, and actively planned labor migration into Germany on the other. The Act on Foreigners of 1965 and the Act on Foreigners of 1990 regulated only the entry into Germany and the residence status of foreigners.

The rising number of asylum seekers and immigrants in the late 1980s made migration policy a focus of the federal elections in 1990. The discussion resulted in the “asylum compromise” in 1992, which amended the right to asylum for political persecution by introducing the concepts of safe third country and safe country of origin, and the airport procedure. In 2000, the lack of skilled workers in the IT-sector sparked another debate on reforming German migration policy, controlled migration, and Germany as an “immigration country,” which culminated in the adoption of the Migration Act in 2005. The Migration Act overhauled German migration policy and placed the focus on long-term residency for migrants, in particular for skilled workers, and on integration measures. The latest amendment to the migration framework, the Integration Act, entered into force in August 2016.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


08/31/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: National Parliaments

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, National Parliaments

This report describes the national Parliaments of Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  It traces the establishment of the current national parliamentary systems and locations of the these Parliaments.  The report also discusses the elections of each Parliament’s members, the members’ terms of office, and the legislative process by which bills are introduced and passed into law.

Additional countries added in February 2017: India; Kenya; Nigeria; Pakistan.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


08/24/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Blasphemy and Related Laws

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Blasphemy and Related Laws

This report surveys laws criminalizing blasphemy, defaming religion, harming religious feelings, and similar conduct in 77 jurisdictions. In some instances the report also addresses laws criminalizing proselytization. Laws prohibiting incitement to religious hatred and violence are outside the scope of this report, although in some cases such laws are mentioned where they are closely intertwined with blasphemy. The report focuses mostly on laws at the national level, and while it aims to cover the majority of countries with such laws, it does not purport to be comprehensive.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


08/17/2017 02:00 PM
Legal Research Reports: Israel: Law for the Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria, 5777-2017

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Israel: Law for the Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria, 5777-2017

On February 6, 2017, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed a law for the regulation of land in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Land subject to the regulation is defined as that on which Israeli settlements were built “in good faith” or “with the consent of the state.” The law provides for registration of land ownership under the name of the government official in charge where ownership has not otherwise been established. Additionally, it provides for the expropriation of the rights of use and possession of privately-owned land in the region. Such expropriation will be in effect until a political resolution on the status of the region is achieved. Landowners whose property rights have been affected will be compensated.

Effective from the date of publication, the law suspends all pending administrative orders for the evacuation and destruction of settlements, except for those orders issued for the implementation of judicial decrees or court decisions. The law provides for the expiration of such suspended orders after a specified period.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


08/10/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Refugee Law and Policy

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Refugee Law and Policy

This report describes the law and policy on refugees and other asylum seekers in 22 geographically dispersed countries and, at the supranational level, in the European Union. The individual surveys cover such topics as participation in relevant international conventions; laws and regulations governing the admission of refugees and handling refugee claims; processes for handling refugees arriving at the border; procedures for evaluating whether an applicant is entitled to refugee status; the accommodations and assistance provided to refugees in the jurisdiction; requirements for naturalization; and whether asylum policy has been affected by international emergencies, such as the current refugee crisis in Europe.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


08/03/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws and Government Access to Encrypted Communications

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present two reports, Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws and Government Access to Encrypted Communications.

The Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws report contains information on laws regulating the collection of intelligence in the European Union, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Sweden. The report details how EU Members States control activities of their intelligence agencies and what restrictions are imposed on information collection.  All EU Member States follow EU legislation on personal data protection, which is a part of the common European Union responsibility. A comparative summary is available.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

The Government Access to Encrypted Communications report describes the law of 12 nations and the European Union on whether the government, pursuant to a court order or other government process, can require companies to decrypt encrypted communications or provide the government with the means to do so. Some of the surveys provide additional information on related surveillance issues like the law on monitoring and intercepting communications. The report finds that while there is a range of approaches among the surveyed countries, a majority make provision for specified intelligence or law enforcement agencies to obtain access to encrypted communications or the means of decryption under certain circumstances.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

These reports are two of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


07/27/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Legal Requirements for Travel by Unaccompanied Minors and Status of Unaccompanied Children Arriving at the EU Borders

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present two reports, Legal Requirements for Travel by Unaccompanied Minors and Status of Unaccompanied Children Arriving at the EU Borders

The report Legal Requirements for Travel by Unaccompanied Minors provides a review of the domestic laws and procedures regulating the travel of children abroad in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico—countries of origin for the majority of unaccompanied children caught crossing the United States border in 2012–2014. The report concludes that the migration legislation of all of the countries surveyed requires parental authorization for all minors traveling outside of the country. The laws of Mexico and Guatemala make possession of a passport a mandatory requirement for travel, and Honduran law prohibits the travel of unaccompanied minors.

The second report is Status of Unaccompanied Children Arriving at the EU Borders. At the core of the Common European Asylum System established by the European Union (EU) is the right to asylum and the prohibition of refoulement. EU Members are required to handle requests submitted by unaccompanied minors in conformity with the principle of the best interests of the child. EU asylum law applies to unaccompanied children from the time they arrive at the EU borders, and minors are entitled to remain in the territory of the host state until a final decision is made on their status. The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark have opted out of most of the EU asylum legislation.

These reports are two of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


07/20/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Regulation of Campaign Finance and Free Advertising

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Regulation of Campaign Finance and Free Advertising

This report discusses the regulation of campaign financing and spending in national elections and the availability of free airtime for campaign advertising in Austria, Canada, Finland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, the individual country surveys address the extent to which each country applies limits on the amounts that can be contributed to political parties and candidates, the existence of ceilings on campaign expenditures, and the availability of free airtime for broadcast advertising. Countries included in this study demonstrate different models used in regulating campaign financing.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


07/13/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Training Related to Combating Human Trafficking

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Training Related to Combating Human Trafficking.

This chart covers extradition rules for citizens in 157 jurisdictions. Note that many countries will not extradite anyone for political crimes or will not extradite an individual to a country that imposes capital punishment. Those two restrictions were not considered in the making of this chart, as they generally apply to requests to extradite both citizens and foreigners.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


07/06/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Veterans' Benefits for Noncitizens

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Veterans' Benefits for Noncitizens

This report provides information on the law on veterans’ benefits for noncitizens in France and Israel. France’s Parliament froze the pensions of military veterans from France’s former colonies in 1959, but after French courts ruled this practice to be contrary to antidiscrimination laws, the Parliament adopted legislation to unfreeze the pensions for colonial military veterans. Israeli law on veterans’ benefits generally depends on eligibility criteria that do not include place of residence or citizenship.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


06/29/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Law on Extradition of Citizens

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Law on Extradition of Citizens

This chart covers extradition rules for citizens in 157 jurisdictions. Note that many countries will not extradite anyone for political crimes or will not extradite an individual to a country that imposes capital punishment. Those two restrictions were not considered in the making of this chart, as they generally apply to requests to extradite both citizens and foreigners.

More information on this report is available in an In Custodia Legis blog post.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


06/22/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Patent Term Extensions and Adjustments

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Patent Term Extensions and Adjustments

This report surveys the law on extensions and adjustments of patents in nine jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. All of the surveyed jurisdictions provide for a standard patent term of twenty years, and all of them except Canada provide for extensions of protection for certain products that are subject to regulatory approval before they can be marketed. While Canada currently does not have legislation providing for extensions of patent protection, it is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union that in draft form provides for patent term extensions of two to five years for qualifying pharmaceutical products.

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports. 


06/15/2017 02:30 PM
Legal Research Reports: Israel: Military Court Decision on Killing Neutralized Palestinian Assailant

The Law Library of Congress is proud to present the report, Israel: Military Court Decision on Killing Neutralized Palestinian Assailant.

On January 4, 2017, Israel’s Military Court convicted a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces of manslaughter and of “unbecoming conduct” for shooting and killing an injured Palestinian assailant without justification and in violation of military rules of engagement. The Court ruled that the defendant’s act was not intended for the performance of a defined mission.  Taking a person’s life after he has been subdued—even the life of a “terrorist,” as the assailant is referred to throughout the decision—is prohibited and violated military ethical rules, the Court said, and as such did not coincide with the behavior expected from a soldier at the rank of the defendant. 

This report is one of many prepared by the Law Library of Congress. Visit the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports page for a complete listing of reports and the Current Legal Topics page for our highlighted and newer reports.