Law Library Stacks

The Law Library of Congress produces reports primarily for members of Congress.  The legal research reports listed below by topic provide commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. These reports are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The information provided reflects research undertaken as of the date of writing, which has not been updated unless specifically noted.

This page highlights the most recent reports. See the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports for our complete list of reports.

Adoption, Custody, and Parentage

Provisions on Child Abduction in Non-Hague Countries

This report covers laws on parental child abduction and the legal aid that may be available to parents of abducted children in 38 countries that have not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. While in many countries no specific legislation or programs dealing with international abduction of children could be located, existing laws and general legal aid programs may be relevant. (May 2015)

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Aeronautics and Space

Germany: Privatization of Air Traffic Control

The original wording of article 87d of the German Basic Law precluded privatization of air traffic administration. A first constitutional amendment in 1992 was interpreted to permit only corporatization. In order to allow functional privatization and implement the European Union Single European Sky framework, article 87d of the Basic Law was amended a second time in 2009. (May 2015)

Regulation of Drones

The increased use of drones for civilian applications has presented many countries with regulatory challenges. Such challenges include the need to ensure that drones are operated safely, without harming public and national security, and in a way that would protect areas of national, historical, or natural importance. A variety of the countries surveyed in this report have also made efforts to address concerns regarding the property and privacy rights of landowners or other persons impacted by the operation of drones. (April 2016)

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Armed Forces

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. (Jan. 2017)

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.  (Mar. 2017)

Japan: Interpretations of Article 9 of the Constitution

One of the distinctive features of Japan’s current Constitution is its embrace of pacifism. In article 9 of the Constitution, Japan is allowed the Jieitai, Self-Defense Forces (SDF), but many have argued that the SDF is in fact a military organization and that its existence is unconstitutional. The government has interpreted article 9 of the Constitution to legalize and limit the SDF, and there has historically been limited support to amend article 9. However, global political and security issues impacting Japan have changed, as have the viewpoints of the Japanese people, and there now appear to be realistic opportunities to amend article 9. (Sept. 2015)

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Banking and Finance

Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World

This report surveys the legal and policy landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies around the world. This report covers 130 countries as well as some regional organizations that have issued laws or policies on the subject. The past four years have seen cryptocurrencies become ubiquitous, prompting more national and regional authorities to grapple with their regulation. The expansive growth of cryptocurrencies makes it possible to identify emerging patterns. (June 2018)

Regulation of Cryptocurrency in Selected Jurisdictions

This report summarizes the cryptocurrency policies and regulatory regimes in 14 jurisdictions around the world. Among the key issues covered in the report are matters relating to the legality of cryptocurrency markets; the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies; and the applicability of anti-money laundering, anti-organized crime, and anti-terrorism-financing laws. (June 2018)

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Constitutional Issues

Immunity from Prosecution for Former Presidents

This chart reports on 32 jurisdictions with constitutional or statutory provisions addressing immunity of current and former presidents. Where a provision was located specifying whether presidents continue to have immunity after they leave office, such provision is noted. The chart also includes each country’s Freedom House aggregate score, a scale that comparatively assesses political rights and civil liberties in each country. (Oct. 2017)

Interstate Compacts in the United States

An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States that is approved by those states’ respective legislatures, and, if required based on the subject matter of the compact, consented to by the US Congress.  Compacts that receive congressional consent become federal law. A compact typically includes provisions regarding its purpose; specific terms with respect to the subject of the compact; in some cases, establishment of an interstate agency to administer the compact or some other method of administration; sources of funding; and other contract terms. (June 2018)

Laws Lifting Sovereign Immunity

This report provides a review of laws adopted in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Russia, Sudan, and Syria on lifting the sovereign immunity of foreign states. Individual lawsuits against the United States brought before national and international courts by these countries are also analyzed. Except for Iran and Russia, the surveyed countries have no specific legislation addressing general principles of sovereign immunity. Iran uses domestic counterterrorism legislation to facilitate the freezing of financial assets of foreign governments. Syria uses such legislation to freeze the assets of individuals, including government officials, while Sudan uses it simply to prosecute foreign nationals. Cuba and Iran have adopted special laws targeting the US. (May 2016)

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. (Apr. 2017)

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Crime and Law Enforcement

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. (June 2017)

Decriminalization of Narcotics

This report provides a review of laws adopted in 16 countries with regard to legalization, decriminalization, or other forms of regulation of narcotics and other psychoactive substances. Individual country surveys included in this study demonstrate varied approaches to the problem of prosecuting drug use, possession, manufacturing, purchase, and sale. The country surveys demonstrate some diversity and common threads among these jurisdictions as to defining narcotics, distinguishing between “hard” and “soft” drugs, establishing special regulations concerning cannabis, refusing to prosecute personal use and/or possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use, giving law enforcement authorities the discretion not to prosecute minors and first-time offenders, applying alternative forms of punishment, and providing treatment opportunities. (July 2016)

Egypt: Sexual Violence Against Women

Violence against women has been a significant social and legal problem in Egypt for decades. The two main legislative instruments protecting women from sexual violence are the Egyptian Constitution of 2014 and the Criminal Code of 1937 and its amendments. The Egyptian Constitution of 2014 not only preserved the rights granted to women by previous Egyptian Constitutions but also introduced more rights aimed at protecting women from other forms of violence and discrimination. (Oct. 2016)

Japan: 2016 Criminal Justice System Reform

Japan made reforms to its criminal justice system in June 2016 by amending its Criminal Procedure Code and other laws. The reform that received the most discussion by Japan’s Judicial System Committee was the introduction of the mandatory video recording of interrogations. Another reform that was introduced was bargaining between the defendant and the prosecutor. New crimes were also added to the list of those in which suspects’ communications may be intercepted. In addition, the scope of evidence that must be disclosed in trials was expanded, and new measures to protect witnesses and victims were introduced. (Nov. 2016)

Legal Status of Khat

This chart summarizes the legal status of khat (Catha edulis, also known as kat, qat, chat, and miraa), a plant whose leaves have a stimulant effect when chewed. It includes information regarding the legality of khat in each jurisdiction and, where it is banned, the applicable penalties. According to applicable tax laws or secondary sources, khat appears to be legal in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen, but is banned in Jordan. Its status in Turkey, where it is categorized as a controlled substance, is unclear. Whereas it is legal under Turkish law to produce, sell, import, and export khat with a license, it appears that consumption of the substance is banned. (May 2015)

Miranda Warning Equivalents Abroad

This report contains short summaries describing warnings similar to the Miranda warning that are required in 108 jurisdictions around the globe. The warnings specified in the surveyed jurisdictions vary, but typically include the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. A number of countries also specify that a person who is arrested or detained has the right to be informed of the reasons for the arrest or detention or of the charges being brought. In some countries, the additional right to have these things explained in a language the detainee understands is explicitly stated. Countries surveyed that have no Miranda-type warning were not included. (May 2016)

Sports Betting and Integrity Agreements

This report provides information on the law on sports betting and integrity agreements in Australia and Great Britain. Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001 allows for the provision of online and telephone sports betting services to customers in Australia. Each state and territory has its own legislation that regulates sports betting. Gambling in Great Britain is permitted and regulated by the Gambling Act 2005. Internet gambling operations fall within the purview of the Act if one piece of equipment related to online gambling is located within Great Britain. (July 2018)

Training Related to Combating Human Trafficking

This report describes the programs of 18 countries and the European Union involving combating human trafficking, with a special focus on the training of personnel. Each survey provides a brief introduction to the jurisdiction’s legal framework on human trafficking, describes the roles and responsibilities of particular government agencies in enforcing laws against human trafficking, and provides a description of training programs or initiatives that are conducted by and provided to government personnel. A majority of the surveyed countries have laws specifically targeting the problem of human trafficking and almost all the surveyed countries are parties to relevant international instruments addressing human trafficking. (February 2016)

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Education, Family, and Children's Rights

Constitutional Right to an Education

This report describes the law of twenty jurisdictions on the right to education, and whether the right appears in the national constitution or in statutory law. The jurisdictions selected for review have different constitutional arrangements and reflect diverse political, cultural, and economic experiences. All of the surveyed jurisdictions recognize the right to education. Fifteen of them provide for the right in their national constitutions, while five provide for the right through legislation. All reflect an interesting diversity in how the right to education is recognized in varied jurisdictions around the globe. (May 2016)

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Elections and Campaign Finance

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. (Mar. 2017)

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. (Mar. 2016)

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Government Powers and Litigation

Government Services Feedback Practices

This report surveys laws and practices regarding feedback on customer satisfaction from users of government services. The jurisdictions selected provide an array of representative approaches to obtaining feedback regarding user satisfaction. Some countries have enacted laws requiring agencies to obtain information on customer satisfaction and incorporate such data into quality improvement efforts. Many of the countries reviewed here have established programs for evaluating customer satisfaction of public services. Some countries have provided for large-scale, centralize surveying of customer satisfaction. (Oct. 2017)

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Government Spending

Switzerland: Implementation of Article 126 of the Swiss Constitution – The “Debt Brake”

Article 126 of the Swiss Constitution codifies a fiscal rule for the federal government called “debt brake,” which is designed to finance expenditures through revenues instead of new debt. It was first applied in the federal budget of 2003. Details of the debt brake are implemented in articles 13 to 18 of the Financial Budget Act. Compliance is monitored by the Swiss Federal Audit Office. (June 2016)

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Healthcare, Safety, and Bioethics

Abortion Legislation in Europe

This report summarizing laws on abortion in selected European countries shows diverse approaches to the regulation of abortion in Europe. A majority of the surveyed countries allow abortion upon the woman’s request in the early weeks of pregnancy, and allow abortion under specified circumstances in later periods. A comparative summary with maps is included. (Jan. 2015)

Germany: Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes in Germany are currently not subject to any age-related access restrictions. The Federal Administrative Court concluded recently that nicotine-containing liquids in electronic cigarettes are not medicinal products and therefore can be sold without approval in accordance with the Medicinal Products Act. It is still unclear whether such liquids are covered by tobacco regulations and antismoking laws. (July 2015)

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies

This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions, including countries from six continents, the European Union, and the World Health Organization. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided. A comparative summary and a bibliography are included. (Feb 2015)

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Immigration, Nationality, and Citizenship

Fees Charged for Asylum Applications by States Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention

This report surveys laws related to asylum granting procedures in 147 countries that are States Parties to the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and/or its 1967 Protocol. It identifies fees charged to applicants in connection with an application for asylum. According to the research findings, the vast majority of countries do not charge a fee for applying for asylum. In some instances, implementing legislation was located but no information regarding fees was found; for these countries the chart indicates “no fee located.” (Dec. 2017)

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 rising number of asylum seekers and immigrants in the late 1980s made migration policy a focus of the federal elections in 1990. The 2005 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. (March 2017)

Laws Concerning Children of Undocumented Migrants

This report surveys the laws related to the treatment of undocumented migrants who arrived as minors, their eligibility for obtaining legal status and access to social benefits, and their possibilities for becoming citizens. Additionally, all country surveys provide a general overview of national migration legislation, and past amnesty programs are reviewed to illustrate national efforts in resolving problems involving the legalization of undocumented youth. A comparative summary and map is included. (Sept. 2017)

New Zealand: ‘Climate Change Refugee’ Case Overview

A New Zealand case involving an application for refugee status based on the effects of climate change in the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati has received media attention around the world. The proceedings in the case came to a close in July 2015, when the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the highest court in the country, dismissed an application for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in which it ruled against the applicant. (July 2015)

Provisions on Child Asylum Seekers

This report surveys the laws of eight democratic foreign jurisdictions with respect to whether there are special laws concerning children asylum-seekers, particularly unaccompanied children.  As discussed more fully in the jurisdictional surveys, all of the jurisdictions covered in this report have provisions treating asylum-seeking minors differently from asylum-seeking adults.  Covered jurisdictions include the countries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union (EU).  (May 2018)

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. (Mar. 2016)

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 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. (May 2017)

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Intellectual Property

Digital Legal Deposit

This report surveys laws regulating the mandatory legal deposit of electronic materials. 15 countries representing different approaches to collecting, describing, preserving, and storing digital and non-print documents and providing access to them are included in the study. Each country survey provides information on the history of e-deposit programs in the country, identifies the national institutions charged with collecting and preserving electronic materials, analyzes the legal framework for depositing digital materials, lists the requirements applicable to publishers of such material, and describes the measures taken to bring e-deposit programs in line with the restrictions established by national copyright laws. (July 2018)

Mandatory Deposit Laws

This report contains data on 131 countries, indicating whether or not published books are subject to a mandatory deposit requirement at the national level and, if so, how many copies are required, where they must be deposited, and whether the deposit is part of the copyright system.  Citations to the controlling legislation for mandatory deposits are provided.  In all but 13 of the jurisdictions surveyed, deposits are required.  For some of these thirteen jurisdictions, deposits are voluntary, while in others, no information regarding deposit practices could be found.  Asterisks in the copyright system column indicate that the deposit requirement is contained in the copyright law. (Dec. 2017)

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. (Mar. 2016)

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Legal History, Traditions, and System

Egypt: Access to the Justice System and to Legal Aid

In Egypt, free access to the justice system and legal aid are constitutional rights. This concept can be found in various legislative instruments across the legislative spectrum, including the Criminal Procedures Code, Family Law, Child (Juvenile) Law, Human Trafficking Law, and Advocacy Law. The Supreme Court of Egypt, the Court of Cassation, affirmed this principle in its rulings. (Dec. 2017)

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. (July 2017)

National Parliaments

These reports describe national parliaments in a variety of jurisdictions. They trace the establishment of the current national parliamentary systems and locations of these Parliaments. They also discuss the elections of each Parliament's memebers, the members' terms of office, and the legislative process by which bills are introduced and passed into law. The 2016 report covers 11 jurisdictions, the 2017 report adds India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan; and the 2018 report adds six more reports including the European Parliament and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. (Jan. 2016; Feb. 2017; Feb. 2018)

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. (Aug. 2017)

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Marriage, Divorce, and Estates

Inheritance Laws in the 19th and 20th Centuries

This report summarizes inheritance law in the 19th and 20th centuries in France, Germany, and the United States. French law of the period reflected the egalitarian system of inheritance brought about by the French Revolution, even after reforms instituted by the Napoleonic Code. Nineteenth-century German law was splintered into territorial regimes characterized by differentiated succession rules for the nobility versus the peasantry—a distinction that continued to some extent even after the unified German Civil Code became effective in 1900. Early inheritance law in the United States, premised on English law, was a matter of state law (as it is today) and thus varied, but during the period in question became much more egalitarian with regard to the inheritance rights of women. (Mar. 2015)

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. (May 2017)

Israel: Spousal Agreements for Couples Not Belonging to Any Religion—A Civil Marriage Option?

Marriage and divorce in Israel are generally subject to the application of personal status laws of the parties involved. Jewish Israelis who do not qualify under Jewish law or who do not wish to undergo religious ceremonies are trying to find alternative ways to marry and divorce. The Law on Spousal Agreements for Persons Without a Religion partially addressed the problems of couples where both spouses do not belong to any recognized religion. It did not, however, resolve the problems shared by couples where one spouse does belong to such a religion. Whereas some perceive the law as a positive step in regulating marriage and divorce in Israel, others view it as a step back, creating more dependence on religious courts and further dividing Israel’s society not only along religious lines but even within religious groups. The law clearly does not provide a new civil law option to religiously recognized marriages. (Sept. 2015)

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Plants, Animals, and the Environment

Crude Oil Royalty Rates

This chart lists royalty rates for crude oil production in selected countries where production occurs on lands owned or controlled in whole or part by the national government. The countries selected include leading oil-producing countries that impose royalties; countries that do not impose royalties are excluded. While there are other fiscal instruments used to raise revenue from oil production, this chart focuses solely on royalties. (Jan. 2015)

Laws on Leg-Hold Animal Traps Around the World

The chart below contains information on laws regulating or banning the use of leg-hold traps in 108 jurisdictions. In a number of jurisdictions the law generally regulates or bans all traps, or prohibits trapping in particular areas, without separately addressing the question of leg-hold traps. Countries with laws that merely provide in general terms that animals must be treated humanely have not been included. Some countries, such as India and Sri Lanka, have at times considered restrictions on traps but to date have not adopted them; such countries are not listed here. (Augt. 2016; Supplemental report Oct. 2016)

Regulation of Air Pollution

This report includes surveys of 11 jurisdictions. The country surveys cover each jurisdiction’s regulation of both stationary and mobile sources of air pollution, and of pollutants including sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutants.  Fuel quality standards, renewable fuel requirements, and vehicle emissions standards are covered, as are strategies for meeting international requirements to address climate change. (June 2018)

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Privacy Rights and Data Protection

Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws

This report offers a review of laws regulating the collection of intelligence in the European Union (EU) and Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This report updates a report on the same topic issued from 2014. Because issues of national security are under the jurisdiction of individual EU Member States and are regulated by domestic legislation, individual country surveys provide examples of how the European nations 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. (June 2016)

Government Access to Encrypted Communications

This 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. (May 2016)

Laws on Erasure of Online Information

This report describes the laws of twelve jurisdictions that have some form of remedy available enabling the removal of online data based on harm to individuals’ privacy or reputational interests, including but not limited to defamation. Six of the countries surveyed are within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area, and therefore have implemented EU law. Five non-EU jurisdictions are also surveyed. A comparative summary is included. (Nov. 2017)

Online Privacy Law

These reports describe the data protection laws of the European Union and of, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. They describe the legal framework for the collection, use, and transfer of data, and examine whether existing laws are adequate to deal with online privacy in an era of rapid technological development and globalization. (Dec. 2017)

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Property and Land Rights

China: Real Property Law

Individuals cannot privately own land in China but may obtain transferrable land-use rights for a number of years for a fee. Currently, the maximum term for urban land-use rights granted for residential purposes is 70 years. In addition, individuals can privately own residential houses and apartments on the land (“home ownership”), although not the land on which the buildings are situated. Both urban land-use rights and home ownership are subject to registration. (Oct. 2014; updated Mar. 2015)

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). 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. (Feb. 2017)

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Religion and the Law

Legal Restrictions on Religious Slaughter in Europe

This report includes surveys of the laws of twenty-one European jurisdictions concerning the legality of religious slaughter.  All European countries that do not allow kosher or halal slaughter of animals are included; some but not all countries that permit such slaughter subject to regulation are also included. (Mar. 2018)

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 eight out of 29 states. While there are some variations between the state laws, they all 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.” Penalties for breaching the laws can range from monetary fines to imprisonment. (October 2018)

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Taxation and Corporations

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. (July 2017)

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Treaties and International Agreements

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. (Apr. 2017)

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War Crimes, Terrorism, and National Security

Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia: Response to Terrorism

Algeria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia have adopted broad definitions of terrorism, raising concerns that they could include acts of political dissent. At various points they have also adopted criminal procedure provisions that lowered certain restrictions for investigations of crimes labeled as crimes of terrorism, made the financing of terrorism a separate offense, and required all suspicious financial transactions to be subject to scrutiny by special financial units before they are referred to the competent criminal authorities. In addition, Morocco and Saudi Arabia recognize that there is a religious component to the acts of terrorism committed by many terrorist organizations. They proclaim to have established special programs to seek to address this element of terrorism by means other than the criminal justice system. (Sept. 2015)

Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes Jurisdiction

This chart reports on 149 jurisdictions that have laws punishing at least one of the three crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes. It indicates, where information was available, whether those laws cover only nationals, foreign persons when the offense is committed within the territory, or foreign persons when the offenses are committed outside of the country’s borders. In cases for which it is known that the laws have actually been applied, that information is included. (Nov. 2016)

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. (Nov. 2016)

Legal Provisions on Fighting Extremism

This report analyzes anti-extremist legislation and other legal provisions on fighting extremism in China, Pakistan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The definition of “extremism” is examined, as well as the purpose and procedural aspects of the legislation. (Nov. 2015)

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Last Updated: 10/10/2018