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Laws on Homosexuality in African Nations

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Laws on Homosexuality in African Nations
Source: Law Library of Congress

The following chart summarizes the treatment of homosexuality in the criminal laws of forty-nine African nations.  The provisions on criminal penalties only include penalties for acts involving adults, as all nations penalize sexual acts, whether homosexual or heterosexual, involving children.  Of the jurisdictions surveyed, only South Africa affirmatively permits same-sex marriage.

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Regulation of Bitcoin in Selected Jurisdictions (updated)

March 11, 2014 Comments off

Regulation of Bitcoin in Selected Jurisdictions
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report surveys forty foreign jurisdictions and the European Union, reporting on any regulations or statements from central banks or government offices on the handling of bitcoins as well as any significant use of bitcoins in business transactions. Topics covered include whether bitcoins are recognized as legal tender, the possibility of negative impacts on the national currency, concerns about fraud, and how transactions using the Bitcoin system are viewed by tax authorities.

Of those countries surveyed, only a very few, notably China and Brazil, have specific regulations applicable to bitcoin use. There is widespread concern about the Bitcoin system’s possible impact on national currencies, its potential for criminal misuse, and the implications of its use for taxation. Overall, the findings of this report reveal that the debate over how to deal with this new virtual currency is still in its infancy.

Our New Report Looks at Bitcoin in 40 Countries

February 14, 2014 Comments off

Our New Report Looks at Bitcoin in 40 Countries
Source: Law Library of Congress

The regulation of bitcoins in different countries was an interesting topic for us to research – we are often asked to explain provisions in legislation or regulations, and frequently look at government policy documents as well, but in this case the issues are still relatively new and the vast majority of the more than forty jurisdictions that we looked at don’t actually have specific rules or detailed policies at this stage. We therefore primarily focused on what the regulatory bodies and senior officials of the countries have said so far, whether in official press releases, on their websites, or in interviews with media outlets.

Many of the jurisdictions appear to be essentially monitoring the situation with regard to bitcoins before deciding whether or what further action to take. Some countries have started to make statements or issue guidance regarding the risks of dealing in bitcoins and the applicability of existing laws, including tax laws. What this means of course is that there may well be new developments in this area in a relatively short space of time – our report is basically a brief snapshot of the situation as of January 2014. We welcome comments and even updates that you might know about!

Points-Based Immigration Systems

November 18, 2013 Comments off

Points-Based Immigration Systems
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report discusses the points-based selection processes used by Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom within the context of the immigration systems of these countries. The individual country surveys reveal that Australia operates a hybrid system for skilled migration that involves employer sponsorship and a points-based visa program that was revised in 2012. The UK’s points-based program, introduced in 2003, provides for five different immigrant tiers. Canada uses a points-based selection process for its Federal Skilled Workers Program, which is one of several programs within its “economic class” of immigration. The specific criteria considered within the points-based programs of the countries surveyed vary but can include such factors as the applicant’s age, educational background, language abilities, experience, employment arrangements, and general adaptability, among others. All of the countries surveyed appear to emphasize labor market needs in their current selection processes.

Regulations Concerning the Private Possession of Big Cats

November 12, 2013 Comments off

Regulations Concerning the Private Possession of Big Cats
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report surveys the different legal approaches taken by twenty-one countries and the European Union in regulating the private possession of big cats. All the countries surveyed are members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Among them, China, India, Malaysia, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam are tiger range countries where tigers still exist in the wild. China, India, and Russia were found to designate wild tigers as state property

Just Published: Law Library of Congress Report on Guest Worker Programs

September 17, 2013 Comments off

Just Published: Law Library of Congress Report on Guest Worker Programs
Source: Law Library of Congress

A report titled Guest Worker Programs was recently added to the list of reports posted on the Law Library of Congress website under “Current Legal Topics” where you can also find a range of other comparative law reports on various topics.

The Guest Worker Programs report is based on a study conducted by staff of the Global Legal Research Center (GLRC). The report describes programs for the admission and employment of guest workers in fourteen selected countries:

  • Australia,
  • Brazil,
  • Canada,
  • China,
  • Germany,
  • Israel,
  • Japan,
  • Mexico,
  • Norway,
  • the Russian Federation,
  • South Korea,
  • Spain,
  • the United Arab Emirates, and
  • the United Kingdom.

It also provides information on the European Union’s Proposal for a Directive on Seasonal Employment, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Turkey regarding migrants of Turkish origin, and the Multilateral Framework of the International Labour Organization on the admission of guest workers. The complete report is also available in PDF.

The report includes a comparative analysis and individual chapters on each country, the EU, and relevant international arrangements. It provides a general overview of a variety of immigration systems, and addresses issues such as eligibility criteria for the admission of guest workers and their families, guest workers’ recruitment and sponsorship, and visa requirements. The report further discusses the tying of temporary workers to their employers in some countries; the duration and the conditions that apply to switching employers; the terms, including the renewability, of guest workers’ visas; and the availability of a path to permanent status.

Federal Statutes: A Beginner’s Guide

September 13, 2013 Comments off

Federal Statutes: A Beginner’s Guide
Source: Law Library of Congress

One of the most frequent requests we receive from patrons at the reference desk at the Law Library Reading Room is for help in tracking down statutes passed by the United States Congress. While at first glance, finding a statute may seem straightforward, there are several features–such as the statute’s citation (or lack thereof), and its age, among many others–that might give rise to confusion and difficulty. In this Beginner’s Guide, we will try to de-mystify federal statutory research by explaining the statutory publication process and describing where each type of statutory publication can be found.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

Israel: Criminal and Ethical Aspects of Municipal Rabbis’ Letter Concerning the Sale or Rental of Property in Israel to Non-Jews

February 22, 2011 Comments off

Israel: Criminal and Ethical Aspects of Municipal Rabbis’ Letter Concerning the Sale or Rental of Property in Israel to Non-Jews
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report analyzes the criminal and ethical aspects of a letter published by fifty municipal rabbis in Israel alleging that Jewish law prohibits the sale or rental of property in Israel to non-Jews. It suggests that the publication of the letter may have constituted an offense under Israel’s penal law and may also subject its signatories to ethical penalties. It further suggests that at least with regard to one of the signatories, an indictment under the Penal Law is highly likely.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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