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U.S. Treaties: A Beginner’s Guide

December 3, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Treaties: A Beginner’s Guide
Source: Law Library of Congress

Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur… ” An early attempt by the President and Senate to negotiate the exercise of this power provided an interesting anecdote. According to the Senate Historical Office, on August 22, 1789, President Washington traveled to the Senate to submit a treaty concerning Native American Indian Tribes. While the President waited, the Senate decided to postpone consideration of the treaty rather than debate the questions in front of the President. According to Maclay’s Journal an irritated, President Washington exclaimed, “This defeats every purpose of my coming here!” and resolved to submit subsequent treaty communications to the Senate in writing. To learn more about the development of the treaty power and its application, please refer to the United States Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation’s discussion of Article II, Section 2.

There are several options for researchers trying to find copies of treaties to which the United States is or was a party. In fact, we were inspired to write this post by the new Treaties digital collection added to the Law Library of Congress website. As of now, the digital collection includes a digital copy of the first four volumes of Charles I. Bevans’s Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949, which includes copies of the English version (or English translation) of multilateral treaties to which the United States was a party. Digital copies of the remaining volumes (5-12), which include the bilateral treaties to which the United States was a party during this period, will be added in the near future.

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New Comparative Law Report — Approval of Medical Devices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Approval of Medical Devices (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report describes the approval process for medical devices in the European Union and fifteen countries, and also indicates whether or not an expedited approval procedure is available. Many of the countries reference EU law, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Israel more readily approves devices with a CE mark (indicating approval in the EU) or an indication that they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In many nations, particularly those influenced by the EU, part of the review process is conducted not by the government but by private, independent organizations called “notified bodies.” These organizations are designated by EU Member States.

In most of the countries in the survey, medical devices are categorized based on the risks associated with their use, and the approval process varies by category. For example, in the United Kingdom, manufacturers of low-risk devices may register with the government agency and simply declare that the devices meet the requirements to be approved. Devices classed as higher risk must undergo more detailed review, by a notified body.

On the question of an expedited approval process, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland permit some sort of rapid review in particular cases, often when a device is required for an individual patient and no substitute is available. Mexico has provided for more rapid approval of devices if they have already been approved in either Canada or the United States. No such procedure exists at present in Brazil, France, Israel, the Russian Federation, or the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did have a rapid approval system in place prior to August 2014. Germany provides for temporary approval of devices in limited circumstances. South Africa is now considering draft legislation that would include expedited procedures in specified situations.

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report provides information on select international and regional measures and the laws of 97 jurisdictions from around the world that relate to allowing children to reside in prison with an incarcerated parent. Most of the countries surveyed impose specific age limits for a child’s admission into and length of stay in prison. Additionally, most of jurisdictions surveyed require that prisons that admit children meet certain standards.

Police Weapons in Selected Jurisdictions

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Police Weapons in Selected Jurisdictions
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the weapons and equipment generally at the disposal of law enforcement officers in several countries around the world. It also provides, for each of these countries, a brief overview of the rules governing the use of weapons by law enforcement officers. Precise and reliable information on the weapons and equipment of some countries’ police forces was often difficult to find.

Sentencing Guidelines — Australia • England and Wales • India South Africa • Uganda

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Sentencing Guidelines — Australia • England and Wales • India South Africa • Uganda (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

Sentencing guidelines in the common law countries of Australia, England and Wales, India, South Africa, and Uganda vary significantly. England and Wales have a Sentencing Council that develops offense-specific guidelines that the courts must follow, while Uganda’s Supreme Court has developed guidelines that are advisory only. In India and Australia, no formal guidelines exist and judges retain wide discretion in sentencing, but both countries have mechanisms in place to provide general guidance—in Australia through state legislation and in India through a series of court decisions that identify relevant sentencing factors.

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption
Source: Law Library of Congress

In Part Two of our Family Law Beginner’s Guide, we are shifting our focus to what the law says about children’s roles in the family—focusing on their custody and care. Below, please find information and resources for legal researchers regarding child custody, child support, and domestic adoption.

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1: Formation and Dissolution of Marriage

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1: Formation and Dissolution of Marriage
Source: Law Library of Congress

Whether it be in relation to marriage, the birth of children, adoption, or divorce, family law is one area of the law that affects nearly everyone. But even though family law is a part of daily life, legal issues in this area can quickly become complex. Below, we have collected a sampling of the marriage and divorce law resources available, both at the Law Library of Congress and on the free web, to help researchers get a better handle on these issues.

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