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Vatican City State Legal Research Guide

This research guide is aimed at assisting legal researchers at the Catholic University of America in finding information about the structure and organization of the temporal law of the Vatican City State (VCS).

Survey Articles

A couple of short survey articles exist which can provide the researcher with a basic overview of the city state’s legal system.  The most useful of these is Jorri Duursma, “The State of the Vatican City,” in Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-States.  Duursma’s 45-page chapter provides an excellent overview of the history and status of the VCS  Particular attention is paid to the international status of the city state and the extent to which it has achieved independence from Italy.

  • Jorri Duursma, Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-States: Self-Determination and Statehood (1996).  (STACKS KZ4041 .D88 1996).

Also recommended, albeit far more concise, is Robert Shelledy’s “Vatican entry in Legal Systems of the World.  This succinct entry provides an historical account of the development of the legal system, together with a description of the legal concepts that govern the nation and an accurate depiction of the current structure of the legal system.

  • Robert B. Shelledy, Legal Systems of the World (Herbert M. Kritzer ed., 2002). (REFERENCE K48 .L44 2002).

Librarian

Judge Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library / 3600 John McCormack Road N.E., Washington, DC 20064 / 202-319-5155