No central international body that creates PIL Creators of public law: representatives of nation states and Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGOs) (e.g. United Nations, European Union)
The articles in the EPIL are written by experts in the areas of law covered and are accompanied by bibliographies on the topic of the article. These bibliographies are outdated in part but can provide an excellent springboard for basic research.
Treaties may be bilateral (between two countries), or multilateral (between three or more countries). The treaty text may provide for the manner by which it takes effect. Generally, treaties will enter into force when it has been signed and ratified by a certain number of parties. Parties to a treaty may ratify a treaty with reservations or other declarations unless the terms of the treaty place restrictions on those actions. A reservation is a country's attempt to modify certain terms of the treaty, as it applies between itself and other countries. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is the UN agreement that governs the law relating to treaties and it can be used as a guide on how treaties and other fundamental concepts are made.
“preparatory works” - loosely referring to all documents such as memoranda , minutes of conferences, and drafts of treaties under negotiations for the purposes of interpreting the treaty. “ Normally restricted to materials in writing. Should be accessible and known to all parties in order to be considered as part of the prepartory works. When do we refer to it. Usually for interpretative reasons when there is some disagreememnt regarding the meaning of the agreement. Looking for insight in to the common intentions and agreed definitions of the negotiators.
Research pil 20140124
Public International Law
Research Librarian, Law
Books and Journal Articles
Books and Journal Articles
The Library offers access to a selection of books and
journals on international law.
Search for journal articles using the following databases.
Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MP
A useful resource for introductions to essential concepts
and recent developments in public international law.
Electronic Resources for International Law The
American Society for International Law
An Introduction to Public International Law Research
By Vicenç Feliú (May/June 2010) NYU Globalex
Hoffman, M. & Rumsey, M.
International and Foreign Legal Research: a Courseboo
(Leiden : Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008.)
Research Guides on Specific Topics
Provides an overview of the instruments, documents, and other
resources for researching the European Union, a legal system
based on a "supranational" legal framework.
International Human Rights
The focus of this chapter is on the main organizations which
promulgate human rights instruments: the United Nations, the
Council of Europe, the International Labour Organization, the
Organization of American States, and many others. The
chapter points to Web sites for locating primary documents,
including international instruments, case law, and other relevant
information. It also provides links and tips for locating
secondary sources, such as country reports, NGO
documentation, and periodical literature.
Charter of the United Nations (1945)
Statute of the International Court of Justice (1945)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
A useful resource for locating citations to many
important treaties and agreements is
Frequently-Cited Treaties and Other International Agree
An Introduction to Sources for Treaty Research
By Mark Engsberg and Mary Beth Chappell (2011)
Available on Globalex
Table of Contents
B. Treaties and International Agreements
C. A Brief Treaty Lexicon
D. Locating Treaty Texts
E. Multilateral Treaties
F. Bilateral Treaties: US not a Party
G. Electronic Sources for Treaty Research
1. Free Internet Resources
2. Subscription Databases
Some important questions to ask before starting your
Is it a bilateral or multilateral treaty?
Who are the parties to the treaty?
Is the treaty in force?
Has the treaty been signed, ratified, repudiated, or
Are there reservations to the treaty?
Is there an international organization that oversees or
administers international law in the subject area of the
(Introduction to Public International Law Research By Vicenç Feliú , 2010
Singapore Treaties and Agreements
“The Singapore Treaties Database, maintained by the
Attorney-General´s Chambers, contains records of
treaties to which Singapore is a party, including
exchanges of letters, memoranda of understanding,
and other agreements regarded as treaties under
international law. Key treaties are available in full-text
This database is accessible via LawNet
NUS–Centre for International Law (CIL)
For ASEAN Treaties
Council for Europe, Treaty Office
ECOLEX Web-site on the environmental law information and legislation. www.ecolex.org
Environmental treaties and Resource Indicators - online service for accessing multilateral
environmental treaty data.
FAO Conventions and Agreements –
International Criminal Court
International Labour Organization
International Maritime Organization
International Monetary Fund
United Nations Environment Programme
World Health Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization
World Trade Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
List of Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGOs)
Pratter’s guide provides a very useful framework for
researching Travaux Préparatoires.
À la Recherche des Travaux Préparatoires: An
Approach to Researching the Drafting History of
International Agreements By Jonathan Pratter
(May/June 2012) .
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
List of Contentious Cases by date of introduction
List of Advisory Proceedings referred to the Court since 1946 by
Pending Cases (Case(s) currently being heard or under
ICJ judgments are also available on
Oxford Reports on International Law
Legal > Area of Law - By Topic > International Law
Also available on Oxford Reports on International Law:
decisions of other UN Bodies such as:
UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)
UN Committee Against Torture (CAT)
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
European Court of Justice (ECJ)
Associated with dealing with commercial and social issues
within the EU http://europa.eu/index_en.htm
Case law available on the
ECJ website http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/home
Legal > Area of Law - By Topic > International Law
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
Associated with the Council of Europe and dealing principally
with human rights issues.
Some ECHR decisions are appeals from domestic courts of EU
Member countries, which are available on Justis
ECHR Case law is available via the:
provides free online access to the case-law of the European
Court of Human Rights, the European Commission of Human
Rights and the Committee of Ministers.
The judgments, decisions, resolutions and reports of these
bodies are held in a database and are searchable.
International Criminal Court (ICC)
“The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent,
permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious
crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty,
joined by 110 countries.
The jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the
Rome Statute.” (Source: ICC)
Official Journal of the International Criminal Court
Westlaw International (All documents released by the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Coverage begins
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICS
The ICSID is an autonomous institution established under the
Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between
States and Nationals of Other States
The mandate, organization and core functions of the ICSID are
governed by the ICSID Convention (Source: ICSID)
database contains a number of different types of
content: Arbitral awards, Arbitral decisions, OPIC
decisions, Court decisions, Books, Journal and yearbook
articles, Investment treaty overviews, National
legislation, Multilateral and bilateral investment treaties,
Arbitral rules, relevant Guidelines and Conventions.
Digital Archive Collections
Center for Human Rights Documentation and
Research(Columbia University Libraries)
The Nuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection
(Harvard Law School)
DI=1&text=overview A searchable collection of the document
analyses and full texts of the trial transcripts.