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International Law

This guide is intended to help researchers find international treaties, cases, and commentary. For foreign law (i.e. the law of other countries) please visit the Foreign Law guide..

Researching International Law

Since there is no overall legislature or law-creating body, international legal research requires the use of a wide variety of sources.

Sources of international law include:

  • treaties
  • customary law
  • general principles of law recognized by civilized nations
  • judicial decisions, and
  • scholarly writings

Researchers in international law may apply these sources though not necessarily in this order. In fact, it is often most efficient to begin your research with secondary sources.

What about cases and statutes from a specific country?

This guide covers international law which is the law between and among countries.  For example, if there is a dispute between Canada and the United States, the international courts may step in to resolve the dispute.

If you're looking for a statute or case from another country (e.g. a French bankruptcy law or Canadian Supreme Court case) use our Foreign Law libguide.

Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg

Foreign and International content is limited  and varies greatly between the the major U.S. legal databases.

  • Westlaw - Under the All Content tab, click on International Materials.  See the lists under Jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, EU, Hong Kong, Korea, UK) and Content Type (Cases, Administrative Materials, Legislation, Treatises, or Journals).  Westlaw also has a separate Practical Law database which provides global standard documents, checklists, legal updates, and how-to guides.
  • Lexis - Click on the International tab for access to foreign law materials for selected countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, China & Hong Kong, England & Wales, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Africa, United Kingdom).  Click on the International Law Practice Area for international topics though it does have some international case law and treaties),
  • Bloomberg - Bloomberg Law contains a limited amount of international material mostly focusing on international trade and business, intellectual property, and environmental law.  Notable Bloomberg BNA sources include the International Trade Reporter, WTO Reporter, International Labor and Employment Laws, International Patent Litigation, and the International Environment Reporter.