A New Course in International Law Research Will Be Offered in the Spring Term

Professor Butler, a reference librarian on the law school library staff, will offer a new one credit course in international law research in the spring term. This course is specifically designed for students taking courses in international and foreign and comparative law at the school, participating in the Jessup International Moot Court and International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competitions, as well students writing articles on international law topics for the law school’s law journals.   The course would also be of interest to any students interested in international law practice.

The class will introduce students to concepts and skills used in international and foreign legal research.  Students will learn basic concepts of legal research, research strategies, evaluation of materials in various formats, and search techniques for effective use of electronic sources.  Both primary and secondary materials will be considered in various formats.  Topics include public international law, foreign and comparative law, private international law, the European Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations.  In addition, the course will explore resources and research strategies for international human rights, international environmental law, international trade and arbitration, and family law as an international topic.

Techniques for locating bilateral and multilateral treaties and customary international law will be explored in detail. The documentation of international organizations, chiefly the United Nations and European Union, and research strategies for locating such documents, will be considered.

Each class will include exercises that will allow the students to use and evaluate the various sources being considered in the class.  Grading will be bases on a final research guide on an international law topic or an international organization.

Written by A. Hays Butler.


The U.K. Statute Law Database

The U.K. Statute Law Database (SLD) is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom. The SLD is the official collection of all acts in force, as amended. It contains all acts since 1235 and incorporates all amendments that add to or change the language of the original act. You can search acts by title, year and number. You can also search both an alphabetical and chronological index of statutes. This database provides an on-line alternative to Halsbury’s Statutes of England and Wales which we have in the library. One of the most important features of the database is that it provides an alternative to the Is It In Force volume of Halsbury’s Statutes. The SLD contains commencement, repeal and amendment information for all acts. Acts of Parliament are required to be “in force” before they are considered to be the law of the land.

Treaty Research with Flare

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies has released a new treaty index, the Flare Index to Treaties (FIT). FIT is searchable by any of the following: key words from the title of the treaty; additional keywords relevant to the subject matter; the date on which the treaty was concluded; and the place where the treaty was concluded. For example, a free text search for genocide will take you to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. When you click on the Convention, you will discover that the treaty was concluded on 9/12/1967 in New York and is published at 78 U.N.T.S. 777. There are also several links that will take you to the full text of the treaty. For more resources related to treaty research, see the Rutgers International Resources page.

War Crimes Research

A War Crimes Research Portal has been developed by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Western Reserve Law School. The portal contains hundreds of links to websites related to international humanitarian law, arranged alphabetically by subject area. Each link includes a summary of the contents of each site. The portal also contains the text of over 120 research memoranda on issues pending before various international criminal courts, such as the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia. Finally, the portal provides access to a Research Guide to international humanitarian law prepared by the Case Law School Library.

Treaties in Force 2009

The recently published Treaties in Force 2009 publication by the U.S. Department of State will tell you what bilateral and multilateral treaties to which the U.S. is a party are currently in force. This annual publication is also available in print.

Treaty research can be complicated. There are plenty of research guides and databases to help with your research. You will find them on our International and Foreign Legal Resources page.