International law applies to relationships between states. This includes the law created by treaties and other agreements between states as well as the law created by long-established customs between states and what have become basic principles of international law. For more on the concept of international law read the International Law entry from Black's Law Dictionary, and to introduce you to the subject on international law read the nutshell on Public International Law included below.
After reading this guide do you still have questions about International Law research?
Because of the nature of international law answering this question requires some explanation. See the reading linked above. However, Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justices lists the following sources of international law, and it is an authoritative source.
The United States has the following classifications of international agreements. All of these falls into the first item from the above list, and each binds the United States in a different way. See the reading linked above.
Determine if a treaty signed by the U.S. exists, and get the information to help you locate a copy.
Determine if a treaty binds the United States now.
Locate a copy of a treaty.
The value of background research on treaties is analogous to the value of legislative history research on statutes, and it is similarly controversial. See the reading linked above.
Judicial opinions in the United States interpret and rule on the constitutionality of statutes. Similarly, judicial opinions can be used to interpret international law. However, the concept of precedent or stare decisis is tied to a common law jurisdiction like the Unites States. Judicial opinions dealing with constitutional law matters work differently. See the reading linked above.
Digests on international law let you find judicial opinions on a topic relevant to your research.
Below is a list of every electronic resource on the list of selected research databases that is tagged as having to do with foreign & International law.
This guide was created in February 2021 from the "International, Foreign & Comparative Legal Research" guide that had been created by Bobbi Weaver in September 2010. The older guide is no longer updated, but it remains available at the above link for its wider scope and its inclusion of resources available at other libraries in San Diego.
This guide was last updated by Bobbi Weaver and Robert O'Leary in February 2021.