Public International Law: Multilateral and foreign sources

Public International Law
Finding Multilateral and Foreign Treaties
Public International Law –
Secondary Sources
Max Planck Encyclopedia of International
Law [access electronically through our
catalog—do a title search for Max Planck]
• Upon its completion, the MPEPIL will be an
updated, comprehensive work covering the
central and essential topics in international
• Currently contains about half the total articles
online, but entire collection available in print
version: KZ1160 .E592
Citations to relevant
case law
Citations to relevant
Example #1
Locate an entry in Max Planck on
collisions at sea.
• Which Fordham Law professor is cited in
that entry’s bibliography?
– Do we have a copy of his book in our
International Legal Materials
Published by the American Society of
International Law, provides the basic, primary
documents of research and analysis in int’l law
• Materials are selected for their usefulness to
scholars, practitioners and business and
government officials, both in the United States and
Each issue contains the full texts of important
treaties and agreements, judicial and arbitral
decisions, national legislation, international
organizations resolutions and other documents.
ILM is the preferred unofficial cite for treaties to
which the US is a party (BB rule 21.4.5(c))
International Legal Materials
No searchable index—best option is to
use Westlaw (but WL’s coverage only
goes back to 1980)
 Indexes for each issue since 1999:
 Available in full text on Hein, JSTOR
also has almost complete run
Treaty Research recap
Does a treaty exist on the topic?
Find the text of the treaty
Who are the parties (bilateral or multilateral)
and what is the treaty’s effective date?
Any reservations, understandings,
declarations, or other conditions made by
relevant parties?
Any subsequent modification to the treaty
(amendments or protocols)?
Multilateral Treaty Research
STEP 1: Does a treaty exist on the topic?
• No truly comprehensive, current index to
UNTS—use MTDSG database
• Try the FLARE Index to Treaties
• EISIL—allows you to browse by topic
• Some options for historical research
– Multilateral Treaty Calendar (1648-1995)
– Bowman & Harris, Multilateral Treaties: Index and
Current Status (1856-1994)
– World Treaty Index (to 1980)
Various official cites
Locations of
authentic souces
Example #2
Using the Flare Index to Treaties (just
Google it to get URL), locate a copy of
The Brussels Treaty for collaboration in
economic, social and cultural matters
Multilateral Treaty Research
STEP 2: Find the text of the treaty
• UN Treaty Collection
• International Legal Materials
• American Society of International Law’s EISIL page:
• Avalon Project:
• Tufts Multilateral Project:
• Subject compilations: keyword searches such as
double taxation and treaties
• Websites of governmental and non-governmental
United Nations Treaty Collection
Article 102 of the Charter of the United
• "Every treaty and every international
agreement entered into by any Member of
the United Nations after the present
Charter comes into force shall as soon as
possible be registered with the Secretariat
and published by it."
United Nations Treaty Collection
 Includes the following:
• Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited
with the Secretary-General (MTDSG)
• United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS)
• League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS)
• Texts of Recently Deposited Treaties
• Monthly Statements of Treaties and
International Agreements
Start here
Helpful guides if you
want to learn more
Try to avoid full
text searching
since their
database is
pretty bad; if
you must,
search for the
title in the
INDEX, don’t
If possible, browse collection and
drill down to your desired treaty by
subject matter
Note that the
however, you
can get the
citation to the
UNTS here and
pull it up on
Hein…or try to
use one of the
links from
authentic PDF
copy of the
UNTS exactly
how it appears in
Multilateral Treaty Research
STEP 3: Who are the parties (bilateral
or multilateral) and what is the treaty’s
effective date?
• This is the most important step in
multilateral treaty research—determining
the status of the treaty
• Just because a party has signed the treaty
does not mean it has ratified it; also
important to note what type of ratification it
• Again, use MTDSG for this
This is the same
page from Slide
18—just scroll
down—and shows
all the countries who
have both Signed
(first column) and
Ratified (second
column). From this
list you can see that
while Bhutan
originally signed the
treaty, it is NOT in
force there because
they never ratified it
Multilateral Treaty Research
Types of status:
Accession (a)
Acceptance (A)
Approval (AA)
Formal confirmation (c)
Succession (d)
Multilateral Treaty Research
STEP 4: Any reservations,
understandings, declarations, or other
conditions made by relevant parties?
• Always located on the bottom of the
MTDSG page; countries with reservations
are hyperlinked and will “jump” directly to
relevant statement when you click on it
To view Bulgaria’s
reservations, etc.,
simply click on the
hyperlink and it will
bring you directly to
the relevant section
Here Bulgaria spells
out which portions of
the treaty it has a
problem with and
then explains the
legal basis behind
the problem. Many
times these
objections, etc. are a
result of a conflict of
national legislation
or policy, and
sometimes can be
politically oriented
(i.e., Libya saying it’s
not going to
recognize a claim
from the US)
Multilateral Treaty Research
STEP 5: Any subsequent modification
to the treaty?
• With multilateral treaties, generally called a
protocol or amendment; listed separately
from the main treaty text
– Best way to find these are to go to the relevant
“Chapter” of the MTDSG page and scan for
amendments to treaty in question
I’m not kidding when
I said the UN site is
Multilateral Treaty Research
What is the status of the treaty?
• Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the
Secretary General /call the U.N. treaty section
• web sites and publications of other international
organizations, e.g. OAS, Red Cross, Council of
• government web site (e.g. foreign ministry)
• international law yearbooks
• specialized periodicals, looseleafs on the topic
• “Treaty and Agreements” section of ILM
• US State Department website
– Current Treaty Actions:
– Treaties Pending in the Senate:
Example #3
Has North Korea ratified the Convention
on the Rights of the Child?
• If so, when did they ratify it?
• Did they have any reservations,
understandings, declarations, or other
Travaux Préparatoires
Essentially the preparatory work of a treaty,
as used as a means of interpretation.
• “An omnibus expression which is used rather
loosely to indicate all the documents, such as
memoranda, minutes of conferences, and
drafts of the treaty under negotiation, for the
purpose of interpreting the treaty.” McNair,
The Law of Treaties (1961)
Think of it as the “legislative history” of a
Where to find Travaux Préparatoires
Key word search in online catalog/journal
index: [name of treaty] and travaux or
preparatory or congress or history or
negotiations or negotiating history, etc.
Treaty documents collected and published
together by an international organization or
Treaty documents within the publications of an
international organization.
IGO or conference website for recent treaties.
Yearbooks on international law.
Foreign Treaty Research
national treaty series: subject search
[country]–foreign relations–treaty or
keyword search [country] and treaties
 World Treaty Index (through 1980)
 yearbook or review of international law
 legal periodicals
 government web site (e.g. foreign
Foreign Treaty Research
Locations of selected foreign treaty info:
• Canada:
– Official reporter: Canada Treaty Series (CTS)
• Mexico:
• United Kingdom:
– Official reporter: United Kingdom Treaty Series (UKTS)
• Council of Europe:
Evidence of State Practice
Consult “Sources of State Practice in
International Law”, KZ64 .S67 (stack 7)
for information on foreign sources of
customary law
 Most major jurisdictions and regions have
their own Yearbooks of International Law
to help you locate customary law in those
• Many are located in HeinOnline’s Foreign &
International Law Resources Database
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