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Sources of Public International Law

The sources of international law to be used in US courts are set out in the Restatement (3d) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. The sources for most international courts are set out in the Statute of the ICJ. This guide helps you find them

US Treaties and International Agreements

Legal Authorities for Treaties

See Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor.

Note especially - U.S. Constitution Article VI, Cl. 2 says: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” [emphasis added]

Treaty Texts (electronic):

Internet:

  • U.S. Department of State website – Office of the Legal Advisor - Treaty Affairs -  has official texts of treaties starting in 1996 (when print T.I.A.S. stopped) and international agreements back to 2006 on site with a link to texts back to 1982 on another site.

 

UCONN Law Library Research Databases:

  • Treaties and Agreements Library – HeinOnline (NetID required) includes PDF of official texts in print series (U.S. Statutes at Large (covers 1789-1950), U.S.T (covers 1950-1984). and T.I.A.S.(covers 1946-1995)) as well as PDF of various unofficial treaty collections.  Use PDF of Heins’ Current Treaty Index to find where to find text by title, subject, etc.

 

 For assistance in finding treaty texts and doing treaty research, see the Library of Congress Guide to Law Online - Treaties

 

 

Non-U.S. International Conventions (Treaties)

Official texts of bilateral and multilateral international treaties are each kept by the body which serves as the secretariat for that treaty.

Examples:

While each country usually publishes their treaties in print, increasingly, national governments are putting their treaties online.

For instance:

You can also find texts on websites of NGOs  and international organizations which have an interest in a particular subject matter.

For instance:

Text collections can also be found at academic institutions.

 For instance:

 

Subject Guide