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Researching International Law: Print & Online Resources   Tags: abbreviations, acronyms, citation guides, dictionaries, international law  

Highlights resources available at/via the Tulane Law Library as well as on free, reliable websites. Coverage includes primary & secondary sources. Feel free to contact me whenever you need more help researching international law.
Last Updated: Jul 23, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Roy L. Sturgeon

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Roy L. Sturgeon, Foreign, Comparative, & International Law/Reference Librarian
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Tulane University Law School
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Subscription Databases

Complementing its print resources, the Law Library subscribes to numerous online databases with diverse international law content:



This information was published as a LibGuide in October 2011 for Tulane University Law School in Louisiana.


What is International Law?

International law is typically divided into 2 parts: public & private. Public international law governs relationships between national governments, relationships between intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), & relationships between national governments & IGOs. Private international law governs the choice of law to apply when there are conflicts in the municipal (i.e., national) law of different nations related to private transactions between persons/businesses in those nations. International law may consist of treaties, court decisions, & customary law. Unlike foreign law, for which it is sometimes mistaken, international law regulates or binds national governments & IGOs across national boundaries.


International NGO in Action

Karen Tse, lawyer & founder of the Swiss-based nongovernmental organization International Bridges to Justices, gave a brief talk in 2011 about ways to end the all-too-common practice of investigative torture in Asia & Africa. Watch below:

Karen Tse talk - TED- from International Bridges to Justi on Vimeo.


Citation Guides

For help in citing to international law, see:

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Guide to Foreign & International Legal Citations (2d ed.) - NYU School of Law, J of Intl Law & Politics
Call Number: K89 .G84 2009
Has organization profiles & selected references.

Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed.) - Columbia, Harvard, Penn, & Yale Law Reviews
Call Number: KF245 .U5 2010
Rule 21 (pp. 185–214) & Tables 3-5 (pp. 426–9) cover international law.

Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (7th ed.) - McGill Law Journal
Call Number: KE259 .C25 2010
Chapter 5 (pp. E 79–102) covers international materials.



For help in defining international law terms, see:

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Parry & Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (3d ed.) - John P. Grant & J. Craig Barker
Call Number: KF1163 .P36 2009
Has over 2,500 entries. They tend to be longer than in Fox's dictionary below. Focus on mainstream international law, especially human rights & humanitarian law, international criminal law, & international organizational law. Extensively referenced throughout.

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Dictionary of International & Comparative Law (3d ed.) - James R. Fox
Call Number: KF1163 .F69 2003
Has over 5,500 entries. They tend to be short, but many are cross-referenced. Valuable as a starting point.

Dictionary of International Trade Law (2d ed.) - Raj Bhala
Call Number: K3943 .B488 2012
Has hundreds of entries plus maps, research tools, & free-trade agreements data. Detailed & referenced throughout. Nearly twice as many pages as 1st edition (2008).


Print Resources

Over many decades, the Law Library has built a substantial collection of international law print resources—many not available online. The bulk are shelved on the 5th & 6th floors. These include caselaw, treaties, journals, & treatises. Most are in English. The collection is particularly strong in European Union, International Court of Justice, & International Criminal Court materials. Additional print resources are shelved on the 3d floor in New BooksReserve, Reference, & the Maritime Collection; 4th floor in Special/Rare Collections & Microforms; 5th floor in Government Documents; & 6th floor in the Comparative Law Collection.

For more details, search the Law Library's online catalog & see boxes below.


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