INTERNATIONAL & FOREIGN LEGAL RESEARCH : AN OVERVIEW Peggy McDermott, M.L.S., J.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
International Law • Public International Law • Treaties and International Agreements (Law Among Nations) • Private International Law • Conflict of Laws when the laws of more than one state are involved. • Foreign Law • Laws of individual States
PAPER Guides and Pathfinders: Guide to InternationalLegal Research (George Washington University Journal of Law and Economics.) Ref. KZ 1234 / G 85 INTERNET American Society of International Law (ASIL) Electronic Resource Guide http://www.asil.org/erghome.cfm I need to find a Tax Treaty between the United States and Germany. Where Do I Start ?
American Society of International Law http://www.asil.org/electronic-resources.cfm
ASIL ELECTRONIC RESOURCE GUIDE Subjects
Sources of International Law • Primary Sources Constitutions Treaties Statutes Decisions of International Tribunals • Secondary Sources Legal Treatises Yearbooks and Digests (many available on HeinOnline) Periodicals – International Legal Materials
Constitutions • Constitutions of the Countries of the World Available electronically from the Law Library’s Homepage. http://law.slu.edu/library/ • Government Publications – Check with the staff of your Law Library • Internet • Official Sites – European Union, UN, Government • Non-governmental Sites (NGOs)
Treaties and International Agreements • Official Government Publications (UST) • Treaty Actions http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/c3428.htm • International Organizations • United Nations Treaties http://treaties.un.org • Secondary Sources
UNITED NATIONS TREATY COLLECTION http://treaties.un.org/Pages/Home.aspx?lang=en STATUS UNTS
Statutes / Legislation • Official Compilations • Commercial Publications – Full-text or Digests (Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest - Lexis.) • Electronic Compilations • Internet • Lexis/Westlaw
Decisions of International Tribunals • Official Compilations • Official Web Sites – For example International Court of Justice • http://www.icj-cij.org • Secondary Sources • Periodicals – ILM (International Legal Materials) • Associations/Organizations
How Do I Evaluate a Web Site ? • Accuracy and Quality of the Site • Full- text or summaries ? • How frequently is the site updated ? • How reliable is the Web site ? • What is the language ? English ?
General Research Guides and Collections of International Sites • ASIL Site http://www.asil.org/erghome.cfm • Georgetown Law Library http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/intl/intl.html • University of Chicago: Foreign & International http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/law/intl/foreign.html • Washburn University School of Law-Washlaw http://www.washlaw.edu/forint/
Georgetown Law Library’s Research Guides RESEARCH GUIDES MEGASITES
Treaty Research • Why do I need to know how to do treaty research ? This Constitution and the Laws of the United States … and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States shall be the supreme Law of the Land … (Art. VI, Section 2)
But there are also practical considerations -- Your Client may be involved in an agreement for the sale of goods to a buyer in another country. This transaction will be governed by a treaty, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods unless you provide otherwise.
What is a Treaty ? • Treaty is an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law. Treaties may be called Accords, Conventions, Protocols, Memorandums of Understanding, or Charters. (Requires 2/3 vote of the Senate). • They are legally binding.
There are Numerous Elements to Treaty Research • Finding the Full- Text -- most commercial publishers have begun to make full texts available shortly after their release or ratification. • Determining the Status of the Treaty. • Who has signed and ratified the treaty ? • Has the treaty been amended by subsequent protocols or amendments ?
What Information Do You Have ? • Time period involved • Status of the treaty • Whether the treaty is bilateral (two parties) or multilateral (many parties) ? • Parties involved (for example, is the United States involved ? ) • Whether the treaty has been amended ?
If you have a citation and the U.S. IS a party to theagreement • United States Treaties and other International Agreements (UST) • Treaties and other International ActsSeries (TIAS)
If You do not have a citation, but you know the subject, parties to the agreement, or the date, and the U. S.IS a party to the agreement -- • Treaties in Force • United States Treaty Index : 1776-1990 • Current Treaty Index
If you have a citation and the U.S. IS NOT a party to the agreement -- • United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) • International Legal Materials (ILM) • Collections of Treaties published by another state or organization. (ETS)
If you do not have a citation, but you know the subject, parties to the agreement, or the date, and the U.S. IS NOT a party to the agreement • World Treaty Index (1900-1980) • Multilateral Treaties Deposited With the Secretary General.
What About the Internet ?United States Government Sites • GPO Access http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/cdocuments/index.html • IRS http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html • Trade Compliance Center (TCC) http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp
GPO ACCESS SENATE TREATY DOCUMENTS
WORD/ PHRASE TREATY DOC. NUMBER GOOD FOR DETERMINING THE STATUS OF A TREATY
TREATY TEXT THOMAS will link you to GPO ACCESS
Internet --- International Organizations • United Nations http://treaties.un.org/ • World Trade Organization http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm • World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/treaties/index.html
http://treaties.un.org/Pages/UNTSOnline.aspx SEARCH OPTIONS UNITED NATIONS TREATY COLLECTION
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION SEARCH
WIPO 24 TREATIES ADMINISTERED BY WIPO