Public International Law Research

by Jennifer Sekula
December 2008

This guide addresses public international legal research generally.

Jump to:

Some resources on this page are subscription databases that require a W&M ID and password for off-campus access. See Off-Campus Access to Library Resources for more information.

Lexis and Westlaw require individual IDs and passwords for both off-campus and on-campus access.



Library Catalog

To search for books, journals, and audiovisual materials held by William & Mary libraries, use our Library Catalog.

Search Tips:
Subject Queries--

  • international law and [specific topic, i.e., environment]
  • international policy
Library of Congress Call Numbers for International Law:
  • K (International Trade & Jurisprudence, Human Rights, and Comparative Law)
  • KZ 64-; KZ 118- (Treaties and other International Agreements);
  • KZ 199- (International Judicial Decisions);
  • KZ 235- (US Treaties);
  • KZA 1002- (Law of the Sea).

Browse the shelves under these call numbers to locate relevant treatises.

To search for materials from other libraries, use Worldcat.

Other Libraries - Links to other libraries and library catalogs available through the web.

Selected Treatises

  • Aust, Anthony.
    Handbook of International Law.
    KZ 3410 A94 2005
  • Brownlie, Ian.
    Principles of Public International Law, 5th ed.
    KZ 3225 B76 A37 1998
  • Cassese, Antonio.
    International Law, 2d ed.
    KZ 3395 C25 A35 2005
  • Dixon, Martin.
    Textbook on International Law, 6th ed.
    KZ 3110 D48 2007
  • Evans, Malcom D., ed.
    International Law, 2d ed.
    KZ 3410 I574 2006
  • Shaw, Malcolm N.
    International Law, 6th ed.
    KZ 3275 S53 2008
  • Wallace, Rebecca M. M.
    International Law, 5th ed.
    KZ 3295 W35 A35 2005

Journal Articles

Index to Current Journal Articles (1980-)

Legal Trac

Subject Queries--

  • international law - interpretation and construction
  • international law - cases
  • international law and [topic, e.g., human rights]

Indexes articles from nearly 900 legal journals, bar association publications, law reviews, and legal newspapers. Includes book reviews.

Options for accessing this index include:

  • Online: 1980-Present. Updated daily.
  • Westlaw: (1980-present; contains links to full-text articles where available)
  • Lexis: (1977-present; updated weekly)

Index to Older Journal Articles (prior to 1980)
The Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP), located in Reference, indexes articles from legal journals, bar association publications, law reviews, book reviews, and legal newspapers.
Ref. ZZ66 .I534

For More Information
For more information about finding law review articles, including older ones, see Locating Legal and Non-Legal Journal Articles.

Full Text Articles (from journals, newsletters, and legal newspapers)

Topical Services/Reporters & Newsletters

  Services & Reporters


  • ASIL International Law in Brief: contains abstracts of and links to primary documents (such as cases and treaties) relating to current developments in international law.
  • International Law News:  contains casenotes and articles discussing current international developments. Also has a section covering private international law issues. From the American Bar Association's Section of International Law and Practice.
    • Print Location: Reference (current year only)
    • Online through Ebsco: 2008-present
  • International Law Update: summarizes international and domestic tribunal actions that bear on international issues. Organized by topic (i.e., genocide) and indexed annually.

Additional Resources

  • LawTrio: A searchable database that contains listings of over 7500 legal looseleafs and newsletters in print.

W&M Databases

The International Law Library (INTLAW) includes treaties, case law, and legislation from the U.S. and other countries. Selected secondary sources include journal articles and newsletters.

The International and Other Countries' Laws Practice-Area Materials include current U.S. legislation and implementing acts, regulations, and court decisions. Selected treaty sources are available, including United States Treaties and Other International Acts. Secondary sources include U.S. journal articles and newspapers. It also contains materials organized by subtopic, such as international environmental law and intellectual property.


Web Sites

U.S. Department of State
The State Department is the foreign affairs agency for the United States. Its website provides information about US international policy and programs delineated by topic. The website also contains the Department's Current Treaty Ations, which indicates recent changes that affect treaties to which the United States is a party.

United Nations
The United Nations website contains a searchable, although incomplete, database of treaties dating back to the inception of the UN. The website also links to various secretariats and UN program webpages, each with topic-specific content, including relevant UN treaties.


ABA Section of International Law and Practice
An American Bar Association section that provides a national forum for lawyers working in all areas of international law.

American Society of International Law
The ASIL web site contains links to resources such as the organization's Electronic Research Guide, a comprehensive Internet research tool that is broken into subtopics such as human rights law.

The International Law Institute
ILI is an independent research and education center. Although the Institute's website does not contain much substantive material (such as treaty texts), the Useful Resources section contains many links to sites that do provide such information.