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Databases: Databases for international law

An introduction to IALS Library's electronic resources.

Treaties, cases and arbitral awards

All the subscription databases mentioned in this guide are available via the Electronic Law Library

TIP: to trace a specific treaty, look up a treaty's UNTS citation, find the date of signature and so on, use the FLARE Index to Treaties.

HeinOnline has a vast collection of recent and historical treaties, the World Treaty Library; it brings together the UN Treaty Series, League of Nations Treaty Series, treaties involving the US, the contents of the Consolidated Treaty Series and more; includes Hein's World Treaty Index.

HeinOnline also includes the UN Law Collection, comprising the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), the League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS) and many pre-20th century treaties.

Lexis®Library has treaties involving the United States.

Westlaw International has treaties involving the United States, EU treaties and tax, arbitration, environmental and economic law treaties.

IBFD Online has a collection of tax treaties. 

TradeLawGuide has WTO and GATT treaties.

Many large treaty collections are available free of charge on the internet, on sites including:-

UN Treaty Collection

WordLII's International Treaties Library

Council of EuropeWIPOUNCTAD and other intergovernmental organisations' websites

UK Treaties Online and other national sites (many are listed on Eagle-i, tagged with the name of the jurisdiction and the word 'treaties')

Cambridge Law Reports includes the International Law Reports (ILR), which publishes decisions of international courts and tribunals, UN committees and municipal (domestic) courts, 1919 onwards.

Oxford Reports on International Law (ORIL), has cases from international courts and tribunals, UN committees and municipal (domestic) courts. IALS Library's subscription covers five modules: International Law in Domestic Courts (this module includes commentary as well as cases), International Courts of General Jurisdiction, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and International Investment Claims. ORIL is similar to ILR in many ways, but smaller, and ILR does not have commentary on municipal cases.

Westlaw International Materials has cases from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia (under 'Administrative Materials'). 

Westlaw UK has European Human Rights Reports, which publishes important cases from the European Court of Human Rights.

Lexis®Library has a collection of European human rights cases obtained from the Court, as well as the commercial series Butterworths Human Rights Cases and International Tax Law Reports. It also has ICJ cases, under 'Sources' - 'International Content'.

HeinOnline has Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) cases (see Foreign and International Law Resources Database), ICJ cases (United Nations Law Collection) and cases from the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (World Trials Library).

See also: free resources such as WorldLII's International Courts and Tribunals Collection, the ICJ website and other court/tribunal sites.

Arbitral awards
Westlaw International Materials (IM) has a collection called 'International Arbitration Materials' (see link on IM homepage) which includes awards by the London Court of International Arbitration, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce, the WTO/GATT and other bodies. Westlaw IM also has Iran-US Claims Tribunal Decisions (see 'International Materials Index', or use search facility).

TradeLawGuide is a database of WTO and GATT dispute cases, with commentary and related material, a treaty article citator and a case citator.

Lexis®Library has WTO/GATT cases.

HeinOnline has Reports of International Arbitral Awards, the UN series covering disputes between states from 1798 onwards. (RIAA is also available free, on the UN website).

Oxford Reports on International Law has an International Investment Claims module, covering cases from arbitral bodies including ICSID, the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Cambridge Law Reports includes ICSID Reports, which publishes the decisions of tribunals and committees set up under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and International Law Reports, which publishes arbitral awards in inter-state and commercial disputes from 1919 onwards, including decisions of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

See also: Investment Arbitration Reporter, an e-journal found on the IALS Library Catalogue, which contains news and commentary relating to investment arbitration decisions.

Need more help with international law research?

See our international law research guides: Public International Law, United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union and Private International Law.

Journals, encyclopedias and books

All the databases mentioned below are available via the IALS Electronic Law Library.


If you are looking for any articles on a particular international law topic, try these databases:

  • Westlaw UK, Journals page: about twenty-five full-text international/European law journals + abstracts from about 170 more.

  • Westlaw International Materials, World Journals collection: full-text journals published in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, including over 120 international law titles.

  • Index to Legal Periodicals: indexes international (and other) law journals published in the US and elsewhere.

  • HeinOnline: see Law Journal Library, Foreign & International Law Resources Database, Harvard Research in International Law.and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (despite its name, this index covers many international law journals and yearbooks).

  • Lexis®Library: the International Content platform has more than ninety international law journals and the main (UK) Journals page includes about thirty. 

  • Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law  (Recueil des cours):  large collection of papers given at the prestigious summer courses held each year at the Hague Academy of International Law.

If you are looking for a specific journal article:

Look up the journal on the IALS Library Catalogue; if it is available online, there will be a link to the appropriate database.

TIP: Article titles are not listed on the Catalogue, only journal titles.

Encyclopedias and books

The following international law encyclopedias and e-book collections are available in the IALS Electronic Law Library. With the exception of books in HeinOnline's Legal Classics module, individual e-books are listed on the Library Catalogue. 

The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (OUP)includes more than 1,700 scholarly essays on international law topics, with bibliographies. 

Cambridge Core Books Online: IALS Library's subscription covers about 700 international law e-books published by Cambridge University Press, Intersentia and others. 

Brill Online: more than 700 international law e-books published by Brill.

Oxford Scholarship Online: this collection of postgraduate- and higher-level books published by Oxford University Press includes about 430 international law titles.

Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law: about 160 OUP treatises and reference works on the subject of international law, including leading titles such as Oppenheim’s International Law.

Elgaronline: includes about 100 international law e-books published by Edward Elgar. 

Hart e-books collection: includes several international law titles. 

HeinOnline's Legal Classics: includes over 180 classic treatises on international law. These titles are not listed individually on the Library Catalogue: to access them, open HeinOnline from the Electronic Law Library, select 'Legal Classics', then browse by subject.