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Databases: Databases for international law

An introduction to IALS Library's electronic resources.

Databases heading

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.

All the subscription databases mentioned in this guide are available via the Law Databases page.

Treaties

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; it also includes Hein's World Treaty Index.

HeinOnline's UN Law Collection includes 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 Collection

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')

Cases

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 ORIL modules: International Law in Domestic Courts, International Courts of General Jurisdiction, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and International Investment Claims. 

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 cases from the European Court of Human Rights 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, in the Foreign and International Law Resources Database; ICJ cases, in theUnited Nations Law Collection; and cases from the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, in the World Trials Library.

See also: - individual series such as International Law Reports and ICSID Reports, which are available online via the Catalogue.

 -  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.

See also: online versions of individual series, accessed via links on the Library Catalogue, such as ICSID Reports, International Law Reports and Investment Arbitration Reporter.

Journals

If you are looking for any articles on a particular topic...

Encore Discovery can be used to do a basic search for journal articles on international law, but for technical reasons it does not search all of our e-resources, and it only searches Westlaw UK, which covers many international law journals, on site at IALS (see 'More Information' button for Encore Full Text Discovery, at https://ials.sas.ac.uk/library/legal-databases-and-digital-resources/law-databases/e).

For a wide-ranging literature search, try the following databases individually (all are on the IALS Law Databases page):

  • 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 should be a link to the appropriate database.

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

Encyclopedias and books

Encore Discovery can be used to do a basic search within our e-book holdings, but for technical reasons it does not cover everything that we have. Individual e-books are listed on the classic Library Catalogue, but the classic catalogue does not search within e-books, it only searches their titles, subject headings and (where available) contents lists.

Instead of using Encore, you can search e-book collections one at a time. The following collections, all accessible via the IALS Law Databases page, include a substantial number of titles focusing on international law:  

Cambridge Core Books Online

Brill Online

Oxford Legal Research Library

Oxford Scholarship Online

Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law

Elgaronline

Hart e-books collection

HeinOnline's Legal Classics

eBook Central

See also: The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (OUP)which includes more than 1,750 scholarly essays on international law topics, with bibliographies; access is via the Library Catalogue