Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 11


Often, implementing legislation is required before terms of an international agreement become a part of United States law. In addition, implementing regulations may be found that have been issued by an appropriate federal agency, and federal court cases may interpret ambiguous treaty language. The usual sources of federal law (the U.S. Code, C.F.R., Federal Reporter, or United States Reports) may, therefore, have information relating to implementation of a particular treaty.

U.S.C., U.S.C.A., and U.S.C.S.

The normal access points should be used to search for implementing legislation. U.S.C.S. has a volume called "Annotations to Uncodified Laws and Treaties," that collects case notes to various multilateral and bilateral treaties to which the United States is a party. 

Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Register

The usual access points and updating techniques should be used to search for implementing regulations. 

United States case law databases on LexisAdvance and WestlawNext

The federal case databases can be helpful for locating cases that have applied or interpreted international agreements.  Start with Browse on the LexisAdvance home page:  browse> sources> jurisdiction> U.S. federal >cases.  Type your search terms into the search box at the top of the screen.  “Treaties” or the name of a treaty are good examples of a search.

Searching by Key Number is easy on WestlawNext.  Choose the Key Numbers link on the home page.  Change the jurisdiction to All Federal by clicking the link at the top of the screen. The West topic “Treaties” is assigned the topic number 385 online, and “International Law” is assigned topic number 221. Scroll down the screen to choose your Key Number.

Internet sites containing international law materials

The Internet has become an especially rich source of foreign law interpreting international agreements.

ASIL Electronic Resource Guide (ERG) – this is a development project of the American Society of International Law.  Chapters include research information on the European Union, International Humanitarian Law, International Intellectual Property Law and the United Nations:

Excellent sources of international materials are the web pages of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).  The United Nations Treaty on the Law of the Sea page  and the World Intellectual Property Organization page are good examples.

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