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.

West's Federal Practice Digest

A West topic "Treaties" collects references to cases that interpret and apply U.S. international agreements.  The topic "International Law" is useful for finding cases that relate to more general questions about the sources of international law and their relationship to U.S. law. 

United States case law databases on Lexis and Westlaw

The federal case databases can be helpful for locating cases that have applied or interpreted international agreements.  The West topic “Treaties” is assigned the topic number 385 online.  So, if for example you had found that the digest topic Treaties key 14 on violation was useful, you could enter a search for 385k14 on Westlaw.  The West topic “International Law” is assigned topic number 221 online. You can also search key numbers on WestlawNext.  Go to the Federal tab and then access advanced search. There is a search box for Synopsis/Digest. 

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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