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International Legal Research: Treatises & Law Review Articles

This Guide covers essential print and electronic resources for researching international and foreign law.


As with U.S. legal research, it is often easiest to begin international and foreign legal research using secondary sources. Note that treatises and law review articles constitute secondary sources in both the international and national legal systems as displayed  in the chart of Sources of Law in the International and Major Legal Systems of the World.

International Law Treatises

Treatises (not treaties) are books written by legal experts on an entire subject area of law, such as public international law. They constitute scholarly teachings or commentary as described under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, as a "subsidary means" for determining the rules of law. Following are some well known publication international law treatises.  

Brierly, The Law of Nations. 6th ed. 10th floor  KZ3225.B75 A35 1963

Brownlie, Principles of public international law. 7th ed. 10th floor KZ3225 .B76 A37 2008

Oppenheim's international law. 9th ed. 7th floor KZ3264. A3 .I57 1992

Shaw, International law. 6th ed. 7th floor KZ3275 .S53 2008


Use subject searching, as discussed in the Introduction, to find more titles in the Library catalog or Worldcat. Additional treatise titles may be found on in the HeinOnline Legal Classics Library.

Law Review Articles


There are two ways to find law review articles: indexes or full text. An index contains only records of an article with title, author and citation. Increasingly, indexes may include links to the full text of the article.


Generally, it is easier to use an index to find articles on one's topic than to search for relevant articles full text. The search features of an index are similar to those of a catalog. For example, the indexers create "descriptors" (subject headings) which are used to categorize all articles in the pool of indexed journals. Searching by descriptors, the researcher can retrieve groups of articles which are all directly on point. Full text searching often leads to too many irrelevant search results or results that discuss an issue only in passing, unless one constructs one's search query very carefully.




LJI (Legal Journals Index) is a U.K. index which is available via Westlaw Edge (Home > International > United Kingdom > Journals > Legal Journals Index). As a U.K. publication, it is useful for finding articles with a U.K. or EU perspective.


IFLP (Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals) is available via HeinOnline. IFLP provides access to law journal articles published in other countries. IFLP does not provide links to full text. However, many of the articles can be found in HeinOnline's Kluwer Law International Journal Library.



Full Text Law Review Articles


You may wish to search full text law reviews online via Westlaw or Lexis Advance for other reasons, i.e. cite checking. In addition to the citation guides referenced earlier, seeing how others have cited to a particular international instrument can be useful when writing your own article or cite checking another author's article.


Westlaw Next and Lexis Advance both contain full text law review articles. You can choose a particular journal to search or search in multiple journals at the same time.


HeinOnline's Law Journal Library is well know to most researchers. This Library contains digital copies of most U.S. law reviews from inception. In addition, HeinOnline's Kluwer Law International Journal Library contains twelve important international journals, such as and Journal of International Arbitration and Common Market Law Review.


HeinOnline is an excellent digital archive of many law journals. However, the most recent issues of a journal may not be available via HeinOnline per agreement with the journal publisher. In such cases, check Westlaw or Lexis Advance and the tools mentioned below, including the library catalog, A to Z list and Worldcat.  



As mentioned under the Custom tab, yearbooks of different countries or IGOs are useful for researching state practice. Many are indexed like other law journal articles and available via HeinOnline's Foreign & International Law Resources Database

Non-Law related Journals


Non-law related journals are increasingly important to legal scholars who are doing inter-disciplinary research. Many international law scholars in the fields of human rights or international trade, for example, may find the need to research materials in the fields of political science or economics.

The Library provides increasing full text access to such non-law related journals via EBSCOHost.
UIC John Marshall students also have access to the UIC Library's vast collection of article databases, including JSTOR. Browse the databases at the UIC Library Articles home page, select the database you wish to use and log in with your UIC i.d. and password.

If you have an article citation with no link to the full text, use the library catalog and/or the A to Z Journal List and run a search for the journal by title to locate it in the Library's collection of print or electronic resources.


If the Library does not have the journal in question, you can check Worldcat to find other libraries that subscribe to the journal. You can then submit an Interlibrary Loan request to the Library and we can try to obtain a copy of the article for you via ILL.