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International & Foreign Law Legal Research

Scholarly Writings

The teachings and writings of respected scholars are important in civil law systems and carry weight in international law.  They are useful as research aids.  They attempt to collect, analyze and sometimes criticize the principles of international law derived from other sources. 

For a listing of scholarly writing see the "Essential Sources" section of the International Legal Research Tutorial provided by Duke University School of Law and University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.


Judicial Decisions - Introduction

Judicial decisions of courts having international jurisdiction are a subsidiary source of international law.  Cases dealing with international law may also be found in the national reports of various countries.  The secondary importance of case law is in keeping with the practice of civil law systems.

Judicial Decisions

International Court of Justice

  • Established by the UN Charter and the Statute of the International Court of Justice.
  • Principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
  • Entertains two types of cases
    • Legal disputes between states
    • Requests for advisory opinions
  • Information and documents relating to both contentious cases and advisory opinions of the ICJ can be found on the ICJ website.
  • Predecessor:  Permanent Court of International Justice (1922 - 1946).

International Criminal Court

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

  • Interprets the law of the European Union (EU) ensuring it's applied uniformly and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions in addition to hearing complaints of individuals, companies or organizations against EU institutions.
  • You can search for cases on the Court's website.

European Court of Human Rights

Domestic Case Law

  • WorldLii - Legal information from approximately 123 jurisdictions.
  • Foreign Law Guide - Offers relevant information on sources of foreign law, including complete bibliographic citations to legislation, the existence of English translations and selected references to secondary sources. 
  • International Labour Law Reports - A series of annual publications of labour law judgments by the highest courts in a number of jurisdictions. Available via HeinOnline.
  • International Law Reports - Reprints national court reports dealing with international law.  Decisions are translated into English.  Decisions of international courts are also included.  Available in print.