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LAW International Law

This guide is intended to provide resources to help with your international legal research, not for foreign jurisdictions.

Treaty Definitions

Here are a few legal definitions to get you started understanding treaty research:

  • Treaty = An agreement formally signed, ratified, or adhered to between two countries or sovereigns; an international agreement concluded between two or more states in written form and governed by international law. — Also termed accord; convention; covenant; declaration (Black's Law Dictionary 11th ed. 2019).
  • Protocol = A treaty amending and supplementing another treaty (Black's Law Dictionary 11th ed. 2019).
  • International Agreement = An international agreement in writing between two states (a bilateral treaty) or a number of states (a multilateral treaty). Such agreements can also be known as conventions, pacts, protocols, final acts, arrangements, and general acts. Treaties are binding in international law and constitute the equivalent of the municipal-law contract, conveyance, or legislation… (A Dictionary of Law (9th ed.) (Oxford University Press) “International Agreement”).
  • International Instruments = A broader term used by international organizations such as the United Nations.

Canada's Treaties

For treaties with the Indigenous Peoples in Canada, please use the Indigenous Peoples and the Law guide:

Here are a few resources of bilateral and multilateral treaties available for Canada:

Subject Treaties

Here are links to a selected list of commonly used subject-specific treaty sources:

Multilateral Treaty Collections

The United Nations (UN) is the most common international organization for multilateral treaties to be registered which is called deposited. Since 1946, these are part of the United Nations Treaty Series which is abbreviated UNTS. From 1920 - 1946, they were part of the League of Nations Treat Series, abbreviated LNTS. Here are links to resources to find UN treaties.

Here are links to multilateral treaty sources beyond the United Nations.

Foreign Treaties

Here are links to the main UK treaty websites.

Here are links to the main treaty sources for the United States of America.

Bilateral and multilateral treaties are available through national treaty series for foreign jurisdictions.

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