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Researching International Environmental Law

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  1. Researching International Environmental Law CJIELP Training Jane Thompson, Wise Law Library September 20, 2007

  2. Electronic Research Guides for Int’l Environmental Law • ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: IEL - • E.B. Wms. (Georgetown) Library Int’l Legal Research Research Guides & Tutorials - Guide)& (Treaties Tutorial) • Leanne Walther (CU), Treaty Research Guide – • Stephanie Weigman, Researching Non-U.S. Treaties,

  3. Int’l Environmental Law: Texts and Reference Tools • Guruswamy & Doran, International Environmental Law in a Nutshell (3rd ed. 2007, on Reserve) • Kiss & Shelton, Int’l Envtl. Law (3rd ed. 2004) • Guide to Int’l Legal Research (annual, GWU, in Reference) • Parry and Grant, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Int’l Law (2d ed. 2004)

  4. IEL: Current Awareness • Current Awareness • BNA, International Environment Reporter (biweekly) and BNA International Environment Daily via Lawpac • Greenwire (daily news service)—full text on LexisNexis • Online Discussion Lists (see ASIL Guide) and blogs—e.g., Int’l Envtl. Law Blog • ABA International Lawyer (Year-in-Review) and Env’t, Energy & Resources Law The Year-in-Review • Int’l yearbooks, e.g., Yearbook of European Environmental Law & Yearbook of Int’l Environmental Law

  5. BNA Int’l Environment Reporter

  6. Greenwire

  7. IEL: Secondary Sources • Books on IEL topics • Lawpac and Chinook, Prospector, FirstSearch WorldCat catalogs • Periodical articles on IEL topics • LAWPAC: LegalTrac, ILP, HeinOnline, Academic Search Premier (published); SSRN & bePress (preprint) • Chinook E-Resources: Environmental Issues subject guide (PAIS Int’l, Engineering Village 2, EnviroNetBase)

  8. Chinook: E-Resources

  9. Chinook E-Resources: Environmental Issues Subject Guide

  10. PAIS International

  11. Primary Sources of International Law: Art. 38(1) of the ICJ Statute • International conventions [treaties] • International custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law • General principles of law recognized by civilized nations • Judicial decisions and teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations (as a subsidiary source)

  12. Research Strategy for IEL • Find TREATIES • Determine what treaties exist in IEL • Locate the authoritative text of and citation to a treaty • Determine if the treaty is in force and with what parties and reservations • Interpret the treaty by consulting drafting/legislative history, judicial interpretations, and implementing legislation and regulations

  13. Research Strategy for IEL (cont.) • Find CUSTOMARY LAW • National legislation • Diplomatic notes and correspondence • Statements/votes by gov’ts in int’l forums • Ratification of treaties with obligations • Opinions of legal advisers • Restatements of law by scholars & jurists

  14. Research Strategy for EIL (cont.) • Find Subsidiary Means: • Judicial decisions • ICJ (World Court) judgments & advisory opinions • Judicial or arbitral tribunals, some are created by treaties, e.g., Int’l Tribunal for the Law of the Sea • Scholarly writings • Legal texts adopted by scientific & professional associations, e.g., Int’l Law Commission

  15. Research Strategy for IEL (cont.) • Find new sources of Law (“Soft Law”) • Resolutions • Recommendations • Codes of practice • Guidelines • Statements • Declarations of principles

  16. Treaties: Process and Terminology • Adoption: negotiate and agree on text • Signature: representatives of participating nations sign or initial treaty • Entry into Force: beginning of the period of the binding effect of a treaty; treaty may provide for a fixed date, or the deposit of a specified number of ratifications, before it becomes effective • Ratification/Acceptance/Approval: consent of signatories to be bound by the treaty (incl. int’l & domestic procedures) • Accession: consent of non-signatory nations to be bound by the treaty

  17. TREATIES • How to identify EXISTING IEL TREATIES • Guruswamy, Int’l Environmental Law in a Nutshell (3rd ed. 2007) “table of treaties” • Documents compilations, e.g., Sands & Galizzi, Documents in Int’l Environmental Law (2d ed. 2004) • International Protection of the Environment series (ICEL, qtrly updates) and Int’l Envtl. Law: Multilateral Treaties (3x/yr. updates)—print sources • EISIL: Electronic Information System for Int’l Law (Basic Sources) – • ECOLEX: A Gateway to Environmental Law – • ENTRI: Envt’l Treaties & Resource Indicators - • EESI: International Energy Treaties - • Treaty Resources by Topic (BU Law Library) -

  18. Treaties: Locating Authoritative Text • Multilateral treaties • United Nations Treaty Collection - (Go to Reference Desk for access) • Older indexes: World Treaty Index; Multilateral Treaties: Index and Current Status • Treaty Secretariat web sites - EISIL (most IEL treaties) – or UNEP Convention Secretariats (UNEP treaties) - • U.S. treaties • United States Treaties (UST) and TIAS series, 1950- (print, HeinOnline, WL, L/N); older treaties in U.S. Statutes at Large and Bevans (1776-1949) compilation • KAV Agreements (unofficial; HeinOnline, microfiche); Current Treaty Index also provides access to these • Thomas (Senate treaty documents, 1975-; links to GPO texts) – • Recent U.S. and non-U.S. treaties • International Legal Materials (unofficial; HeinOnline, WL, L/N)

  19. Treaties: Locating Authoritative Text • Treaty Secretariat web sites • Use EISIL web site to get links and citations to official text – • UNEP Convention Secretariats –

  20. Treaties: Locating Authoritative Text • United States treaties • Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur." Article VI states that the Constitution and "the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." • United States Treaties (UST) and TIAS series, 1950- (print, HeinOnline, WL, L/N); Older treaties published in U.S. Statutes at Large and Bevans (1776-1949) compilation. Access also via Kavass, US Treaty Index: 1776-2000 consolidation (print). • KAV Agreements (unofficial; HeinOnline, microfiche); Current Treaty Index also provides access to these

  21. Link to Full Text

  22. Treaties: Locating Authoritative Text • How to Find the official TEXT of treaties from regional organizations: • EISIL: Electronic Info System for IEL – (regional orgs. page) • Council of Europe (COE) - • European Union (EU) –

  23. Citing to Treaties • Check citation in EISIL database – if available (“more info” link) • A Uniform System of Citation (Bluebook), rule 21.4.5 (on reserve in the Law Library) • If U.S. is a party to a multilateral treaty: • For U.S., cite to U.S.T., Stat., T.I.A.S., etc. • Treaty name, date, [vol.] U.S.T. [p.], [vol.] U.N.T.S. [p.]

  24. Treaties: Status (Multilateral) • How to determine if a treaty is IN FORCE and with what PARTIES and RESERVATIONS: multilateral treaties • UN Treaty Collection: Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General (500+ major treaties; go to Reference Desk for access) – • Treaty Secretariat web sites • ECOLEX Treaty Status Tables – • If UN treaty, call UN Office of Legal Affairs, Treaty Section (NY) - 212-963-5048, or e-mail - • If US is the depositary for a multilateral treaty: U.S. State Dept. web site,

  25. Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Sec’y-General