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Guide to International and Foreign Law Research

5 Steps for Non-U.S. Treaty Research

  1. Start with secondary sources to find treaty citation - MTDSG, Journal Articles, International legal research guides
  2. Use citation to locate authoritative text of treaty - Party nation website, HeinOnline, UN Database
  3. Be mindful of any reservations, understandings, or declarations associated with the treaty
  4. Look for supplements or modifications (like protocols)
  5. Ask a reference librarian for help!

Abbreviations Cheat Sheet

Treaty research involves a lot of abbreviations and they can be difficult to keep up with. Here's a cheat sheet to help you keep all the letters straight:

  • UNTS = United Nations Treaty Series Collection → Continually updated with new UN treaties as they go into effect
  • MTDSG = Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General → Index of treaties for which the UN is a depositary, usually between member states

All of these non-U.S. treaty publications can be accessed through the United Nations Treaty Collection found online.

Useful Resources for Non-U.S. Treaty Research

United Nations Treaty Collection

Collection of treaties between member nations of the UN, including bi- and multi-lateral treaties deposited with the Secretary General.

Party Nation Websites

Many countries keep the texts of their current treaties on their government websites. Some are even available in English. For example, Australia posts its treaties on its government website.

HeinOnline: United Nations Law Collection  (subscription database available from Quick Links on the library homepage; if off campus, students will have to enter their username and password)

Contains the entire United Nations Treaty Collection with a feature for retrieving treaty texts by citation.