Researching International Economic Law

This guide identifies sources useful for in-depth research in international economic law.  "International economic law comprises a broad collection of laws and customary practices that govern economic relations between actors in different nations.  It includes the examination of both law and policy issues on multiple levels, including private law, local law, national law, and international law."  Stephen Zamora, International Economic Law, 17 U. Pa. J. Int'l Econ. L. 63, 63-64 (1996)(footnotes omitted).

Given the broad scope of international economic law, this guide emphasizes sources allowing the researcher to delve more deeply into its respective facets.  These sources include research guides (both print and electronic) and Web gateways.  "Gateways" are Web sites that serve primarily to give researchers access to many other Web sites on one or more subjects.  Web-based research guides that offer multiple Web links can also serve as gateways.



International Economic Law Sources
Research guides
Gateways
Document collections
Experts
International Law Sources
Research guides
Gateways
Treaties
Secondary sources
Foreign Law Sources
Research guides
Gateways
Primary sources
Secondary sources
Private International Law Sources
Research guides
Gateways
Primary sources
Secondary sources
Business Sources
Research guides
Gateways
Secondary sources
General Sources
Finding books
Finding articles
Finding commercial online databases
Finding Web sites

International economic law sources

Some of these sources pertain specifically to international economic law.  Others do not, but offer sufficient general applicability or overlap to warrant attention.

Research guides

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law:  International Economic Law. One of a series of guides to commercial online and Internet sources in international law, this is a fine effort whose organization recognizes and distinguishes aspects of international economic law such as international trade law, international financial law, and regional economic integration.  It also supplies helpful guidance on locating relevant print literature.

Researching International Economic Law on the Internet.  The Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center produces this expert and well-designed site.

Claire M. Germain, Germain's transnational research: A guide for attorneys (1991 -  ) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL REF K85.G47 1991].  This loose-leaf service is the premier, all-purpose print guide to foreign and international law research.  It includes a subject section (Chapter IV), which favors topics falling within international economic law, such as banking, business organizations, commercial law, financial law, and investments.  Its foreign law coverage (Chapter V) is limited to Western European countries.

Accidental tourist on the new frontier: An introductory guide to global legal research (Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa, eds., 1998) [LAW/RESERVES K85.A27 1998].  Every chapter in this much needed addition to the research literature, with the possible exception of one or two, supplies essential background reading for research in international economic law.  Specific chapters are recommended below.
 

Gateways

Lex Mercatoria.  Describes itself as "an (international | transnational) commercial law & e-commerce infrastructure monitor."  It is the major gateway in this area, classifying its links as follows:  subject areas, instruments, e-commerce, and organizations.  Three universities -- the University of Tromsø and the University of Oslo in Norway, and the Institute of International Commercial Law at  Pace University School of Law -- along with the Australasian Legal Information Institute, cooperate on this project.

International Economic Law Web Resources.  A "no-frills" list of links, using substantially the same subject division as the ASIL guide, and maintained by the ASIL International Economic Law Group.

Eye on International Business Law.  Focuses on international trade and commercial law, international commercial arbitration, and private international law.  Based at the University of Muenster, this site, "[a]iming at navigability . . . endeavours to focus on the most instructive, reliable, and current sources available on the Internet."

Institute of European and International Economic Law.  A few useful links and a European perspective from the University of Berne, Switzerland.  Except for a welcome page in English, this site is in German.
 

Document collections

Basic documents of international economic law (Stephen Zamora & Ronald A. Brand, eds.,1990) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL REF  JX1252.B37 1990]. A two-volume collection of treaties and other instruments relating to private trade transactions and international intergovernmental regulation.  Each document is prefaced by an introduction and a bibliography.  Like other "basic documents" collections, this set offers a convenient "one-stop" source of primary materials, enhanced by the expertise of the contributors in both their selection of, and commentary on, the documents.  It may also be used to identify the official source of a document, which is given at the beginning of each document.  An electronic version is available on LEXIS: INTLAW; BDIEL, which is especially useful for keyword searching in lieu of an index.

WESTLAW: IEL (International Economic Law Documents).  The database scope note states that "[t]he IEL database is a project of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Interest Group on International Economic Law and contains documents selected for the database by the editors," who are the editors, and some of the contributors, associated with Basic documents of international law.   Since the IEL editors select new documents for the database on an ongoing basis, use IEL, or LEXIS: INTLAW; BDIEL, to update the print source.

International economic law:  Basic documents (Philip Kunig, Niels Lau & Werner Meng, eds., 1989) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL REF  K3820.A35I58 1989].  According to the editors, this one-volume collection "is oriented towards relevance to decision-makers on the international and national levels . . . The selection took a universal, not a national or regional perspective.  Therefore the volume includes mainly multilateral international treaties, but also some decisions of international organizations."  This source lacks the editorial enhancements of Basic documents of international economic law.

Transnational economic and monetary law:  International regulation of finance and investment (Kenneth R. Simmonds & Brian H. W. Hill, eds., 1992 -  ) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K3823.L372].  A multi-volume loose-leaf set.

Victor Essein, Research in Transnational Business Law, in Accidental tourist on the new frontier:  An introductory guide to global legal research 207-221 (Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa, eds., 1998) [LAW/RESERVES K85.A27 1998]Contains citations to international business law instruments.  It is not, strictly speaking, a research guide.

International Legal Materials  [K9.N87 LAW/FOREIGN-INTL]. A vital source of primary materials, published as a bi-monthly periodical by the American Society of International Law.  It supplies a wide variety of international agreements, foreign laws, and other documents of likely interest to international law scholars and practitioners, and it does this with relative currency.  Researchers will often find in ILM what they cannot find elsewhere.  It is available in full-text on WESTLAW: ILM; treaties published in ILM are available on LEXIS: INTLAW; ILMTY.
 

Experts

ASIL International Economic Law Group.  This site, which is not very active, may feature important announcements in the area of international economic law.

ASILIELG@listproc.kentlaw.edu (American Society of International Law, International Economic Law Interest Group).  A mailing list for those interested in international economic law.  To subscribe, send e-mail to listproc@listproc.kentlaw.edu with only the following text in the body of the message:  subscribe asilielg Your Name.
 

International law sources

Research guides

Guide to International Trade Law Sources on the Internet.  A helpful overall guide to international agreements, international organizations, United States government sources, country and regional business guides, and statistics.  The site is archived on LLRX.com.

WTO/GATT Research. An excellent annotated list of print and electronic sources for WTO/GATT research.  "These sources are listed according to the major activities of the WTO, along with a few related topics."  It includes guidance on finding further print materials.

How to Research NAFTA Issues.  "[A] guide for researching NAFTA issues at the University of Houston.  It is a selective bibliography organized loosely around suggested research steps."  Many of the sources and suggestions apply to international economic law research.  It offers a concise list of important Mexican and Canadian law sources.
 

Gateways

LEXIS: ITRADE (International Trade Library).  An important library of LEXIS files relating to international trade.  While it is a convenient collection, not every LEXIS file potentially helpful to international economic law researchers (e.g., ABI) can be found in this library.

Gateways to International Law Research.  Sometimes "less is more."  This is a gateway to gateways.  The sites were chosen to cover the entire range of public international law.

Legal Research on International Law Issues Using the Internet.  This site, taking a "kitchen sink" approach, often rewards the effort it takes to scroll through the long list of links.  Offers categories of links (such as directories and publishers) not commonly found through other international law gateways.  Most of the links are annotated.

International Trade Administration. A government site with useful links in areas including countries and regions andindustries and sectors.
 

Treaties

Locating Key Foreign & International Law Sources: Treaties.  A guide for researching treaties to which the United States is a party, multilateral treaties in general, and foreign bilateral treaties.  Presents all of the essential print and electronic treaty research sources.

Investment treaties [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K 1112.A35I58].

International tax treaties of all nations  [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K4473.A1I57].  A collection of foreign bilateral treaties.

Tax Treaties  [LAW/STACKS  KF6306.C65]. Excellent four-volume source of bilateral tax treaties to which the United States is a party.  Published by CCH, this loose-leaf service offers good indexing and other common CCH features.

OAS - Foreign Trade Information System.  Texts of trade agreements between countries of the Americas, including hard-to-find foreign bilateral agreements.
 

Secondary sources

International trade reporter [LAW/STACKS  KF1975 .A8I572]. Actually, a small library of sources.  Includes weekly current developments in international trade law, court decisions, an indexed Reference File on all aspects of international trade law, plus an Export Reference Manual and an Export Shipping Manual.  It is also available on LEXIS: ITRADE; INTRAD.

Harvey Kaye & Christopher A. Dunn, International trade practice (2d ed., 1997 -) [LAW/STACKS  KF1976.K39].  Loose-leaf treatise.

Private investments abroad [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K3829.6 .S96]. A yearbook on foreign investment issues.  A cumulative loose-leaf index [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K3829.6 .S95] is updated regularly.

WESTLAW Database Directory:  Law Reviews, Bar Journals and Legal Periodicals. Use this directory to find relevant law journals.

LEXIS Directory of Online Services:  Law Reviews Library.
 

Foreign law sources

Research guides

Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores,  Foreign law: Current sources of codes and legislation in jurisdictions of the world (1989 -  ) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL REF  K38.R49 1989].  This is the Bible of foreign law research.  Identifies the major primary sources of law (codes, court reports, etc.) for each country, as well as citations to the country's important legislation by subject.  Also notes English translations or reprint sources, if available.

Jeanne Rehberg & Mirela Roznovschi, Finding Foreign Law, in Accidental tourist on the new frontier: An introductory guide to global legal research 87-110 (Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa, eds., 1998) [LAW/RESERVES K85.A27 1998].  Good background for those new to foreign law research.  Combines strategic advice with descriptions of essential sources.  Provides examples of sources from important subject areas, and from individual countries and regions.

Locating Key Foreign & International Law Sources:  Foreign law sources. Gives the lay of the land in foreign law research, emphasizing the kinds of sources researchers should expect to encounter.  Contains cites and links to major foreign law sources.

Gateways

Foreign Primary Law on the Web:  Foreign Law Gateways.  A list of gateways for foreign law research.  In addition to general gateways, there are gateways devoted to particular regions and subjects.
 

Primary sources

Commercial laws of the world [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K1004.C65]. Thirty-two volumes of selected commercial legislation from many (not all) countries.  Stresses commercial codes, company laws, labor laws, insurance, bankruptcy, and the like.  Major source of English translations of foreign laws in these areas.

Investment laws of the world [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K1112.A48].

LEXIS:  INTLAW. Foreign legislation and case law from a number of countries are included this LEXIS library.  Certain countries are assigned their own library in LEXIS.  And there is overlap between the individual country files and the INTLAW library, making for a confusing situation.  Always check the index to the current print version of the LEXIS Directory.

InterAm Database. A subscription Web site operated by the National Law Center for Inter-American Trade.  It contains primary (and secondary) materials from countries of the Americas on trade-related subjects, but its offerings among the countries are extremely uneven. Take advantage of the "Topical/Subject Areas" menu to locate legislation on a specific topic.  If you are searching for the text of legislation for which you have a complete citation, search under "Primary Materials"; laws will be listed there in reverse chronological order.  (University of Houston faculty and students:  for username and password, contact Timothy Mulligan, Foreign & International Law Librarian, by email, or call (713) 743-2330).

Foreign Primary Law on the Web.  A virtual warehouse of links to primary foreign law texts available on the Web.

Secondary sources

Index to foreign legal periodicals  [LAW/INDEX TABLE (F&I)  K40 .I63].  A source for citations to articles in selected foreign law journals and essay collections.  Indexed by subject, country and region, book reviews, and author.  When using the country and region ("Geographic") index, you will see a list of subjects under each country; those are subjects under which, in the volume you are using, articles pertaining to that country appear.  Use the list of "Periodicals Indexed by Short Form" near the beginning of a volume to decipher periodical abbreviations.  It is available as WESTLAW: IFLP, but not under many law school WESTLAW subscription contracts.

Szladits' bibliography on foreign and comparative law [LAW/INDEX TABLE (F&I)  K520 .S95].  Less current than IFLP, but broader in scope:  it also references books and sources of foreign primary law.

Doing business in [               ].  Many books dealing with foreign business law bear titles that begin with these words.  Many of these are loose-leaf treatises that, in addition to analysis, contain reprints or translations of the jurisdiction's laws relating to business; these can sometimes be found in an appendix.  A list of "Doing Business in . . ." titles available at the University of Houston Libraries is here.  Most of the titles are part of a Price, Waterhouse series, but some, such as Doing business in Europe, are not.  Other titles in this genre, like Business Transactions in Germany, may be found by doing an appropriate subject search, using subjects typically assigned to "Doing Business in" books.

Digest of commercial laws of the world [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K1005.4.D54].
 

Private international law sources

Research guides

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law:  Private International Law. A guide to Web sources mostly limited to multilateral treaty regimes.

Jonathan Pratter & Joseph R. Profaizer, A practitioner's research guide and bibliography to international civil litigation, 28 Tex. Int'l L. J. 633 (1993).  A research guide to an important aspect of private international law that, like all good research guides, equips the researcher to continue research independently.
 

Gateways

Private International Law Database (U.S. State Department).  "The purpose of this web site is to provide a convenient location to find treaties in force for the United States, other international instruments, and information on current negotiations and projects covering the private international law of such areas as trade and commerce, finance and banking, trusts and estates, family and children matters, and international judicial assistance . . . The database is organized into four general areas: Trade and Business Transactions Law; Family Law; International Judicial Assistance; and the law governing Wills, Trusts, and Estates."
 

Primary sources

Hague Conference on Private International Law.  A good source for the texts of private international law conventions.

International Commercial Arbitration [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL K2400.A48 1964].  Along with multilateral arbitration treaties, it contains translations of foreign arbitration rules.
 

Secondary sources

Richard H. Kreindler, Transnational litigation: A basic primer (1998) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K2205.4.K74 1998].

Bruno A. Ristau, International judicial assistance: Civil and commercial (1984 -) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL REF K7624 .R57 1984].  Contains analysis, useful summaries of practice in this area, and selected primary texts.

Georges R. Delaume, Transnational contracts -- applicable law and settlement of disputes:  a study in conflict avoidance (1975 - ) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL  K7265.D44].

World Litigation Law & Practice (Ronald A. Myrick, ed., 1986 -  ) [LAW/FOREIGN-INTL K2205.4.W67 1986].  Foreign coverage is limited to Canada, England and Wales, Italy, Belgium, and "West Germany."
 

Business sources

Research guides

Kathy E. Shimpock, Business research handbook: methods and sources for lawyers and business professionals (1996) [ANDERSON/GENERAL COLL  HF54.52.U5 S54 1996].

Michael R. Lavin, Business information: how to find it, how to use it (2d ed. 1992) [LAW/REFERENCE HF5356.L36 1991].

 Lorna M. Daniells, Business information sources (3d ed. 1993) [LAW/REFERENCE  HF5351.D3 1993].

Pervez N. Ghauri, Kjell Grønhaug &, Ivar Kristianslund, Research methods in business studies: a practical guide (1995) [ANDERSON/GENERAL COLL HD30.4 .G49 1995].

Dan Remenyi, et al., Doing research in business and management: an introduction to process and method (1998) [ANDERSON/REFERENCE  HD30.4 .D65 1998].
 

Gateways

 International Business Resources on the WWW.  Widely considered the best gateway on this subject.
 

Secondary sources

ABI/Inform. Web access (via Ovid) to the foremost business journals database.  A portion of your search results will be in full-text; the rest will be limited to citations.  Nice graphics and search features might make this format preferable to WESTLAW: ABI-INFORM or LEXIS:  BUSFIN; ABI.  Available only by subscription.  (University of Houston users must access this database through the UH network.)

Business & Industry.  Another subscription database, focusing on industry and trade publications.  It is available at the M.D. Anderson Library.
 

General sources

Finding books

University of Houston Library Catalog. Covers all of the University of Houston Libraries, including the Law Library and the business collection at the M.D. Anderson Library (the main campus library).  This is a database, and should be used as one.  Basic Boolean searches are permitted as part of a "WORDS" (keyword) search.  Combine keyword searching with subject searching, using Library of Congress subject headings derived from items that you know are relevant, or from the research guides listed above on international economic law, WTO/GATT and private international law.  Hone large search results by using the "LIMIT" feature.

Academic Law Libraries. Comprehensive links to other law libraries and their catalogs.

The Library of Congress Online Catalog. The Library of Congress does not have every book ever published, but it certainly has more than the average library.  Boolean searches are allowed.

Subject guide to books in print [LAW/REFERENCE  Z1215 .P973]. All books currently published or distributed in the United States, organized by subject.  Since the subjects are not specific enough for sophisticated research, it is better to use WESTLAW: BIP or Books in Print, the subscription Web site.

Finding Materials Relevant to a Subject.  Basic advice on searching secondary literature by subject.
 

Finding articles

Current law index [LAW/INDEX TABLE].  Also available as the Legal Resource Index on WESTLAW: LRI and on LEXIS: LAWREV; LGLIND, and as INFOTRAC at dedicated workstations on the main level of the law library.  By using an index rather than a full-text database, researchers usually obtain more relevant results, since the search is limited to titles, subjects, and, sometimes, abstracts.  Uses Library of Congress subject headings.  More comprehensive than the Index to Legal Periodicals.

Index to Legal Periodicals [LAW/INDEX TABLE  K1.A55].

WESTLAW: TP-ALL (Texts & Periodicals -- All law reviews, texts and bar journals).

LEXIS: LAWREV; ALLREV (Law reviews combined).

Academic Universe. Web access to journals and news.  Available by subscription from LEXIS.

UnCoverWeb.  Search UnCover to obtain citations to articles from a large number of academic journals.

Readers' guide to periodical literature [ANDERSON/INDEX TABLES  AI3 .R4].  Just a reminder!
 

Finding commercial online databases

LEXIS Directory of Online Services.  A new edition is published annually.  It is also available on the Web.

LEXIS: GUIDE; GUIDE.  At the first menu, choose "Product Guide Descriptions for Publications or Files."  At the next menu, choose "Free-text searching."  Then enter your query.  (These instructions apply to the dial-up version of LEXIS, not the Web version.)

WESTLAW Database Directory.  Obtain the most recent print edition from your WESTLAW representative, or access the Web version.

WESTLAW: IDEN (WESTLAW Database List).  An alternative method of finding databases available on WESTLAW.  It is a database about WESTLAW databases.  Uses natural language searching, so researchers should simply enter relevant terms without formulating a query.  The results are ranked in descending order of relevance.

Gale directory of databases [ANDERSON/REFERENCE  Z699.22 .G34].  Keeps track of thousands of commercial online and CD-ROM databases, updated semi-annually.
 

Finding Web sites

Google.com

MetaCrawler.  Searches a number of good Web search engines simultaneously and combines the results.

Northern Light.  Employs a relatively precise, proprietary search program.  Highly recommended.  Choose "Search the World Wide Web only" under "Select a source" to exclude from the search result articles offered for sale by Northern Light.

AltaVista.  Choose "Advanced Search" to perform Boolean searches.

Foreign Languages Search Engines Galore.  Since search engine companies rely on Webmasters to take the trouble to submit information about their sites, researchers looking for foreign Web sites should consider choosing a search engine popular in the country under examination.  This site is a gateway to foreign search engines.

Search Engine Watch. Monitors and evaluates Web search engines.  Offers instructions on formulating optimal searches using "search engine math" and other searching tips.


By Tim Mulligan 
Last revision:  June 25, 2001