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Pritzker Legal Research Center

International Legal Research Guide

An overview of international law and where to begin research


This guide is intended to assist you with conducting research on an international law topic. Public international law governs relationships between nations and intergovernmental organizations, while private international law governs disputes between private individuals or companies/corporations that cross international boundaries where there is a conflict in the domestic law of different countries. In contrast, foreign law pertains to the law of another nation (e.g., the law of Switzerland, the law of Australia, etc.).

Research Process

Step 1: Start your research by consulting a secondary source (e.g., book or journal article) to obtain a quick overview of the topic as well as citations to relevant sources of international law. 

Step 2: Decode any abbreviations of materials cited in the secondary sources to understand what type of source it is and the name of the publication. 

Step 3: Using a research guide to assist you, find the relevant sources of international law.

General International Law & International Legal Research Resources

These books provide general background information on what international law is or how to conduct international legal research. These resources can serve as more detailed supplements to this research guide.