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Public International Law

A guide to resources for public international law research, created by John Bolan, Bora Laskin Law Library

Researching State Practice

When doing research in this area, the objective is to find evidence of state practice, which can be found in a wide array of official governmental conduct, including official statements, diplomatic exchanges, press releases, policy statements, national legislation and national judicial decisions

Hein's Foreign and International Law Resources Database

Hein's Foreign and International Law Resources Database collects an extensive amount of significant international legal material in a format that allows researchers to browse sources such as Yearbooks of international law, US Digests of international law, international tribunal decisions and other significant works related to international and foreign law.

State department and foreign ministry websites

State department and foreign ministry websites are a good source of information. 

Also try searching the library catalogue using the name of the relevant ministry as the author. 

Yearbooks and General sources - Online

Yearbooks and General Sources - Print

Yearbooks of international law for particular countries contain academic articles on international law, reviews of current practice and selected reprinted documents. They will usually have citations to material relied upon for the perceived practice. The University of Toronto catalogue  contains many national yearbooks of international law. Search by combining country name with “yearbook international law” in the title field.

Periodical Articles

  • Periodical articles are a good source for information on a state’s practice in international law for a given year.
  • TIP: Use some of the periodical indexes listed in the Articles tab search for articles on your chosen country