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Treaty Research

A guide to resources for treaty research prepared by John Bolan, Bora Laskin Law Library

Keep in Mind

  • There is no single comprehensive source for treaties
  • Official sources are the most authoritative
  • Often treaties are known by a popular name or acronym
  • Countries often have their own official treaty series

Online Sources for Treaties

Treaty Websites

TIP: Most current treaties have their own website containing the full-text of the treaty and related instruments, as well as information on treaty status and signatories. Search the website of any IGO associated with the treaty, or try a subject-oriented website.

Print Sources for Treaties

Time Period                                Treaty Series
1648  - 1919

The Consolidated Treaty Series - Clive Parry   (CTS) 

Use the 'General Chronology' and the 'Special Chronology' indexes to locate treaties by date, and the Party Indexvolumes to search by party.

Colonial and Postal/Telegraph Treaties are indexed in the 'Special Chronology' volumes of this set

1920 - 1944

Treaty Series - League of Nations - League of Nations  (LNTS)

Also located at Bora Laskin Law Library, call no. JX170 .L4


1944 - Present                

United Nations Treaty Series - United Nations   (UNTS)
Also available online, see box above.


Journal Articles

Journal articles are a useful source for treaty citations.  Search full-text databases (Hein/Westlaw/Quicklaw-Lexis) for journal articles with the name of the treaty.

 

Article 102

Article 102 of the UN Charter states that member states cannot rely on treaties in UN proceedings unless the treaty has been registered with the UN. Thus many treaties are registered with the UN and published in the United Nations Treaty Series. The League of Nations Treaty Series performed a similar function.