Public International Law
Public International Law refers to the body of legal rules and principles which determine the international rights and obligations of nation-states and regulate the operations of international organizations. Also non-governmental entities and individuals have become part of public international law. The scope of activities covered by public international law has grown over the years to include additional topics, e.g., human rights, international environmental law, international criminal law, and international economic law. The normative system of public international law is derived from the four sources, listed in Article 38.1 of the International Court of Justice Statute, i.e., treaties, customary international law, general principles of law, and ‘judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as a subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law’. Various international courts and arbitration tribunals provide for the settlement of disputes in the field of public international law. For detailed guidance on individual topics of public international law, see the individual research guides on the various special topics.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Public International Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Besson, S., Breitenmoser, S., Sassòli, M., Ziegler, A.R., Völkerrecht = Droit international public : aide-mémoire, Zürich : Dike, 2013.
- Carreau, D. et F. Marrella, Droit international, Paris, Pedone, 2012.
- Crawford, J., Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Harris, D., S.Sivakumaran, Cases and Materials on International Law, 8th edition, London, Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters, 2015.
- Oppenheim, L.F.L., Oppenheim's International Law, 9th ed., London : Longman, 1992-1996.
- Salmon, J., Dictionnaire de droit international public, Bruxelles : Bruylant, 2001
- Shaw, M.N., International Law, 8th ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Thirlway, H., The Sources of International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019.
- Wolfrum, R., Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Cassese, A., International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Chesterman, S., I. Johnstone, D.M. Malone & T.M.Franck, Law and practice of the United Nations: documents and commentary, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Crawford, J.,Hasard, Ordre et Changement: Le Cours Du Droit International, Leiden, Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2015.
- Combacau, J. et S. Sur, Droit international public, Paris, Montchrestien, 2010.
- Daillier, P., Forteau, M. et A. Pellet, Droit international public, Paris, L.G.D.J, 2009.
- Dumberry, P., The Formation and Identification of Rules of Customary International Law in International Investment Law, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- Dupuy, P.-M. et Y. Kerbrat, Droit international public, Paris, Dalloz, 2012.
- Evans, M. (ed.), International Law, 3rd ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010
- Higgins, R., Themes and Theories : Selected Essays, Speeches, and Writings in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.
- den Heijer, M. & H. van der Wilt, Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2015: Jus Cogens: Quo Vadis?, The Hague, Asser Press, 2016.
- Kamto, M., Gouvernance mondiale et droit international, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2015.
- Koskenniemi, M., The Politics of International Law, Oxford etc. : Hart, 2011
- Lauterpacht, H., The Function of Law in the International Community, New York, Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Lowe, V., International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Lung-chu, C., An Introduction to Contemporary International Law : A Policy-oriented Perspective, 3rd ed. New York, NY, US, Oxford University Press, 2015.
- de Oliveira Mazzuoli, V., Curso de Direito Internacional Público, 9.a Edição Revista, Atualizada e Ampliada, São Paulo: Thomson Reuters, Revista dos Tribunais, 2015.
- Orford, A., F.Hoffmann, & M.Clark, The Oxford handbook of the theory of international law, Oxford, United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Rivier, R., Droit international public, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2012.
- Ryngaert, C., Erik J. Molenaar, Sarah M.H. Nouwen, What's wrong with international law?: liber amicorum A.H.A. Soons, Leiden, Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2015.
- Saganek, P., Unilateral acts of States in Public International Law, Leiden : Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2016.
- Shaw, M.N., International Law, 8th ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Stein, T. von und C. von Buttlar, Völkerrecht, München, Vahlen, 2012.
- Torres Bernárdez, S. [et al.] (eds.), El derecho internacional en el mundo multipolar del siglo XXI : obra homenaje al profesor Luis Ignacio Sánchez Rodríguez, Madrid, Iprolex, 2013.
- Bergé, J.-S., "De la hiérarchie des normes au droit hiérarchisé : figures pratiques de l'application du droit à différents niveaux", Journal du droit international (Clunet), 140 (2013), No. 1, pp. 3-25.
- Fois, P., "Riflessioni sul principo di legalita nel diritto internazionale contemporaneo", Rivista di diritto internazionale, 96 (2013), No. 2, pp. 361-384.
- Katz Cogan, J., "The Changing Form of the International Law Commission's Work", Evolutions in the Law of International Organizations, Leiden, Boston: Brill Nijhoff, 2015, pp. 275-290.
- Kolb, R., "La détermination du concept de jus cogens", Revue générale de droit international public, 118 (2014), No. 1, 5-29.
- Lindenfalk, U., "The Source of Jus Cogens Obligations : How Legal Positivism Copes With Peremptory International Law", Nordic Journal of International Law, 82 (2013), No.3, pp.369-389.
- Trindade, Antônio Augusto Canc̜ado, The Contribution of Latin American Legal Doctrine to the Progressive Development of International Law: Special Lecture (2015 Session, Public International Law), Recueil des Cours, Collected courses of The Hague Academy of International Law, 2016.
Periodicals, serial publications
- American Journal of International Law
- Annuaire français de droit international
- Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht
- British Yearbook of International Law
- Chinese Journal of International Law
- Collected Courses of the Xiamen Academy of International Law
- CARREAU, D. (et al.) (éd.), Répertoire de droit international, Paris : Dalloz, 2004
- European Journal of International Law
- German Yearbook of International Law
- Harvard International Law Journal
- International legal materials
- Leiden Journal of International Law
- Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law
- Netherlands Yearbook of International Law
- Nordic Journal of International Law
- Revue générale de droit international public
- The Yale Journal of International Law
Systematic classification → Public international law
Thirlway, H., The Sources of International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019. Showcase itemView this title in our discovery service
This new edition of Hugh Thirlway's authoritative text provides an introduction to one of the fundamental questions of the discipline: what is, and what is not, a source of international law. Traditionally, treaties between states and state practice were seen as the primary means with which to create international law. However, more recent developments have recognized customary international law, alongside international treaties and instruments, as a key foundation upon which international law is built. This book provides an insightful inquiry into all the recognized, or asserted, sources of international law. It investigates the impact of ethical principles on the creation of international law; whether 'soft law' norms come into being through the same sources as binding international law; and whether jus cogens norms, and those involving rights and obligations erga omnes have a unique place in the creation of international legal norms. It studies the notion of 'general principles of international law' within international law's sub-disciplines, and the evolving relationship between treaty-based law and customary international law. Re-examining the traditional model, it investigates the increasing role of international jurisprudence, and looks at the nature of international organisations and non-state actors as potential new sources of international law. This revised and updated book provides a perfect introduction to the law of sources, as well as innovative perspectives on new developments, making it essential reading for anyone studying or working in international law.
Roberts, A. (et al.) (eds.), Comparative International Law, New York, Oxford University Press, 2018.View this title in our discovery service
By definition, international law, once agreed upon and consented to, applies to all parties equally. It is perhaps the one area of law where cross-country comparison seems inappropriate, because all parties are governed by the same rules. However, as this book explains, states sometimes adhere to similar, and at other times, adopt different interpretations of the same international norms and standards. International legal rules are not a monolithic whole, but are the basis for ongoing contestation in which states set forth competing interpretations. International norms are interpreted and redefined by national executives, legislatures, and judiciaries. These varying and evolving interpretations can, in turn, change and impact the international rules themselves. These similarities and differences make for an important, but thus far, largely unexamined object of comparison. This is the premise for this book, and for what the editors call "comparative international law."
This book achieves three objectives. The first is to show that international law is not a monolith. The second is to map the cross-country similarities and differences in international legal norms in different fields of international law, as well as their application and interpretation with regards to geographic differences. The third is to make a first and preliminary attempt to explain these differences. It is organized into three broad thematic sections, exploring: conceptual matters, domestic institutions and comparative international law, and comparing approaches across issue-areas. The chapters are authored by contributors who include leading international law and comparative law scholars with diverse backgrounds, experience, and perspectives.
Deyra, M., Droit international public, 5e édition, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Gualino, Lextenso éditions, 2018.View this title in our discovery service
Le Droit international public correspond à l'ensemble des règles juridiques qui régissent les rapports internationaux entre sujets indépendants. C'est un droit sans législateur, aux effets relatifs et à portée variable. Dans la société internationale d'aujourd'hui marquée par la globalisation des relations et par le morcellement des structures, il est essentiel d'avoir les repères que constituent le droit des traités, des espaces, de la guerre, de la paix, des personnes, pour constater que ce n'est pas le Droit qui manque, mais que ce sont les États qui manquent à leurs droits. Ce livre constitue une synthèse ordonnée, complète et accessible du Droit international public.
- ASIL Electronic Resource Guide "Researching Public International Law" by Kelly Vinopal
- Hague Academy of International Law, Recueil des Cours
- Hein Online, Foreign & International Law Resources
- Martinus Nijhoff Online, International Law
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law
- Oxford Reports on International Law
- Westlaw International
First Podcast about International Law in Spanish
The first Podcast about international law in Spanish has been launched! The Podcast Hablemos de Derecho Internacional (HDI), created and hosted by Edgardo Sobenes, Lawyer and Consultant in Public International Law, addresses contemporary issues of international law of global relevance. HDI features conversations with international lawyers and jurists, such as H.E. Mr. Philippe Couvreur, Prof. Antonio Remiro Brotons and Prof. Juan José Ruda, among other well-known legal personalities.
The Podcast is intended to contribute to the dissemination and study of contemporary legal issues in the Spanish language, and is available on the main platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast. For more information about the guests and the episodes subscribe to Hablemos de Derecho Internacional (HDI), and follow HDI’s social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.Read more
The Ladies of The Hague Academy – Summer 2018
The Peace Palace will welcome around 700 students from all over the world during this year’s summer session of The Hague Academy of International Law. For many students, it will be their first time in The Hague and finding your way around the city can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, there will be six lovely ladies to give a helping hand when you need one. Find out who they are and what they have to say.Read more
The Hague Academy Summer Courses 2018
We welcome all students of the The Hague Academy of International Law’s summer courses, first period 9 July – 27 July (Public International Law) and second period 30 July -17 August (Private International Law). The coming six weeks, the library will serve as the Academy’s ‘home library’, providing the students with access to all books, articles, essays and documentation on international law available in either paper or electronic format.Read more
70 Years of the International Law Commission: Drawing a Balance for the Future
This week the International Law Commission starts its seventieth session in New York. For the past seventy years, the Commission has played an indispensable role in the progressive development of international law and its codification. To mark the seventieth anniversary of the Commission, a photo exhibit is on display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, which features images of the Peace Palace Library Photo Collection. The exhibit explores the achievements of the Commission and places them in historical context – a history in which the city of The Hague plays a special role. A guest blog by Bart Smit Duijzentkunst.Read more
Book Review: War, Peace and International Order?
This book attempts to assess the history and on-going relevance of the 1899 and 1907 Hague peace conferences, the conventions they brought into being, the institutions they established and the precedents they set. The exact legacies of the two conferences remain unclear. On the one hand, diplomatic and military historians, who cast their gaze to 1914, traditionally dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant footnotes on the path to the First World War. On the other, experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which the conferences progressed the law of war and the concept and application of international justice.Read more
Satellite Data in International Law
The use of data acquired through earth observation satellites has become commonplace. The use of satellite data has even expanded as an extremely useful tool to implement international law since it provides factual, relevant and up-to-date information. Further technological developments will steadily increase the range of data which can be collected through Earth Observation and further enhance its accuracy. Therefore, satellite data can be used to monitor compliance with obligations contained within international agreements or to resolve disputes before an international court.Read more
Interview Professor Yves Daudet
Professor Daudet officially retired as Secretary-General of The Hague Academy of International Law. A special farewell ceremony and reception were held in his honor during which the new Secretary- General, Professor Jean- Marc Thouvenin was formally introduced. Mr Daudet graciously agreed to be interviewed. Find out more how he looks back on his time at the Academy, his many highlights and accomplishments and how he will continue to stay involved in the future of the Academy.Read more
Interview Sigrid Kaag
This month, we have the honor of interviewing Ms. Sigrid Kaag, a top Dutch diplomat who currently serves as a United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Last month, the Dutch Carnegie Foundation awarded Sigrid Kaag the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize. Before the ceremony took place, we took the opportunity to interview Ms. Kaag to discuss her work at the UN, in particular, the succesful UN-OPCW joint mission Ms. Kaag led to eliminate the chemical weapons programme in Syria. We also discussed the role of international law in her daily work at the UN. Here’s what she had to say.Read more
Interview: Alexia Solomou
The best part of working in the Library is meeting community members who are working on interesting and important projects in international law. It gets even better when they’re willing to share their stories with our readers. This month, we are delighted to introduce you to Alexia Solomou, Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice. Ms. Solomou is from Cyprus and has recently succeeded in setting up a Cypriot Branch of the International Law Association. She shares with us her experience of working at the ICJ and offers us great insight in what it takes to set up an ILA branch.Read more
Bibliotheek van het Vredespaleis viert 200 jaar Nederlandse Grondwet
On Saturday 29 March, the Netherlands will celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the 1814 Constitution. During the so-called Grondwetfestival (Constitution Festival) government buildings normally off limits to the public, like the Catshuis and Trêveszaal, will open especially for this occasion. The Peace Palace Library will also participate in this event with an interactive tour – in Dutch – explaining the relationship between the Dutch Constitution and international law. [Further information in Dutch]Read more
The Hague Academy of International Law: Celebrating 90 Years of Academic Excellence
On July 24, 1923, ten years after the opening of the Peace Palace, the Hague Academy of International Law was solemnly inaugurated in the Peace Palace ‘to teach subjects which are most important from the point of view of theory, practice, legislation and international jurisprudence, in particular from deliberations of conferences and arbitral awards’ (Art. 3 of its statute adopted in 1914).Read more
Immunities in Public and Private International Law - 9th Session of the Seminar for Advanced Studies, 13-19 January 2013
Each year the Hague Academy of International law, one of the most renowned academic institutions in Europe, holds a seminar devoted to various aspects of public and private international law. The theme of this year’s seminar will be: ”Les immunités en droit international public et privé” (Immunities in public and private international law). This Programme of Advanced Studies will take place from 13 to 19 January 2013 at the Academy building in The Hague.Read more
When Röling Waves Advanced Towards the Shores of International Law
Invitation to lecture about the influence of Röling’s work on international law practice and scholarship by Prof. Nico Schrijver, organized by the Peace Palace Library. The lecture takes place on Wednesday 22 June, 2011, at 17.30-19.30 (lecture starts at 18.00). The location is the Historic Reading Room of the Peace Palace Library. Entrance is free.Read more
The Influence of NGOs on International Law
From a traditional point of view, International Public Law has been understood as a set of rules produced by states in order to regulate relations between them. Since the end of the Cold War, the role of NGOs in international law is growing in importance and their activities are reaching the remotest parts of the world. In this blog, I will briefly discuss how NGOs have transformed international law as well as how they continue to contribute to the development of international law.Read more
In memoriam: Sir Ian Brownlie CBE QC (1932-2010)
Sir Ian Brownlie, the second from the right on the photo, taken at the International Court of Justice when he was arguing the Nicaragua-Honduras case for Nicaragua. The great British international lawyer, Sir Ian Brownlie, died on January 3th 2010, in a car-accident while on holiday with his family in Egypt. His name is a […]Read more
First Lady of International Law
Tuesday last week the First Lady of International Law, Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice bade farewell to her colleagues at the Court in The Hague, after serving nearly fourteen years as judge and as its President.
This event coincided with the presentation of her latest book “Themes and Theories. Selected speeches and writings in International Law” (OUP 2009). An impressive collection of her thoughts over the last forty years. Ten chapters on various aspects of international law, reflected in articles, speeches, lectures and in her work as a member of the International Court of Justice.
Oxford University Press kindly donated this two volume set to the Peace Palace Library, completing the collection of Higgins’ publications.
The Library hopes that Dame Higgins, having spent so many years in The Hague, the Legal Capital of the World, will continue to be inspired by its excellent possibilities for research in international law.Read more
UN Audiovisual Library of International Law
The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs launched the Audiovisual Library of International Law. The Audiovisual Library aims to provide free, scholarly resources to students and practictioners around the world, particularly in regions where there are few resources for the study of international law.Read more
- Conducting research in public international law. An introduction to the information sources, by George Middelkoop
- General International Law, Electronic Information System for International Law
- Introduction to Public International Law Research, by Vicenç Feliú
- Public International Law
- Researching Public International Law, By Kent McKeever
- Sources for public international law research, by David Gee