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UN Bodies

General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal)
Current information on agenda items, summaries of work, and documents.

International Law Commission
Programme of work, activities, conventions, reports and information.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
Modernization and harmonization of international trade law.

Thematic Issues

Codification and Progressive Development of International Law
Links to current activities concerning the codification and progressive development of international law.

Oceans and Law of the Sea
Oceans and Law of the Sea, main issues, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, documents and links.

The practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary and the registration and publication of treaties.

Internal Justice System at the UN
The Office of Administration of Justice coordinates the UN's internal justice system, and includes the Registries of the UN Dispute Tribunal and UN Appeals Tribunal and the Office of Staff Legal Assistance.

United Nations War Crimes Commission Project
This project has released selected documents from UN archives and various other materials related to the UN War Crimes Commission.

International Courts and Tribunals

International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Programme of work, judgments, opinions and other texts.

Secretary-General's Trust Fund.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Overview, documents, news, judgements, cases, etc.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
Overview, documents, news, judgements, cases, etc.

Special Court for Sierra Leone
Overview, documents, news, judgements, cases, etc.

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Overview, documents, news, judgments, cases, etc.

Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Tribunal established to try all those who are allegedly responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 in Beirut that killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.

Legal Resources and Training

United Nations Treaty Collection (UNTC)
Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General and/or registered with the Secretariat.

Audiovisual Library of International Law (AVL)
International law historic archives, video lectures and research library.

Legal Technical Assistance
Information on technical assistance provided to States on legal matters.

Programme of Assistance
Fellowship programmes, regional courses and symposia, as well as dissemination of publications and information relating to international law.

Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts (CLOUT)
System for collecting and disseminating information on court decisions and arbitral awards relating to the Conventions and Model Laws that have emanated from the work of the Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Bibliography of recent writings related to the work of UNCITRAL
Includes comprehensive bibliography compiled by UNCITRAL from 1968 to present, as well as latest updates collected in the time span from the publication of the last Bibliography to date.


The United Nations and external organizations maintain a wide range of databases and resource centers that contain rule of law and/or closely related material in areas such as human rights, refugees, and peacemaking.

Anti-Money Laundering international Database (AMLID), administered by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on behalf of several international organizations, is a compendium of jurisdictions' national anti-money laundering legislation and regulations.

CODICES is a constitutional case-law database created by the Venice Commission. 

Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) provides literature and information on land issues worldwide, such as Islamic land issues, gender and land reform, land information and management, land rights and records, and land tax and valuation. Facilitated by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the GLTN’s main objective is to contribute to poverty alleviation and the Millennium Development Goals through land reform, improved land management and security of tenure.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) produces a number of databases related to rule of law. ILOLEX is a trilingual database containing ILO Conventions and Recommendations, ratification information, comments of the Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association, and numerous related documents. NATLEX is a database of national labour, social security and related human rights legislation. APPLIS contains information on the ratification and application of international labour standards. The National Labour Law Profiles is an overview of the labour law in a number of ILO Member States.

Justice in Perspective is an online resource, developed and maintained by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, and presents an overview of the transitional justice processes that have been and are currently being undertaken by countries in all regions. These include truth commissions, inquiries, traditional mechanisms, reparations programmes, amnesty programmes, prosecutions and litigation, mainly official but also civil society driven.

Maritime Space: Maritime Zones and Maritime Delimitation was created and is maintained by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs. This database provides comprehensive information on (i) the deposits with the Secretary-General of the UN, pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, of charts or the lists of geographical coordinates of points in relation to straight baselines and archipelagic baselines as well as the outer limits of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf; (ii) the discharge of obligations of due publicity to all laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State relating to innocent passage through the territorial sea and all laws and regulations adopted by States bordering straits relating to transit passage through straits used for international navigation, as well as concerning due publicity given by coastal States, in accordance with the Convention, to the temporary suspension of innocent passage of foreign ships in specified areas of the territorial sea; and (iii) the status of State practice. Regarding the latter, the site contains the national legislation of coastal States and treaties dealing with the delimitation of maritime boundaries, as made available to the United Nations. In addition, the site contains other reference material, such as a summary of national claims to maritime jurisdiction.

Peacekeeping Resources Hub of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) contains policy documents, lessons learned and trainings for the peacekeeping community.

Refworld, developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), contains policy documents on refugee issues and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks, as well as special features on topics such as refugee status determination, statelessness, migration, gender equality and women, internally displaced people, resettlement, voluntary repatriation and children.

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project supports the application and implementation of international law in armed conflict through reporting on every concerned State and disputed territory in the world, using its global database.

United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, created and maintained by the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs, is a unique multimedia resource which provides high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level. The Audiovisual Library consists of the Historic Archives, containing documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945; the Lecture Series, featuring a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems; and the Research Library, providing an on-line international law library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides.

United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Resource Center contains a library of documents on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), including the United Nations Integrated DDR Standards.

United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women’s (UN-INSTRAW) database on peace and security contains a Global Directory of Gender, Peace and Security Research Institutions.

UN Peacemaker, developed by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), is an online mediation support tool for international peacemaking professionals and an extensive databank of modern peace agreements. 

UN System Pathfinder provides a bibliography of works on general issues of international law.

United Nations Treaty Collection is a database with information on the status of over 500 major multilateral instruments deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and a collection of treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with and published by the UN Secretariat since 1946, covering a range of subject matter related to rule of law.  

World Intellectual Property Organization is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, designs, etc.) as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity.

WJP Rule of Law Index® is a new quantitative assessment tool designed by the World Justice Project to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law. The Index provides detailed information and original data regarding a variety of dimensions of the rule of law, which enables stakeholders to assess a nation’s adherence to the rule of law in practice, identify a nation’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other countries, and track changes over time. 



Legal History Blog gathers posts by prominent legal historians and provides useful book roundups as well as links to other useful blogs and sites on law and history.

Verfassungsblog. On Matters Constitutional. This blog presents scholarship from a research network, Recht im Kontext, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin). It aims to create connections between law and neighboring disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It often includes entries on human rights.



The WIPO Journal: Analysis and Debate of Intellectual Property Issues. Available here.

United Nations Law Reports (New York: Walker and Co., 1966 -).

United Nations Law Collection (Buffalo, NY: W.S. Hein). This database, started in 2008, provides reproductions of major United Nations legal publications, including treaties, international agreements, and International Court of Justice reports.

United Nations Juridical Yearbook (New York: United Nations, 1962-). Also issued in French and Russian.

Yearbook of the International Law Commission (New York: United Nations, 1949-).

Yearbook, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (New York: United Nations, 1968-2004).



Alter, Karen J. The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Anderson, Carol. “‘The Moral Arc of the Universe Bends Long but It Bends toward Justice’: The Search for Justice in International Law.” Diplomatic History 35, no. 5 (November 2011): 787–791.

Bachmann, Klaus, Thomas Sparrow-Botero, and Peter Lambertz. When Justice Meets Politics Independence and Autonomy of Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2013.

Blanco-Bazán, Agustín. “IMO – Historical Highlights in the Life of a UN Agency.” Journal of the History of International Law 6, no. 2 (July 2004): 259–283.

Bogsch, Arpad. The First Twenty Five Years of the World Intellectual Property Organization from 1967 to 1992. Geneva: International Bureau of Intellectual Property, 1992.

Bosco, David. Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Deplano, Rossana. The Strategic Use of International Law by the United Nations Security Council: An Empirical Study. Heidelberg: Springer, 2015.

Dolinsek, Sonja, and Philippa Hetherington. “Socialist Internationalism and Decolonizing Moralities in the UN Anti-Trafficking Regime, 1947–1954.” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (April 2019): 212–238.

Fassbender, Bardo, and Anne Peters, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Friesel, Ofra. “Fifty Years since the 1967 Annexation of East Jerusalem: Israel, the United States, and the First United Nations Denunciation.” Journal of the History of International Law 20, no. 1 (January 2018): 89–123.

Grewe, W.G. “The Role of International Law in Diplomatic Practice.” Journal of the History of International Law 1, no. 1 (January 1999): 22–37.

Grosescu, Raluca, and Ned Richardson-Little. “Revisiting State Socialist Approaches to International Criminal and Humanitarian Law: An Introduction.” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (April 2019): 161–180.

Halbert, Debora J. “The World Intellectual Property Organization: Past, Present and Future Part II.” Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 2-3 (Winter-Spring 2007): 253–284.

Joyner, Christopher C., ed. The United Nations and International Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Koskenniemi, Martti. The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870–1960. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Mantilla, Giovanni. “The Protagonism of the USSR and Socialist States in the Revision of International Humanitarian Law.” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (April 2019): 181–211.

May, Christopher. The World Intellectual Property Organization: Resurgence and the Development Agenda. Routledge Global Institutions. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2007.

May, Christopher, and Susan K. Sell. Intellectual Property Rights: A Critical History. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2006.

Merry, Sally Engle. Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Milojevich, Jovan. “Justified Grievances? A Quantitative Examination of Case Outcomes at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).” Journal of Balkan & Near Eastern Studies 21, no. 4 (August 2019): 403–26.

Momirov, Aleksandar. “The Individual Right to Petition in Internationalized Territories. From Progressive Thought to an Abandoned Practice.” Journal of the History of International Law 9, no. 2 (July 2007): 203–231.

Morell, James B. The Law of the Sea: An Historical Analysis of the 1982 Treaty and Its Rejection by the United States. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1992.

Pace, John P. “The Development of Human Rights Law in the United Nations, Its Control and Monitoring Machinery.” International Social Science Journal 50, no. 158 (December 1998): 499–511.

Peevers, Charlotte. The Politics of Justifying Force: The Suez Crisis, the Iraq War, and International Law. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Richardson-Little, Ned. “The Drug War in a Land Without Drugs: East Germany and the Socialist Embrace of International Narcotics Law.” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (April 2019): 270–298.

Scott, Shirley V. “The Question of UN Charter Amendment, 1945–1965: Appeasing ‘the Peoples.’” Journal of the History of International Law 9, no. 1 (January 2007): 83–107.

Taylor, Savitri. “Australia’s Diplomatic Asylum Initiative at the United Nations: Comparing International Law Rhetoric with Foreign Policy Practice.” Australian Journal of International Affairs 73, no. 4 (August 2019): 376–396.