International Cases

Updated Feb. 9, 2014.
Prepared by Jonathan Franklin; updated by Heather Joy (2014).

Along with treaties, international cases are some of the most important documents in international law. The primary source of international cases is the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a part of the United Nations. Its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, rendered decisions from 1922-45. The current court started in 1945 and is based in The Hague. This guide primarily addresses resources related to the ICJ, with some additional links to other courts.

Note: Lexis and Westlaw are available to individuals with passwords. HeinOnline is a UW restricted database.


International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice website includes full text of cases and pleadings since 1946 and the Court's current docket.

Pleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents, 1948 - 2009.
KZ218.I58 at Classified Stacks

Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders, 1948 - 2007.
KZ213.5853 and KZ213.586 at Classified Stacks
Westlaw (1947 - 2005 with some updates), WestlawNext (1947 - 2005 with some updates), Lexis.com (1948 - current, judgments and advisory opinions), and LexisAdvance (1948 - current, advisory opinions only)

Reports of International Aribtral Awards, 1948 - date.
KZ200.R47 at Classified Stacks & HeinOnline (1920 - 2012)

Yearbook, 1946 - 2005.
KZ6273.I58 at Classified Stacks & HeinOnline (1946 - 2007)

World Court Digest, 1992 - date.
KZ1213.W67 at Classified Stacks & online

Lexis: International Court of Justice Decisions (from 1948 - present)

Digest of the Decisions of the International Court of Justice (Repertoire des decisions de la Cour internationale de justice), vol. 1, 1922 - vol. 7, 1985; vol. 6,. 1959 - 75 (Handbuch der Entscheidungen des Internationalen Gerichtshofs).
KZ64. F66 Ser.A-1 v.6 at Classified Stacks; KZ64. F66 Ser. A-1 v. 7 at Classified Stacks

International Law Reports, 1919 - 2012.
A commercial publication that covers decisions of a variety of courts, including the International Court of justice. See especially the Consolidated Indexes.
KZ199.I58 at Classified Stacks

HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection: International Court of Justice database

HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection: United Nations Commission on International Trade Law database

HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection: International Tribunal for Law of the Sea database, including Digest of International Cases of Law of the Sea, 2007

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General Information

The International Court of Justice: Questions and Answers about the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations.
KZ6275.I555 2000 at Classified Stacks

The World Court: What It Is and How It Works (Rosenne's).
KZ6260.R67 2003 at Classified Stacks

Germain's International Court of Justice Research Guide.

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Other Courts

European Court of Justice, see the Gallagher guide on European Union Research.

European Court of Human Rights, see the Council of Europe section of the Gallagher guide on Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs).

For information about international trade dispute settlements, see Marci Hoffman, Revised Guide to International Trade Law Sources on the Internet (includes links to sites with NAFTA, GATT, and WTO dispute settlements).

For selected reprinted cases from other international courts and tribunals, see the periodical Global Community: Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence. KZ21.G58 at Classified Stacks

For information about foreign domestic constitutional court decisions, see the Bulletin on Constitutional Case-Law, 1993-2012. KJC4444.52.B85 at Classified Stacks

For information about specific national courts, arbitral tribunals, or other regional courts, see:

  • ASIL Electronic Resource Guide (ERG), published by the American Society of International Law and providing a discussions of various practices areas on the international scale, including topics such as arbitration, criminal law, economic law, environmental law, human rights, humanitarian law, intellectual property, international organizations, law of the sea, public and private international law and the United Nations.
  • ASIL - Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL), published by the American Society of International Law and providing web links and other electronic resources supporting the areas of law identified above.
  • United Nations Research Guide: UN Documentation: International Law: Courts and Tribunals provides an excellent description of many relevant resources.
  • World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII), for cases from international courts and tribunals as well as cases, laws, and treaties from 43 jurisdictions, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
  • Gallagher guide on Foreign Law Research.

HeinOnline's Foreign and International Law Resources Database for a variety of sources, for example the Human Rights Case Digest, 1990-2008 (summarizing significant cases before the European Court of Human Rights).

Coverage of International Case Law on Lexis and Westlaw, by Country

  • Lexis: Australia Cases (federal and state/territory courts; dates of coverage vary)
  • Westlaw: Australia Cases (federal and state/territory courts; dates of coverage vary)
  • Lexis: Canada Case Law (federal and provincial courts; dates of coverage vary)
  • Westlaw: Canada Cases and Decisions (federal and provincial courts; dates of coverage vary)
  • Lexis: European Union (Court of Justice of the European Communities and the Court of First Instance, 1954 - Jan. 2016; European Court of Human Rights, 1960 - Feb. 2011)
  • Westlaw: European Union Cases (Court of Justice of the European Communities, 1954 - present; Court of First Instance, 1989 - present; advocate general, 1985 - present)
  • Lexis: Hong Kong Case Law (1947 - present)
  • Westlaw: Hong Kong Cases (1905 - present)
  • Lexis: Ireland (Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeal, and the High Court (selected cases only), 1950 - 2010)
  • Westlaw: Korea Cases (2000 - present)
  • Lexis: Malaysia and Brunei Case Law (Supreme Court, High Court, and Court of Appeals; 1936 - present)
  • Lexis: Mexico (Supreme Court, 1990s - Aug. 2016)
  • Lexis: New Zealand Case Law (Court of Appeal, High Court, House of Lords, Privy Council, and other courts; dates of coverage vary)
  • Lexis: South Africa (Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, June 1991 - present)
  • Lexis: United Kingdom Case Law (Supreme Court, 1558 - present, and from courts in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (dates of coverage vary)
  • Westlaw: United Kingdom Cases (1865 - present with partial coverage back to 1220)

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