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Foreign, Comparative & International Law: Introduction

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“International Law” is often popularly used as a catch-all phrase to embrace a number of legal issue as diverse as the laws of war, the law of the sea, the laws of diplomacy and international relations, the laws governing international trade and business, and, simply, the laws of foreign lands.  A popular legal dictionary defines “International Law” as:


The legal system governing the relationships between nations; more modernly, the law of international relations, embracing not only nations but also such participants as international organizations and individuals (such as those who invoke their human rights or commit war crimes).—Also termed public international law; law of nations; law of nature and nations; jus gentium; jus gentium publicum; jus inter gentes; foreign-relations law; interstate law; law between states (the word state, in the later two phrases, being equivalent to nation or country).


International Law, BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY (10th ed. 2014). Scholarly discussions of international law can help the researcher find context for their international law issue and provide citations to primary sources of international law.  International organizations provide information and resources on international law and issues between nations and international bodies. Among the sources of International Law for researchers to consider are customary international law, domestic and foreign law (i.e., the laws of foreign countries), treaties, international agreements, and case decisions from foreign and international tribunals.


This research guide is designed as a study supplement for Villanova Law School students, and features resources available through the Villanova School of Law’s Law Library.  It is not intended to constitute legal advice.  This guide is by no means comprehensive, but does provide a point of departure for law students and researchers seeking information on international law.  Certain electronic resources noted below are freely available on the Internet.  Other resources are available through the Law Library’s webpage, and may require a password for access.  Consult a Reference Librarian if you need assistance in accessing any of the Library’s electronic databases.


Subject Guide

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Robert Hegadorn
Villanova University School of Law

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Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085