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Public International Law: Citing Treaties

This guide highlights key resources for international law research.

Citation Tips

Treaties are cited according to Rule 21.4 of the Bluebook:  A uniform system of citation.  Two highly effective shortcuts to citing treaties are provided here along with basic templates you can use to put your treaties in good citation form.

There are literally thousands of international agreements concluded at the bilateral or multilateral level.  You may not find a clean rule from the Bluebook that governs proper citation form.  In this case, try to advance the principles of citation used for all sources: provide enough information so that a reader can easily track down a copy of the resource.  Along these lines, be consistent with the type of information required by the Bluebook in Rule 21.

Tip 1:  Law Librarian Mary Rumsey has Bluebooked over 80 treaties in her libguide Frequently-Cited Treaties & Other International Instruments.  Check her web guide for guidance.

Tip 2: Run a keyword search using the title of your international agreement in a full text law journal database.  Law journals have teams of students ensuring citations are in proper Bluebook form.  Review several entries in journals that specifically focus on international legal topics, compare them to the requirements of Rule 21 trying to retain some consistency with the published works.  Since the Bluebook is published Harvard, Stamford, Penn State, and Columbia, using the journals from those schools would, undoubtedly, be a good idea.

Abbreviation Dictionaries

These resources translate abbreviations of publications to their full title so you can search for them online.

Template For Citing Treaties to Which the U.S. Is A Party


Date

Source

Rule 21.4

Official Sources



1950 – present

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements

[vol] U.S.T. [page]

1945 – present

Treaties and Other International Acts Series

T.I.A.S. No. x

1981 – present

Senate Treaty Documents

S. Treaty Doc. No. x

1778-1980

Senate Executive Documents

S. Exec. Doc. x

1778 - 1949

Statutes At Large

[vol] Stat. [page]

1778 – 1945

Treaty Series

T.S. No. x

Unofficial Sources



1984 – present

Hein’s United States Treaty and Other International Agreements

Hein’s No. KAV x

1962 to present

International Legal Materials

[vol] I.L.M. [page]

1776 to 1949

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America (Bevans)

[vol] Bevans [page]


Template for Citing Multilateral Treaties

Date

Source

Rule 21.4

Official Sources



1946 – present

United Nations Treaty Series

[vol] U.N.T.S. [page]

1920-1945

League of Nations Treaty Series

[vol] L.N.T.S. [page]

1948 – present

European Treaty Series

Europ. T.S. No. x

Unofficial Sources



1962 to present

International Legal Materials

[vol] I.L.M. [page]

1984 – present

Hein’s United States Treaties and Other International Agreements

Hein’s No. KAV x

1648-1919


 

Consolidated Treaty Series (Parry’s)

[vol] Consol. T.S. [page]

1843-1943


 

Nouveau recueil general des traits

[vol] Martens Nouveau Recueil (ser. X) [page]

1776-1949

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United states of America (Bevans)

[Vol] Bevans x