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Global Health Law Research Guide

This guide is focused on international and cross-border legal regimes for addressing health law issues.


Advances in public health through medical attention to disease control and the rise of epidemiology and vaccination programs over the past two centuries of scientific work have made possible the eradication of some diseases and the control of many factors in the spread of human disease. Air travel, the ability to respond to natural and political disasters and displacements in the refugee context, and changes in health habits and addictions exported from one culture to another make global efforts possible and urgently necessary. The establishment of global health standards and practices as well as the imperatives of disease control have resulted in a growing role for international law. In addition to identifying the major organizations, treaty texts, and the research process for locating documents and evidence from within the organizations for international health law, all of which are outlined below in this guide, researchers in this developing field will need to understand treaty research, locate general treaty law, and incorporate sources for the law of international organizations.

Transnational law can be defined as rules of conduct that bind actors in activities, relations, and transactions that transcend national borders. Transnational law recognizes the realities of multi-layered governance: local, national, bilateral, regional, and international. For general medical and statistical sources as well as United States law and policy sources, please consult the Georgetown Law Library guide Health Law,

While this guide is focused more narrowly on international and cross-border legal regimes for addressing health law, researchers may wish to consult additional Georgetown Law Library international law guides under the subjects Treaty Research, and IGOs and NGOs,

For updated in-force status and numbers of parties for most of the agreements in this guide, consult the United Nations' Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General in the United Nations Treaty Collection Database.