The most comprehensive full-text sources for bilateral treaties are national treaty collections and official gazettes, both of which are limited in scope to a single jurisdiction. For major English-speaking jurisdictions, such as Australia, Canada, and the U.K., these resources are often accessible online. For non-English-speaking jurisdictions, these resources are less likely to be accessible online and may only be available in print.
National Treaty Collections
Many countries maintain comprehensive collections of bilateral and multilateral treaties to which they are (or have been) a party. Originally published in print, national treaty collections are increasingly accessible online.
- National Treaty Collections Online.
Listed below are links to some of the best collections of national treaties available online. Note that content and dates of coverage vary by jurisdiction.
- Gateways to Additional National Treaty Collections Online.
Links to additional, country-specific online treaty collections can be found using the following resources:
- U.N. Audiovisual Library of International Law
Click on the "Research Library" tab. Then click on "Treaties." In the middle of the Treaties page, click on the tab labeled "Collections Maintained by States."
- World Legal Information Institute
This free resource also provides links to online treaty collections for select jurisdictions.
- HeinOnline's World Treaty Library
This HeinOnline database has digitized copies of historical national treaty collections dating from the 19th century and the early to mid 20th century for selected jurisdictions, including the U.K. and France.
- National Treaty Collections in Print.
Although it is dated, the U.N.'s List of Treaty Collections (REF KZ171 .U5 1981r) can still be used to identify the names of national treaty collections in print, which may be the only point of access for older treaties that are not available online. A few of these collections for select jurisdictions are available in print or microform at the Georgetown Law Library. To determine which treaty collections the library has in print, use the Advanced Search and select Library Catalog. Sample searches:
- Search by Title: [name of treaty collection]
- Search by Keyword: [name of jurisdiction] "treaty series"
- Search by Subject: [name of jurisdiction] -- foreign relations -- treaties
"Official gazette" is a generic term for a government publication in which newly enacted legislation, regulations, and other sources of primary law are published in chronological order. In most jurisdictions, new laws and regulations do not take effect until they are published in the official gazette. The closest parallel in the U.S. is the Federal Register, where administrative agencies are required to publish notices of proposed and final regulations.
Many, but not all, official gazettes also publish the full texts of treaties, usually at the time they enter into force. To retrieve a treaty text from an official gazette, it is helpful to have a date or date range as a starting point. Bear in mind that official gazettes are only published in the language(s) of the jurisdiction and are not translated into English. To identify and access the official gazette for a particular jurisdiction, consult the following resources:
- Foreign Law Guide
This subscription database covers 190 jurisdictions. Select the desired jurisdiction from the Country List. Then scroll down to "Primary Sources" and click on the link labeled "Official Gazette." In addition to the name of the official gazette, you will find a description of the content published therein, and a link to the online version, if one is available.
- Guide to Law Online -- Nations of the World (Library of Congress)
This Library of Congress website is also a reliable source of information about official gazettes. After selecting the desired jurisdiction from the alphabetical list, scroll down to the heading "Legislation" to find the name of the official gazette and a link to the online version, if one is available.
- Law Library of Congress
For official gazettes that are only available in print, the Law Library of Congress is the best (and often the only) access point. Before visiting in person, search for the title of the gazette in the library's online catalog to confirm that it is available. Or call the Law Library of Congress at 202-707-5079.
- A Guide to Official Gazettes and Their Contents. REF ZZ164.G7 G84 1985
Although it is dated, this guide can still be used to identify the name of an official gazette, to determine whether or not it publishes treaty texts, and to determine in which part of the gazette treaty texts appear. Be sure to verify that the information you find here is still current by consulting one of the online resources described above.