World Treaties

Sources and finding guides for treaties to which the U.S. may not be a party.

Westlaw and Lexis

lexis.com  includes a large database of treaties to which the United States is a party. To access it from the Directory Page, click on Area of Law by Topic > International Law > Find Treaties & International Agreements. To access via the "Find a Source" feature, use the short name INTLAW;USTRTY.

To access treaty databases on Westlaw, select the Federal Materials tab on the home page, then select Federal Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Department of State.

Both Lexis and Westlaw contain the full text of International Legal Materials, from 1962 on. The database identifier is INTLAW;ILM on lexis.com. International Legal Materials, a periodical published by the American Society of International Law, contains reliable text for seleted treaties, often before it is publicly available elsewhere.

Westlaw and Lexis.com also contain treaties on specific topics such as Taxation, Intellectual Property, and Environmental Law. To locate topical treaty databases, search for the word "treaty" in the "Find A Source" feature on lexis.com.

Both lexis.com and Westlaw include treaties among materials from individual countries, particularly English speaking, common law countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. To access this material on Westlaw, select International Materials on the All Comtent tab at the Westlaw home page, then select the jurisdiction you are researching.

Treaty Databases

The Hein Online United Nations Law Collection contains treaties in the United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.) and the League of Nations Treaty Series (L.N.T.S.). Both are searchable by name, parties, topic, date, and by citation, among other fields. The Hein UN Collection also includes a list of international agreements by popular name, U.N.T.S. indexes, some recent editions of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General, some recent issues of the UN's monthly Statement of Treaties and International Agreements, some historical (18th and 19th Century) treaty collections, and many UN documents and publications which are not treaty-related.

The online United Nations Treaty Collection from the United Nations itself includes the United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.) and the League of Nations Treaty Series (L.N.T.S.) in .html and .pdf format. Both treaty series are searchable by a variety of fields, but not by citation alone. An online version of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General is available under the heading "Status of Treaties (MTDSG)." Issues of the UN's Monthly Statement of Treaties and International Agreements available online at the United Nations Treaty Collection website, in the MS database, date back to mid-1998.

The Hein Online Treaties and Agreements Library contains a wealth of U.S. treaty material in .pdf format. For details, see the Mabie Research Guide on U.S. Treaties and Intenational Agreements. 

Treaty Collections on the Internet

A variety of treaty collections are available on the Internet.  As with other online sources, it is necessary to evaluate the currency and authority of online treaty text and commentary.

The Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL), from the American Society of International Law, is a topically arranged and searchable database of international law information, including treaties. EISIL links to reliable treaty text online when it is available and provides citations to authoritative print text.

The World Legal Information Institute and its member organizations provide treaties by country, international organization, and subject, and a great deal of additional information online.

Many international organizations include treaty text and status information on their websites:

In addition to the United Nations Treaty Collection website, see the section on Human Rights Bodies at the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for the text of major human rights treaties, ratifications and reservations information, reports and related documentation.

World Trade Organization Agreements are available at the WTO website.

WIPO-Administered Agreements are available at the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The International Labour Organization lists online the Conventions for which it is responsible.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law lists its Conventions on its website.

The text of the North American Free Trade Agreement is available from the NAFTA Secretariat website. It is also included in the Lexis and Westlaw U.S. treaty databases.
 
European Union Treaties are available on Europa.
 
Free topical treaty collections online include:

Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) is a website for environmental treaties.

The University of Minnesota's Human Rights Library is a good online source of human rights treaties, cases, and other documentation. A relatively new portion of the Treaties section is a country-by-country listing of which countries have ratified which international human rights conventions.

The  Avalon Project at Yale, which is a good source of 18th and 19th Century treaties.

The FLARE index to Treaties from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London is a searchable database of more than 1,500 multilateral treaties from 1856 on, with links to online text when availablle.

The Multilaterals Project at Tufts' Fletcher School is no longer being updated, but lists several categories of treaties and links to other treaty sources by topic.


It is often challenging to find bilateral treaties when the United States is not one of the treaty parties. However, many government websites will now include at least some treaty text, in that government's official language(s):

The Canadian government provides bilateral, multilateral and "plurilateral" treaty text and information online, in English and French.

UK Treaties Online (UKTO) links to the text of treaties from 1892 - 2014, but will no longer be updated. A new treaties page is being developed.

The Organization of American States provides the text of trade agreements between and among OAS members.

NGOs and Universities are also sources of treaty text:

An Australian Treaties Library is available from the World Legal Information Institute.

The Harvard Law Library has onine guides to Finding a Treaty When You Have a Citation and Finding a Treaty Without a Citation. The guide for those with citations lists many common treaty sources.  

The Hong Kong Treaty Project from the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law provides the text of Hong Kong's multilateral and bilateral treaties.

Heafey Law Library Research Team