The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (access by UniMelb staff and students) provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of all aspects of international law and is a good starting point for your research. The entries are arranged alphabetically by topic under general topics such as the law of treaties. From each entry in the Encyclopedia, the Oxford Law Citator refers to other relevant entries in the Encyclopedia and to relevant decisions of international tribunals in the Oxford Reports on International Law. Subject lines: [Name of individual contract] or Contracts – Collections. In U.S. law, a treaty is an agreement entered into “by and with the Council and with the consent of the Senate” pursuant to Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. To be considered a treaty under U.S. law, the document must go through a second set of steps during which it is approved by the Senate. International agreements are formal agreements or obligations between two or more countries. An agreement between two countries is called “bilateral”, while an agreement between several countries is called “multilateral”. Countries bound by an international agreement are generally referred to as “States Parties”.
LEXIS and WESTLAW have selected contracts on different topics (trade, taxation, environment, etc.). State Department documents, including Dispatch (Washington, DC: U.S.G.P.O., 1990-1999) [K25. S4] or collections of international law, Foreign Relations of the United States (Washington DC: U.S.G.P.O., 1861-) [KF4651. A6, 1861]. Some FRUS volumes are available on the web. These guides are good starting points for finding contracts and agreements. Most contain information on printed and electronic sources. The U.S.
Supreme Court ruled in the Head Money cases that “contracts” do not have a privileged position over laws of Congress and may be repealed or amended for the purposes of U.S. law by any subsequent act of Congress, just like any other ordinary law. The Court also ruled in Reid v. Verdeckt that the provisions of the treaty that conflict with the U.S. Constitution are null and void under U.S. law.  Multilateral Contracts: Index and Current Status (Bowman and Harris, eds., London: Butterworths, 1984) [Reference Desk KJ211. M84] is a good source of citations and information on the status of multilateral treaties. It has a vague topic and keyword index and all entries are organized in chronological order. It is a good source for all multilateral treaties, even if the United States is not a party. There is a cumulative supplement, but it is quite outdated.
Index of Current Treaties (I. Kavass and A. Sprudzs, eds., Buffalo, NY: W.S. Hein Co., 1982-) [Reference Office KZ235. U58]. This loose-leaf index lists current contracts and agreements published as TIAS, as well as contracts without a TIAS number. It complements the U.S. Treaty Index, see above. However, a breach of contract does not automatically suspend or terminate the contractual relationship. It depends on how the other parties perceive the violation and how they decide to respond to it. Sometimes contracts require that the seriousness of a breach be determined by a court or other independent arbitrator.  One of the advantages of such an arbitrator is that it prevents a party from prematurely and possibly unfairly suspending or terminating its own obligations due to a material breach alleged by another party.
Australia`s constitution allows the executive government to conclude treaties, but practice requires treaties to be presented at least 15 days before they are signed in both houses of parliament. Treaties are considered the source of Australian law, but sometimes require the passage of a parliamentary bill, depending on their nature. Contracts are administered and maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which stressed that “the general position in Australian law is that contracts to which Australia has adhered, with the exception of those that end a state of war, are not directly and automatically incorporated into Australian law. Signature and ratification in themselves do not make treaties work at the national level. In the absence of legislation, contracts cannot impose obligations on individuals or create rights under national law. Nevertheless, international law, including contract law, exerts a legitimate and important influence on the development of the common law and can be used in the interpretation of laws.  Treaties can be implemented through executive action, and often existing laws are sufficient to ensure compliance with a treaty. If a contract does not contain any provisions for other agreements or actions, only the text of the contract is legally binding.
In general, an amendment to a treaty is binding only on those States that have ratified it, and agreements reached at review conferences, summits or meetings of States parties are politically binding, but not legally. An example of a treaty that contains provisions for other binding agreements is the Charter of the United Nations. By signing and ratifying the Charter, countries have agreed to be legally bound by the resolutions of United Nations bodies such as the General Assembly and the Security Council. Therefore, UN resolutions are legally binding on UN member states and no signature or ratification is required. A different situation may arise if one party wishes to create an obligation under international law, but the other party does not. This factor has been at work in the north Korean-U.S. talks on security assurances and nuclear weapons proliferation. Global Treaty Index (Open Access) – contains the metadata of nearly 75,000 treaties that entered into force in the twentieth century.
Users can search for many access points, including citations; Title keyword; Name of the party (including countries and organizations); Subject; whether the treaty is bilateral or multilateral; and the date of signature. CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress [and microfiche] (Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service, 1970-) [Index available at Reading Room KF49. C62; Publications available in Micro Room Case G, Drawer 1-]. Treaties in the Senate Treaty Series are indexed by CIS. Access is via the subject of the contract, the title of the contract, as well as the “Treaties and agreements” section and the number of the contractual document (assigned by the Senate). The index quotes the sentence on the cis microfiche, which contains the full text of the contract. See also DOCUMENTS AND EXECUTIVE REPORTS OF THE CIS SENATE [and Microfiche] (Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service, 1987) [Main Library, GovSocSci J62. C57 1987], a collection of microfiche of documents and reports on treaties from the years 1817-1969. There is a two-volume index for access to relevant microfiche numbers. See also Congressional Information (CIS), available from the LEXIS-Nexis Academic Service (UCB only).
Unapproved Treaties of the United States of America, 1776-1976 (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1976-1994) [KF4651. U56 1976]. Six volumes contain treaties and agreements concluded by the United States and, for whatever reason, never entered into force between 1776 and 1976. The text of the Treaty may lay down detailed rules for its entry into force. In general, treaties enter into force when they have been signed and ratified by a number of parties. Parties may ratify a treaty with reservations or other declarations, unless the provisions of the Treaty restrict such acts. A reservation is the attempt by a country to modify certain provisions of the treaty as they apply between it and other countries. A useful tool for finding information about contracts as well as world events is the Keesing Record of World Events (UCB only). Keesing`s is a monthly summary of political, economic and social events with coverage from 1960 to the present day.
Compilations of documents of an international organization can provide information. Treaties are commonly referred to as “agreements”, “conventions”, “protocols” or “agreements” and less often “exchanges of letters”. “Declarations” are often adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Declarations are not treaties because they are not supposed to be binding, but they can be part of a process that ultimately leads to the negotiation of a UN treaty. Declarations can also be used to help interpret contracts. World Treaty Index (P. Rohn ed., Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1983) [Reference Office KJ173. R6, 1983]. Includes bilateral and multilateral treaties from 1900 to 1980. Treaties were an important part of European colonization, and in many parts of the world, Europeans attempted to legitimize their sovereignty by signing treaties with Indigenous peoples.
In most cases, these treaties were extremely detrimental to indigenous peoples, who often did not understand the effects of what they signed. [Citation needed] Multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General (New York: United Nations, 1982- ) [Room KZ4992.7. M85]. It is a good source of quotes and a list of parties to an agreement. Limited to treaties deposited with the UN. This source is also available in the United Nations Treaty Collection on the Internet (Boalt only). For more information on treaties registered with the UN Secretariat, see Declaration of Treaties and International Agreements Established During. (New York: [Legal Department of the Secretariat] [United Nations Room. N.Doc ST/ LEG/ SER. A].
This is also available on the United Nations Treaty Collection website. Other sources of treaty texts are the minutes of international conferences (sometimes the treaty is the “last act” of the conference); documents from international organizations and national government agencies such as the United States Congress (Senate Treaty documents); monographic collections; newspapers (e.B. New York Times); Government Agencies (e.B. United States. . . . .