Public International Law



Public International Law is perhaps best described as an authoritative language, used by States, international organizations, individuals and other participants in the international legal order to interact with each other. International law is a value-oriented jurisprudence used by policymakers and other members of the international community (governments, diplomats, international judges and arbitrators, elements of the “UN family,” etc.) to make difficult choices based on shared values. The traditional definition of international law has broadened in scope to include additional topics or branches of international law. For detailed research guidance on individual topics of public international law, see other research guides on special topics Air (and space) law, Cultural heritage, Environment, Food, Health, Labour, Law of the Sea, Sport, Territory and Water.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Public International Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's systematic classification index subject 'Public International Law' and subject heading (keyword) Public International Law are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.


Reference works


Leading articles


Periodicals, serial publications


New titles

1. L'Académie de La Haye dans l'actualité du droit international
L'Académie de La Haye dans l'actualité du droit international / Yves Daudet. - Paris : Éditions A. Pedone. - Page 233-242 In: "Cependant j'ai besoin d'écrire ...", Lautrémont : Liber amicorum en l'honneur de Serge Sur / ouverture, Thierry Hubert ; présentation, Julian Fernandez et Nicolas Haupais ; postface, Charles Vallée, ISBN 9782233007315: (2014), Page 233-242. - 2014
Keywords: The Hague Academy of International Law, International law,

Librarian's choice

  • Kaczorowska-Ireland, A., Public International Law, London : New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.

    Kaczorowska-IrelandAPublic International Law

    The book covers all the major areas of public international law, and takes account of new developments relating to the codification of international law by the International Law Commission, State practice, and decisions of international courts and tribunals, in particular those of the International Court of Justice.

    Features new to this edition:

    • A new dedicated chapter on the law of the sea
    • Diagrammatic aides-mémoire at the end of each chapter
    • Expanded coverage of the US approach to international law via its courts and executive.

    This book is an ideal learning tool for students of law or political science and provides a clear and straight-forward overview for anyone with an interest in the subject.

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  • Ziegler, A.R., Introduction au Droit International Public, Berne, Stämpfli Editions, 2015.


    Cet ouvrage donne un aperçu des sources et des acteurs du droit international public moderne en prenant tout particulièrement en compte la pratique des Cours et des juridictions suisses. Aussi bien les aspects classiques des rapports interétatiques que les domaines les plus importants de la coopération internationale (Protection internationale des droits de l’homme, Droit international humanitaire, Droit international de l’environnement, Droit international économique) et l’activité des Organisations internationales y sont traités.

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  • de Oliveira Mazzuoli, V., Curso de Direito Internacional Público, 9.a Edição Revista, Atualizada e Ampliada, São Paulo: Thomson Reuters, Revista dos Tribunais, 2015.


    Escrito por um dos mais respeitados internacionalistas brasileiros, este livro é o mais completo e atualizado Curso de Direito Internacional Público editado no Brasil; Didático e preciso no emprego da linguagem, tem sido adotado como livro-texto nas melhores Faculdades de Direito e Relações Internacionais do país, sendo ainda frequentemente utilizado nos países de língua portuguesa (sobretudo em Portugal); Destaque-se, também, as referências constantes que o Curso tem merecido na jurisprudência do STF e STJ, especialmente em matéria de tratados, direitos humanos, nacionalidade, extradição etc.

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  • Beham, M., M. Fink, R. Janik, Völkerrecht verstehen: Lehrbuch, Wien, Facultas, 2015.


    Das vorliegende Lehrbuch bietet eine konzise und zugleich innovative Darstellung des Völkerrechts. Die Aufbereitung des Stoffs aufgrund von Erfahrungen aus der Lehre und mit praktischen Beispielen soll dem Leser das Verständnis auch hochkomplexer Bereiche erleichtern. Ein Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf den konkreten Fragen, die sich im Zusammenspiel von Völkerrecht und der österreichischen Rechtsordnung stellen. Analogien und Verweise zum innerstaatlichen Recht ermöglichen dabei einen leichteren Zugang zum Verständnis des Völkerrechts. Der Abdruck von Fallpassagen sowie zentraler Rechtsbestimmungen in deutscher Sprache bietet eine rasche Orientierung hinsichtlich der relevanten Materialien. Weiterführende Fragen am Ende jeden Kapitels erlauben eine zielorientierte Prüfungsvorbereitung. Index und Kapitelverweise sollen zugleich die Verwendung als Nachschlagewerk und Einführung in die verschiedenen völkerrechtlichen Teilgebiete ermöglichen.

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  • Harris, D., S.Sivakumaran, Cases and Materials on International Law, 8th edition, London, Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters, 2015.


    Students of Public International Law require access to an overwhelming variety of materials which are not always easy to obtain. Cases and Materials on International Law draws together in one volume an exhaustive selection of cases, materials and background information on the subject, which is supplemented by authoritative commentary and expert analysis.


    Widely recognised as the leading text of its kind, the eighth edition of Cases and Materials on International Law incorporates all major developments in the subject, including:

    • International Court of Justice judgments on the jurisdictional immunity of states (Germany v Italy) and on the obligation to prosecute or extradite in cases of torture (Belgium v Senegal), as well as the Court’s advisory opinion on the legality of the declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo
    • New judgments of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on maritime dispute.
    • The International Law Commission’s Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties
    • The use of force in Crimea, Libya and Coté D’Ivoire
    • Developments in the UN human rights system
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  • Lung-chu, C., An Introduction to Contemporary International Law: A Policy-Oriented Perspective, 3rd ed., New York, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    498 A 13

    An Introduction to Contemporary International Law: A Policy-Oriented Perspective introduces the reader to all major aspects of contemporary international law. It applies the highly acclaimed approach developed by the New Haven School of International Law, viewing international law as an ongoing process of decision-making through which the members of the world community identify, clarify, and secure their common interests. Unlike conventional works in international law, this work is organized and structured in terms of the process of decision making in the international arena, and references both classic historical examples and contemporary events to illustrate international legal processes and principles. Using contemporary examples, this Third Edition builds on previous editions by contextualizing and dramatizing these changes with reference to seven features that characterize the New Haven School approach to international law: participants, perspectives, arenas of decision, bases of power, strategies, outcomes, and effects. This new edition highlights the major developments in international law since 2000, including the right to self-determination, the expanding scope of international concern and the duty of states to protect human rights, the trend towards greater accountability for states and individual decision-makers under international law, and the vital role individual responsibility plays in the emerging field of international criminal law.

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  • Bibliotheek van het Vredespaleis viert 200 jaar Nederlandse Grondwet

    On Saturday 29 March, the Netherlands will celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the 1814 Constitution. During the so-called Grondwetfestival (Constitution Festival) government buildings normally off limits to the public, like the Catshuis and Trêveszaal, will open especially for this occasion. The Peace Palace Library will also participate in this event with an interactive tour – in Dutch – explaining the relationship between the Dutch Constitution and international law. [Further information in Dutch]

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  • The Hague Academy of International Law: Celebrating 90 Years of Academic Excellence

    On July 24, 1923, ten years after the opening of the Peace Palace, the Hague Academy of International Law was solemnly inaugurated in the Peace Palace ‘to teach subjects which are most important from the point of view of theory, practice, legislation and international jurisprudence, in particular from deliberations of conferences and arbitral awards’ (Art. 3 of its statute adopted in 1914).

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  • Immunities in Public and Private International Law - 9th Session of the Seminar for Advanced Studies, 13-19 January 2013

    Each year the Hague Academy of International law, one of the most renowned academic institutions in Europe, holds a seminar devoted to various aspects of public and private international law. The theme of this year’s seminar will be: ”Les immunités en droit international public et privé” (Immunities in public and private international law). This Programme of Advanced Studies will take place from 13 to 19 January 2013 at the Academy building in The Hague.

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  • When Röling Waves Advanced Towards the Shores of International Law

    Invitation to lecture about the influence of Röling’s work on international law practice and scholarship by Prof. Nico Schrijver, organized by the Peace Palace Library. The lecture takes place on Wednesday 22 June, 2011, at 17.30-19.30 (lecture starts at 18.00). The location is the Historic Reading Room of the Peace Palace Library. Entrance is free.

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  • The Influence of NGOs on International Law

    From a traditional point of view, International Public Law has been understood as a set of rules produced by states in order to regulate relations between them. Since the end of the Cold War, the role of NGOs in international law is growing in importance and their activities are reaching the remotest parts of the world. In this blog, I will briefly discuss how NGOs have transformed international law as well as how they continue to contribute to the development of international law.

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  • In memoriam: Sir Ian Brownlie CBE QC (1932-2010)

    Sir Ian Brownlie, the second from the right on the photo, taken at the International Court of Justice when he was arguing the Nicaragua-Honduras case for Nicaragua. The great British international lawyer, Sir Ian Brownlie, died on January 3th 2010, in a car­-accident while on holiday with his family in Egypt. His name is a […]

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  • First Lady of International Law

    Tuesday last week the First Lady of International Law, Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice bade farewell to her colleagues at the Court in The Hague, after serving nearly fourteen years as judge and as its President.
    This event coincided with the presentation of her latest book “Themes and Theories. Selected speeches and writings in International Law” (OUP 2009). An impressive collection of her thoughts over the last forty years. Ten chapters on various aspects of international law, reflected in articles, speeches, lectures and in her work as a member of the International Court of Justice.
    Oxford University Press kindly donated this two volume set to the Peace Palace Library, completing the collection of Higgins’ publications.

    The Library hopes that Dame Higgins, having spent so many years in The Hague, the Legal Capital of the World, will continue to be inspired by its excellent possibilities for research in international law.

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  • UN Audiovisual Library of International Law

    The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs launched the Audiovisual Library of International Law. The Audiovisual Library aims to provide free, scholarly resources to students and practictioners around the world, particularly in regions where there are few resources for the study of international law.

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See also

More Research guides on Public International Law

PPL keywords

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