ALR Student’s Corner: Law Among Nations – An Introduction to Public International Law for New Researchers


lawamongnations

Law Among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law
Von Glahn, Gerhard and James Taulbee, Law Among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law (Pearson Longman, 8th ed. 2007).

This treatise is located in print in the CSL Library. It can be found in the Treatise section of the library. After finding the call number (KZ3185.v6 2007) by using the online catalog, you follow the call number cards to the International Law shelf and find the book in the middle of the left side of the aisle.

Content

Law Among Nations is a single volume that was published in 2007 (the 10th edition, published in 2012, is currently available at online booksellers). There is a Table of Contents, Index of Cases, Arbitral Awards and Advisory Opinions, and Index. These resources allow researchers to efficiently locate their topic and narrow down their research.  Law Among Nations provides an introduction and overview of major subject areas in international law.  Although not visible in the Table of Contents, the chapters are divided by sub-topic to provide structure and help guide researchers as they read.   Each chapter is followed by a list of  “Suggested Readings” that list academic articles as well as relevant authority.

Using the Treatise as a Secondary Source

To better understand how to use this resource, we will walk through a brief research exercise.  Imagine you are taking a course on international law. For one of your assignments, your professor asks you to examine a major current event in light of international law. You recall reading about the Arab Spring and Syria. You decide to research if the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has committed any war crimes in the on-going conflict.

After deciding to start with a secondary source to get an overview of war crimes, you locate Law Among Nations and check the table of contents for “war crimes” and notice Chapter 21 is titled “International Humanitarian Law: War Crimes.” You turn to the first page of the chapter (p. 628) and begin flipping through the pages.  There is a list of types of war crimes on page 633 that provides a broad research map for you to begin.  You continue skimming the chapter and notice there is a list of acts constituting war crimes on page 642 and decide to follow up with the sources listed.  The end of the chapter provides almost two pages of additional readings on war crimes that cite to academic articles, as well as United Nations Treaties and Protocols governing war crimes.

Conclusion

Law Among Nations is a helpful tool for researchers new to international law. It provides a general overview of major international law areas and sub-topics. The suggested reading lists are extremely helpful to guide the reader to more specific instruments of international law.  While the table of contents would be more helpful if it guided readers to more specific topics, the book is generally well-organized and the language is easy to follow.

 ~ Nadia Aziz, Class of 2013 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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