International tribunals decide disputes arising under international law. Tribunal research requires analytical thinking about a tribunal's mission and methods as well as reading its decisions.
This guide provides basic information about the various international courts listed. Please be aware that some of the tribunals are now defunct. Sources for the tribunal decisions are provided in both print and online format.
The 19th edition of The Bluebook prefers the print compilations to the online versions. However, citation formats are not provided for all of the tribunals.
Find a decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The ICJ website provides all the Cases that the Court has decided, including Contentious Cases and Advisory Proceedings, listed in reverse chronological order. Also, from the complete list of Judgments, Advisory opinions and Orders, the user can select the year (back to 1947) from a drop-down menu to isolate the cases decided in that year.
Locate a decision of another international court
Ease of access varies by court, but consulting the cases or jurisprudence section of the website for that court (noted in this guide) is often the best approach. E.g., the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Westlaw Next or Lexis Advance may be helpful (as noted in the discussion on the ICJ in this guide). And many cases from international tribunals are published in International Legal Materials (ILM) and International Law Reports (I.L.R.). See below.
Locate an international arbitration ruling
There are multiple good sources for locating arbitration rulings, but none of them is comprehensive. Among the best are Kluwer Arbitration; Westlaw Next (browse to International Materials, then International Arbitration Materials); the ICSID Cases (World Bank) site; and other sites and databases noted in our International Arbitration research guide. Many others are linked from our International Arbitration Research Guide. If other attempts have been unsuccessful in locating the full text of an award, Google searching by party name or case number can be effective.
Find a decision identified with an "I.L.M." or an "I.L.R." citation
An "I.L.M." citation refers to International Legal Materials, a publication of the American Society of International Law, that makes international legal documents available; some of those documents are court and tribunal decisions. ILM is available in print and online through several databases. While "I.L.R." can refer to various publications (including Irish or Indian court decisions), in this context it is probably a citation to the International Law Reports, a publication which compiles important court and tribunal rulings that discern and apply international legal principles. The library has the first 156 volumes of I.L.R. in print; more recent cases are available online through Cambridge Law Reports.