Steps to Researching Treaties in Foreign Jurisprudence

September 6, 2012

Here are some steps on how to begin your research when you have a treaty in mind, and would like to see how foreign countries have implemented and interpreted the treaty in their own jurisprudence.  In this instance, the topic of interest is the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on juvenile justice. More specifically, we would like to look at post-CRC changes in criminal law and the sentencing of juveniles, as well as court decisions and case law regarding juvenile justice that invoke the CRC.  Our goal in this case is to find a few countries, preferably a sample group of both developed and developing countries with different political backgrounds, to serve as case studies.

The website is a good place to start, as we are able to focus the search specifically on the particular provisions of the CRC that deal with legal rights and criminal justice, and see some jurisprudence from there.  The Universal Human Rights Index Database is another good research tool as it contains reports that show all countries who are members of the CRC and whether or not these countries are in compliance with the treaties. Through this database, we can sample different countries and their relevance to the research topic, then decide which ones to include in our research as case studies.

A search on Morris for this convention yields a number of results that might be useful in your research.  A search on Morris for the following publications: international legal materials, international law reports, and international law in domestic courts, will result in a collection, translation, and republication of domestic decisions regarding the topic at hand.  For instance, a search for "international law reports" on Morris brings us to the site  Using the drop-down menu to the left of the search box, we can select "cases" that will produce a second drop-down menu in which we can select "international law reports" to further narrow our search criteria.  Then a search on "convention on the rights of the child" will provide all the relevant cases.  This search yields 33 results.  

Under "international legal materials" on Morris we can find links to all the relevant electronic resources through which to search for international legal materials: Westlaw Journals, HeinOnline Law Journal Library, HeinOnline Treaties and Agreements Library, and JSTOR.  Combing databases such as these and ORIL (Oxford Reports on International Law) will provide many relevant international resources.  A search on ORIL produces 48 results that expressly mention the CRC and the jurisdictional range.

These various searches produce a wealth of relevant information from which we can begin our research - all of which was done in English consulting only a few publications that collect and reprint some foreign decisions.  Hopefully this gives you some indication of what countries are worth exploring further.


Published In: