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Public International Law Research

A guide that highlights resources and recommended strategies for conducting research on international law topics.

Research Guide Overview

Public International Law Research Guide

Map design by Mason Vank

"World Flag Map" by Mason Vank. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International via Wikimedia Commons -

Public international law can be generally defined as "the law of nations." It encapsulates a variety of different legal subjects, including diplomatic relations, treaties, international organizations, and customary international law. It largely governs and structures the interactions between nation states and international organizations. In certain instances, public international law can also govern the legal interactions between nation states and individual citizens. It should not be confused with private international law, which is concerned with the conflicts between national laws and determining which national law to apply to specific situations.

This guide provides an overview of the major topics in international law and highlights important resources and research strategies that can be used when researching in this area of the law. This Research Guide is organized into the following sections, each with multiple subsections:


International Organizations

International Courts & Tribunals

Related Research Guides

The UNC Law Library also provides more in-depth treatment of the following international law topics: