From the Reference Desk: U.S. Acquisition of Pacific Island Territories

By Amy Flick


Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook, which is in the public domain.


“I have a citation that Guam was the first U.S. Pacific island territory, and I’m not sure that that’s correct. What date did it become a U.S. territory?”

At last, a ready reference question! This should be quick!

“What about Hawaii, Samoa, the Aleutians, Santa Catalina and the islands off the California coast? Oh, and I need to find the treaty for the U.S. acquisition of Guam, and for whichever of those acquisitions came first.”

So, not a quick question. I then spent the afternoon wading through the history of nineteenth-century U.S. colonialist adventures.

One issue to resolve here is definitions. Are the Aleutians and Santa Catalina considered Pacific island territories? With “U.S. Pacific island territory” part of the original question, are you including islands that are part of U.S. states? Do you want the acquisition date, or the date that the islands formally became U.S. territories? Beyond raising those questions, I leave it to the professor to decide, and I concentrate on finding dates and documents for acquisition of the islands she mentioned.

Since this was an urgent request, I started with Google hoping to find a list already compiled. I found lists of U.S. territorial acquisitions, with dates, from the Global Policy Forum and from Dr. Kathryn MacKay at Weber State University. These list the acquisition dates for the Mexican Cession (California) as 1848, Alaska 1867, Hawaii 1898, Guam 1898, and American Samoa 1899. The list from Dr. MacKay cited a publication from the U.S. Geological Survey, Franklin K. Van Zandt, Boundaries of the United States and the Several States. Emory’s catalog listed it with a link to the USGS. I went through them in the order listed in the USGS book.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Feb. 2, 1848, 9 Stat. 922, T.S. 207, added California and other western territory to the United States as a purchase after the Mexican-American War. Article V of the treaty sets the boundaries, including “thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean,” with no mention of the islands off the coast. Van Zandt at page 151 notes that California never had the status of an organized territory, but was instead admitted directly into the Union. The California state constitution of 1849, Article 12, asserted jurisdiction of “all the islands, harbors, and bays along and adjacent to the coast,” and an August 31, 1852 appropriations act of Congress at 10 Stat. 91 made an appropriation for subdividing the islands. And Santa Catalina was included in the County of Los Angeles in the Compiled Laws of California for 1850-1853. According to Van Zandt, “[t]he question of sovereignty over these islands has been raised several times, the claim being made that as they were not mentioned in the treaty of 1848, Mexico had not given up its title to them; but it is evident…that it was generally understood after the treaty was signed that the islands were a part of the territory ceded to the United States.” (Van Zandt, p. 152)

Alaska was purchased by treaty from Russia in 1867, in Treaty Concerning the Russian Possessions in North America, art. I, March 30, 1867, 15 Stat. 539, T.S. 301, 11 Bevans 1216, 1217 (1867). However, it wasn’t formally organized as a U.S. territory by act of Congress until August 24, 1912, 37 Stat. 512. Article I of the treaty sets Alaska’s boundaries, including “to the meridian of one hundred and ninety-three degrees west longitude, so as to include in the territory conveyed the whole of the Aleutian islands east of that meridian.”

Hawaii’s annexation was complicated. Characterized as a “voluntary action of its citizens” (Van Zandt at p.33),  the male property owners voting under the 1897 Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, and was not by treaty. The Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii approved a Joint Resolution of annexation to the United States in 1895. Joint Resolution, Laws of the Republic of Hawaii 1892-1898, Special Session 1895, p. 100 (Aug. 13, 1898). Hawaii was annexed by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1898. Joint Resolution: To provide for annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States., Chapter 55, 55th Congress, Session 2, 30 Stat. 750, 751 (July 7, 1898). Hawaii became a U.S. territory by act of April 30, 1900, 31 Stat. 141.

Getting to the subject of the original question, Guam was ceded to the United States by Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, along with the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Treaty of Peace (Treaty of Paris), art. II, Dec. 10, 1898, 30 Stat. 1754, T.S. 343, 11 Bevans 615, 621 (1898).

As with Hawaii, American Samoa’s history is also complicated. According to Van Zandt (p. 36), the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany exercised a “joint protectorate” over Samoa after a naval confrontation over the islands in 1889. Samoa was divided into German and U.S. regions in an 1899 treaty with Germany and the United Kingdom. Adjustment of jurisdiction in Samoa, Dec. 2, 1899, 31 Stat. 1878, T.S. 314, 1 Bevans 276, 277 (1899). As Van Zandt notes at page 36 of the USGS document, “natives of Samoa had no part in this convention.” The Joint Resolution of Congress accepting the cession of the Samoan Islands came in 1929 by Public Resolution 89, Ch. 281, 70th Cong. 2d Sess., 45 Stat. 1253 (Feb. 20, 1929).

Of the islands and territories listed by the professor in her request, Santa Catalina and the islands off the coast of California were acquired by the United States first. Guam was acquired by treaty in 1898. The information from the U.S. Geological Survey document, Franklin K. Van Zandt, Boundaries of the United States and the Several States, made it easy to find the treaties, congressional acts, and state laws on Hein Online to send to the professor. (I’m linking here to the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, and other freely available sources, however.) I also recommended Foreign Relations of the United States for more documents related to the territorial acquisitions and treaties.

Ruminations on Researching Customary International Law

By Jonathan Pratter

customsfutureCustomary international law has been a contested concept for a long time. In 1939, a fateful year, Hans Kelsen remarked that the theory of customary international law “has no other function than to conceal [dissimuler] the important, not to say dominant, role that is played in the formation of customary law by the arbitrariness of the organ competent to apply the law.”  Hans Kelsen, Théorie du Droit International Coutumier, 1 Revue Internationale de la Théorie du Droit [new series] 253, 266 (1939).  (I note by the way that Kelsen, an Austrian, wrote this in French in a Franco-Austrian journal, the title of which was displayed in both French and German.  This brings out how essential multilingualism is in the study and practice of international law and international legal research, a point that has been made before on this blog.)  Critical attention to customary international law has increased recently.  The literature is extensive, but emblematic of the trend is the recent article, Why I Stopped Believing in Customary International Law by Daniel Joyner, 9 Asian Journal of International Law 31 (2019).  A key source is the collection of essays edited by Curtis A. Bradley, Custom’s Future: International Law in a Changing World (Cambridge University Press 2016).

The critique of customary international law has several aspects, but a central component is the observation that the standard model, the two-part definition of state practice and opinio juris, is not applied in practice.  This criticism is aimed in particular at courts, both international and domestic.  In Custom’s Future there is an essay by Stephen J. Choi and Mitu Gulati titled “Customary International Law: How Do Courts Do It?”  This is a rigorous empirical study based on a data set of 175 determinations of customary international law by the International Court of Justice and some other international tribunals.  If you can get through the mind-numbing statistical discussion, there is a lot to learn.  Early in the essay there is a sub-section titled “Superhuman Research Skills.”  The context is a discussion of the question whether there is a customary norm permitting a state to reject odious debts.  The authors, who worked on this question, have this to say: “Not only was the type of evidence being requested unlikely to exist … but it was impossible to collect, as a practical matter, unless one somehow assembled an extraordinary team of anthropologists, economists, historians, political scientists and lawyers who would then be able to spend decades excavating the historical record.”  The authors should have added international law librarians to the list of needed professions.

A key finding of the study is that the piece of evidence most frequently cited for the existence of a rule of customary international law is the treaty.  But referring to treaties for this purpose is famously problematic.  After all, the raison d’être for an international agreement might well be the sense of a gap in the law.  The authors conclude that “[t]he data suggest that international courts do not come anywhere close to engaging in the type of analysis the officially stated two-part rule for the evolution of CIL sets up.”  A similar result was reached by Stefan Talmon in his article, Determining Customary International Law: The ICJ’s Methodology between Induction, Deduction and Assertion, 26 European Journal of International Law 417 (2015).  Concerning similar results for the domestic courts of the United States, see Ryan M. Scoville, Finding Customary International Law, 101 Iowa Law Review 1893 (2016).

It has to be conceded that the critique of customary international law is found in the academic international law literature.  This is not a criticism of the critique, but an observation.  In 2018 the International Law Commission of the United Nations adopted its Draft Conclusions on Identification of Customary International Law, with Commentaries.  The Draft Conclusions can be found in the Commission’s report, A/73/10, and as an offprint on the Commission’s website.  It has to be said that the Draft Conclusions stick resolutely to the standard model, with little recognition even in the commentaries of the concerns that have been raised.

Where does this leave international law librarians who are called on to advise on researching customary international law, and to teach the method?  Clearly, there is a dilemma.  I think it is still possible to start with the standard, two-element model, as classically stated in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice.  But more is clearly necessary.  I think we have to raise the critique and its main components.  Researchers and students need to be aware that researching customary international is beset with issues that a simple invocation of the standard model does not capture.  The research guide International Legal Research in a Global Community by Heidi Frostestad Kuehl and Megan A. O’Brien (Carolina Academic Press 2018) integrates several elements of the critique into the discussion of researching customary international law without mentioning the critique explicitly.

What promise does the digital dispensation hold here?  Is there, or will there soon be, a giant database of state practice of the 195 states of the world to be mined by an AI-driven robot for evidence of a customary norm of international law?  I am comforted that the answer to the question is no.

Join the FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee for Our First Webinar and In-Person Event!


The FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee is excited to announce its first two events!

Working with Non-English Materials for the English Speaker Webinar on June 6, 11 am-12 pm US/Central

On June 6, 11 am-12 pm US/Central, please join us for a webinar on Working with Non-English Materials for the English Speaker. Register for the webinar now at!

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, most of us will inevitably need to research laws from non-English speaking countries, whether we are helping a firm close an international business deal or a professor perform comparative research. In this webinar, a panel of experienced foreign, comparative, and international law librarians who have worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Canada, and the Caribbean will provide practical guidance on finding English translations of non-English laws, gathering enough understanding about a non-English document to identify whether it is relevant to your research, and finding help if you’re truly stuck.

Participants will come away with a bibliography of reliable translation materials and the ability to select the dictionaries, translation services, and finding aids suited to a specific task, whether the goal is to catalog a document, provide document retrieval, or answer a complex research question.

The webinar will feature Erin Gow (Online Services Librarian, University of Louisville Law Library), Yemisi Dina (Acting Chief Law Librarian, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), and Alex Zhang (Assistant Dean for Legal Information Services and Professor of Practice, Washington and Lee School of Law).

What’s New with UN Resources at Fordham Law School on June 27th, 6:30-7:30 pm

If you’re in the New York area on June 27th, we also welcome you to join FCIL-SIS and LLAGNY from 6:30-7:30 pm at Fordham Law School Room 2-01A for a free lecture on What’s New with UN Resources. Register for the New York lecture now at!

Susan Goard, Law Librarian and Training Coordinator at the UN’s Dag Hammarskjold Library, will present on how to locate the different types of documents produced by the main UN organs using the UN Digital Library and other tools, websites, and publications. She will provide updates on new research guides and tools from the UN Library, including the transition from UNBISnet to the UN Digital Library.

Ideas and Volunteers Welcome

The Committee welcomes both volunteers and ideas for future events! If you have any ideas for future FCIL-SIS Continuing Education events or if you’d like to volunteer to join the committee or teach a continuing education event, please reach out to the FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee chair, Caitlin Hunter, at or complete a short survey at

ASIL 2019 Recap: Litigating Climate Change: New Legal Challenges

Climate_change_icon.pngBy Mariana Newman

At 9:00am on Friday, March 29, 2019, Judith Levine, Senior Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, moderated a panel discussion which addressed, in her words, the role for lawyers to address climate change when political leaders do not. Joining Levine were Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Kristin Casper, Senior Legal Counsel for Strategic Litigation at Greenpeace International; and Paula Henin, a senior associate at Freshfields in New York working in the international arbitration group. In her opening remarks, Levine said that litigation in this area is an opportunity for lawyers to demonstrate “courage, creativity, and innovation.”

Gerrard highlighted a number of areas of litigation. Around 1300 climate lawsuits have been filed around the world, with the United States leading the way in the number of suits, followed by Australia and the United Kingdom.

In the United States, the largest number of cases filed have been under the National Environmental Policy Act, claiming an insufficient consideration of climate change in environmental impact reports.

Gerrard mentioned that public nuisance doctrine cases have reemerged under state common law, since the Supreme Court had held in American Electric Power v. Connecticut that the Clean Air Act displaced any federal common law claims.  There have also been securities fraud lawsuits, mostly against Exxon.

Gerrard discussed an ongoing case brought under public trust doctrine and substantive due process theories, Juliana v. United States. In that case, young people sued the United States government arguing that it has an obligation to protect the atmosphere and seeking an order that would force the government to aggressively cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Currently the 9th Circuit interlocutory appeal is being briefed.

He then turned to cases from outside the United States, including Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands. In that case, a Dutch environmental group and 800 Dutch citizens sued their government, arguing that it was not doing enough to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The trial court ruled that the government had violated their duty of care under Dutch law to take climate change mitigation measures. The appellate court affirmed the judgment for the plaintiffs under different grounds: that the government had an obligation under Articles II and IX of the European Convention on Human Rights to do more to fight climate change. This case is now being appealed to the highest court in the Netherlands.  Gerrard also discussed cases in Pakistan and Peru.

Next, Kristin Casper from Greenpeace International took to the podium. She described climate change as a “human rights crisis” and highlighted three of Greenpeace’s cases where local communities are using legal tools to “seek climate justice.”

In Norway, Greenpeace Nordic partnered with a Norwegian organization that sued the government, arguing that the issuance of oil and gas leases in Arctic waters was in contradiction with Norway’s international commitments and a breach of constitutional protections for future generations, the right to a healthy environment, and other human rights standards. The lower court found that the right to a healthy environment was, as Casper called it, a “claimable right with teeth,” but it did not find that the right was violated in this particular factual scenario. The case has been appealed.

In Switzerland, Greenpeace Switzerland supported a group of over 1000 senior citizen women who brought a case arguing that the government’s inadequate climate change policies contributed to heatwaves, putting their lives and health at risk. The decision in the lower court was not favorable, but the case is now on appeal.

In the Philippines, a group of Typhoon Haiyan survivors joined by Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines and other organizations filed a legal petition with the Commission on Human Rights, seeking to hold major carbon-producing companies accountable for climate impacts that result in human rights harms. There have been 12 hearings, 26 community witnesses, and 52 experts who have given evidence, all of which can be viewed online.  The Commission has the ability to issue a report with recommendations and to continue to monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines with respect to climate change.

Finally, it was Paula Henin’s turn to share her insights.  First, she discussed mechanisms for interstate disputes arising out of substantive obligations of the Paris Agreement.

Article 14 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is incorporated by reference in Article 24 of the Paris Agreement. Article 14-1 allows parties to settle disputes through negotiation and the peaceful means of their own choice, which could include arbitration or mediation. Article 14-2 states that contracting parties may consent by a separate written instrument to the compulsory submission of disputes to the International Court of Justice and/or to arbitration in accordance with procedures to be provided in an arbitration annex to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties “as soon as possible.” However, no arbitration annex has yet been adopted.

Henin also described the possibility for the UN General Assembly to refer legal questions to the International Court of Justice for advisory opinions. There has been discussion of using that mechanism for climate change issues.

Next Henin turned to disputes involving private actors. Most investor-state disputes go to arbitration under treaties or under investment contracts. In the arena of treaty-based arbitration, Henin said that there have been over 40 claims brought against Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic after those states backpedaled on incentive schemes put in place to promote renewable energy levels. She said that some recent arbitral decisions have opened the door for a new mechanism in investor-state arbitration: environmental counterclaims against investors brought by states. Investment contracts may incorporate specific emission reduction obligations or arbitration clauses may be included in contractual commitments that arise directly out of Kyoto Protocol mechanisms like carbon emission trading or climate finance.

To conclude the panel, Casper exhorted the attendees to devote their intelligence and resources to working to make progress on climate change.

Teaching FCIL as a Non-FCIL Librarian: Go-To Resources

By Janet Kearney & Michelle Penn

SlawFCILCareersWordle1This is the second in a set of posts from Michelle and Janet on FCIL for non-FCIL librarians; the previous post highlighted some go-to databases, and our next post will take a look at collection development. Michelle and Janet are both from Fordham Law Library, where Michelle is Faculty Services Librarian and Janet recently made the leap from Reference Librarian to FCIL Law Librarian. Thanks for having us!

When we first proposed this idea for a blog post, we did not realize just how often DipLawMatic Dialogues discusses tips for new teachers and FCIL teaching. Our challenge was to make this a useful post that doesn’t simply repeat the great advice of our colleagues who have come before us. We decided to once again focus on “go-to” resources in the hope that this will serve as a useful guide no matter what FCIL teaching situation finds you.

How might you find yourself teaching FCIL? In addition to the fact that we all do things outside our wheelhouse, teaching FCIL research can be a great way to help keep your FCIL research skills current even when you are not a FCIL librarian. Proposing a FCIL course can encourage you to brush up on your FCIL skills and help prepare you to move to a FCIL position in the future, if that’s something you want. For the less experienced non-FCIL librarian, teaching a FCIL class in a general advanced legal class, or offering research instruction for a doctrinal class, such as International Criminal Law or International Business Law, can be great ways to gain teaching experience and subject matter familiarity, without committing to teach an entire course on the subject. Offering research help for FCIL student journals, is another good way to explore different areas of FCIL research.

Although there are so many great resources out there on teaching, like 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Teaching Legal Research, here a few geared specifically towards FCIL.

Teaching Tip: Above all else, ask for help when you need it.

Do not hesitate to ask for help from other librarians! Even though our job is to provide assistance, it can still be difficult to turn around and be the one asking for help instead. Many of your colleagues probably have varying degrees of FCIL research experience and may be willing to share their course materials and insights on teaching FCIL. This includes your immediate colleagues, but the wider world of the FCIL-SIS is incredibly helpful as well.

Where can I ask for help?

The FCIL-SIS website,, has information on existing classes and contact information for people willing to answer questions. You can send out an email on a listserv, like the FCIL-SIS My Communities forum or the Int-Law listserv. You could also leave us a lovely comment on this post!

Where can I find course documents, like syllabi or assignments?

The FCIL-SIS website also contains a Syllabi and Course Materials Database, This resource is very helpful and mentioned in almost every teaching FCIL post on DipLawMatic Dialogues. Check out this entry, Teaching FCIL Research Series: Fun with FCIL Assignments,

What are the best texts to help me prep/assign for reading?

The general consensus seems to be:

  • Marci B. Hoffman & Robert C. Berring, Jr., International Legal Research in a Nutshell (2d ed. 2017).
  • Marci Hoffman & Mary Rumsey, International and Foreign Legal Research: A Coursebook (2d ed. 2012).
  • Heidi Frostestad Kuehl & Megan A. O’Brien, International Legal Research in a Global Community (2018).

For more on textual selection see this AALL panel review and this post on selecting books.

How can I find more helpful DipLawMatic Dialogues posts on this subject?

This blog allows you to find posts by subject using both tags and categories using the right-hand side menu. Check the posts tagged teaching here,, and the category of teaching here, Last May, Alyson Drake compiled a great list, Teaching FCIL Research: Revisiting 15 DipLawMatic Posts on Teaching,


Introducing…Erin Gow as the May 2019 FCIL Member of the Month

erin gow1. Where did you grow up?

Richmond, Kentucky.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

Did I select it?? I certainly didn’t mean to – it just sort of … happened.

The final requirement for my library degree at the University of Brighton (they no longer offer this course) was a dissertation based on a research project at a host library. Middle Temple Library,  a law library in London, was looking for someone to research their users’ training needs, and since I had a background in education I thought this sounded interesting. I ended up learning A LOT about legal research, and enjoying it more than I expected to. Just before graduation a related law library, Gray’s Inn Library, had an opening in their graduate trainee program, which was designed for library graduates without any legal experience. I applied and was hired, and once again I ended up learning A LOT about British law and legal systems, and really enjoying the experience. When they invited me to stay on for a second year, I was delighted, and then when a job opened up back at Middle Temple Library, where I had done my dissertation research, I immediately knew I wanted to apply. I became a law librarian because of a string of opportunities, some first class training and support from amazing law librarians, and the fact that I ended up enjoying the work a lot more than I ever expected to!

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

Gray’s Inn Library had a specialist collection of international law, but as an American working in British libraries all the law was foreign to me! It was really becoming the European Librarian at Middle Temple Library that made me realize how much I enjoyed FCIL work specifically though. I loved learning about the intricacies of the EU and the challenge of finding foreign legal materials from across Europe.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?

I have worked at the University of Louisville Law Library for nearly 3 years (in March!).

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Not really. I took several years of Spanish in high school and at college, and started to work on developing a reading knowledge of French and German while working at Middle Temple, but I simply don’t use any of this enough to have retained very much.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Probably just the reality of being the European Librarian at Middle Temple Library for a little while. It’s an incredibly cool library and I really respect the librarians and library users at all the Inns of Court, so it felt like an achievement just to be hired there. In retrospect I also realize how much the job as a whole pushed me to develop a whole range of new professional skills and confidence, in a way that I didn’t even recognize as I was just getting up and doing the work to the best of my ability each day.

On the other hand, presenting at the British and Irish Association of Law Libraries annual conference in 2014 felt like a significant professional achievement at the time. It was fun to be aware of actually doing something significant (for me at any rate!), but also kind of intimidating.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Macaroni and cheese. I’ll eat it as a side dish or a main, homemade or from a box, fresh or frozen.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Honestly, I ‘m not really a dancer or a singer – see below.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

I have always wanted to be able to play some sort of musical instrument or sing well. Unfortunately, I lack any sense of rhythm and can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

Orange juice – it’s my coffee.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I’m the current chair of the European Law Interest Group and would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved with the group or share an idea for a project!

GlobaLex April 2019 Issue Now Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

The April 2019 issue of GlobaLex is live featuring four important updates: Colombia, Iran, Lebanon, and International Tax Law. Webmasters and content managers updated your pages. Congratulations and thank you to all of our wonderful authors!

UPDATE: An Introduction to Colombian Governmental Institutions and Primary Legal Sources by Hernando Otero at

Hernando Otero is an international arbitration and mediation attorney with experience as counsel of record and as an international arbitrator in proceedings pursuant to multilateral and bilateral trade and investment treaties (FTAs and BITs) and commercial agreements. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of arbitration and mediation at the Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. and a mediator with the District of Columbia Superior Court. He has served as an arbitrator before the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and has been appointed as an international arbitrator by the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Court of Arbitration. He has appeared as counsel in proceedings under the ICSID Convention, the ICSID Additional Facility and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. He is on the London Court International Arbitration (LCIA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) lists of neutrals, and on the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre’s (HKIAC) Panel of Arbitrators. He is also on the Bogota Chamber of Commerce Arbitration and Conciliation Center’s (CACCCB) closed list of international arbitrators for proceedings seated in Colombia and on its high-amount closed list for local arbitration proceedings. He is licensed to practice law in the state of New York, the District of Columbia, and in Colombia.

UPDATE: The Legal System and Research of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Farah Khan at

Farah Khan, BA.LLB.MSC (Criminology) is an Advocate of the High Courts in Pakistan, associate at M/s M. Ilyas Khan & Associates, a law firm in Pakistan known for the practice in Criminal Law.

UPDATE: The Lebanese Legal System and Research in Brief by Lara Eid Jreissati at

Lara Eid Jreissati obtained a law degree from Lebanese University in 2006. In 2009, she received a Masters degree in Euro-Mediterranean cultures and policies from Italy’s International Telematic University. She speaks English, French, and Arabic. She completed legal consultancies for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague in 2010 and 2013. She is an active member of the STL Follow up Commission work at the Beirut bar association. She frequently consults with NGO’s on international law issues with a specialty in refugee and migrant worker matters. She is an active member of the Beirut Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

UPDATE: Researching International Tax Law by Christopher C. Dykes at

Chris Dykes is currently the Head of Public Services at the University of Houston Law Center’s O’Quinn Law Library. He received his Juris-Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law and LL.M. in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science and M.S. in Information Sciences from The University of Tennessee.

News from Africa regarding two updates: Botswana and Cameroon — by Charles Manga Fombad, Professor of Law, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa

“Until the Botswana elections in October, it is hard to determine exactly in which directions things are moving. For now, there is too much confusion because of a big fight between the former president, Ian Khama, and his successor Masisi. The former president had wanted to govern from the back seat because he is a traditional ruler over territory, which covers just over half of the parliamentary constituencies, he is capable of wreaking havoc. Regarding Cameroon, the situation is too unsettled as well. The two Anglophone regions are in full rebellion and the government, instead of negotiating, has opted for a military solution. The surreptitious attempts to eliminate all Anglophone particularities, especially the replacement of the common law system in these two regions with the civil law system is the genesis of this havoc. As long as these issues are not sorted out, it will be difficult to write anything that will make much sense and be accurate update on Cameroon.”


For more articles, visit