From the Reference Desk: Cyber Operations and International Law

By Jonathan Pratter

A student had a question: If State A doxes State B for hacking State C, what would be the result under international law?  The student was in the law school class, International Law of Cyber Conflict.  My immediate response was, “That is a good question. Let me get back to you.”  Every reference librarian needs a fall-back response like this.  We can’t know everything immediately.  The question was substantive, but since the student was asking a librarian, I understood that she wanted to know what resources there are that would help answer the question.

Code in green and white on a computer screen

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on

The first step was to orient myself to the question: What is doxing?  There is a pretty good Wikipedia entry on doxing.  This raises another question: Can you trust Wikipedia?  As it happens, there is a Wikipedia entry on this point.  It says explicitly, “Wikipedia is not a reliable source.  Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time.  This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.”  Nevertheless, I am prepared to use Wikipedia based on a critical factor of reliability: internal evidence.  If the entry is well-drafted, contains references, and has other indicia of reliability, then I am prepared to use it, at least for the purpose of orienting myself to a question. is a language site, a good one for definitions.  A collaboration between and Oxford University Press, it includes both a US English dictionary and a UK English dictionary, as well as a Spanish-English dictionary and grammars for both English and Spanish. defines doxing as the publication of private or identifying information on the internet about a particular individual, typically with malicious intent.  I would take a broader approach and define doxing as the malicious publication on the internet of sensitive information about an individual, an organization, or (why not?) about a state.

The law review literature has a small number of articles about doxing.  A good example is Julia M. McAllister, The Doxing Dilemma: Seeking a Remedy for the Malicious Publication of Personal Information, 85 Fordham L. Rev 2451 (2017).  You won’t find any articles on doxing done by or about states.  We law reference librarians know that you have to go into the law-related literature, especially when the subject is international.  International law and international relations overlap so much that it could be tantamount to negligence to fail to search in the latter when dealing with an issue of the former.  An extended search produces an article published on SSRN and in the Harvard National Security Journal, Doxfare: Politically Motivated Leaks and the Future of the Norm on Non-Intervention in the Era of Weaponized Information by Ido Kilovaty.  Note that the author is affiliated with US law schools, but the article appeared in the international law-related literature.  This is as close as I could get to a source on doxing by states.

The broader context here is cyber operations in general and international law.  States use computers and computer networks to act in the international sphere.  Does international law govern in cyberspace?  The generally accepted answer is yes.  The field is pretty new and international law has to adapt to operate in it.  General public international law applies to state conduct in cyberspace and some of the issues are fundamental.  Sovereignty, jurisdiction, state responsibility and attribution are examples.

Students in a course like International Law of Cyber Conflict may not realize that the foundations of public international law are critically relevant.  Where do you send them for a grounding in international law?  The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law is a great source for this.  Confusingly, Oxford University Press has chosen to integrate the encyclopedia with another one, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law.  In this connection, the question arises, what is the best one-volume textbook of public international law?  There are several one-volume introductions to the field.  My strong preference lies with James Crawford’s Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, 9th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2019).  It is authoritative, current and full of references to the primary sources and further reading.

Two secondary sources that have to be mentioned are the 2020 monograph Cyber Operations and International Law by François Delerue (Cambridge University Press) and the Talinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (Cambridge University Press, 2017).  The upshot of the question about doxing by states is Tarlton Law Library’s new research guide on cyber operations and international law.

GlobaLex May/June 2020 Issue is Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

GlobaLex May/June 2020 Issue features eight articles; six updates: Trading Systems in the Asian-Pacific Region, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Qatar, and Somaliland; and two new articles: Guyana and an introduction to Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Webmasters and content managers, please update your pages. We thank all our wonderful authors, new and established, for their excellent contributions!


UPDATE: Researching the Trading Systems in the Asian-Pacific Region – APEC, ASEAN, TPP, CPTPP, RCEP and their Members by Evelyn Ma at

Evelyn Ma is Reference Librarian in Foreign and International law and Lecturer in Legal Research at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.


Guyana Law and Legal Research by Errol A. Adams at

Errol A. Adams received his primary and secondary education in Guyana. He has a B.A. in Judicial Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice – a senior college of The City University of New York; a J.D. from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and a M.L.S. from St. John’s University. He is the Reference and Scholarly Services Librarian at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.


UPDATE: The Jamaican Legal System and Legal Research by Jeanne Slowe and Claudette Solomon at

Jeanne Slowe , MSLIS (Pratt), LL.B (Lond), B.A. (UWI) is presently Law Librarian at the University of the Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas. She has worked as Assistant Librarian at the Norman Manley Law School, Mona Campus, Kingston Jamaica; Law Librarian at the Faculty of Law, Mona Campus, Jamaica; Law Librarian at the Eugene Dupuch Law School, Nassau, the Bahamas. Her areas of interest include information literacy, legal research methods and law librarianship. She is a member of the Library and information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA); The Caribbean Association of Law Libraries (CARALL) and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

Claudette Solomon is a law librarian who has a law degree and graduate training in librarianship with emphasis on law librarianship. She went to live in the United Kingdom in 1979 and came home in 2010 to Jamaica where she now resides. She has worked as a law librarian with law firms in Jamaica and the United Kingdom. She has also independently taught students, practitioners and academics how to use law libraries and how to do effective legal research using print and ICT media here and in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public, academic and special libraries (legal and accounting ones) in Jamaica and the United Kingdom. She was formerly employed as a consultant law librarian in the Mona Faculty of Law Library, University of the West Indies, Mona. Claudette currently teaches a Legal Research Course to graduate students in the Department of Library Studies on the University of the West Indies Mona, Jamaica Campus and she is a Senior Adjunct Tutor in the Mona Law a Member of the Caribbean Association of Law Librarians: CARALL, of The Jamaican Association of Law Librarians: LINAJ an offshoot of CARALL, of The Jamaica Library Association: LIAJA.


UPDATE: The Legal System and Legal Research in Luxembourg by Laurence Raphael and Nicolas Henckes at

After starting her career as a legal adviser at the Publications Office of the European Union in Luxembourg, Laurence Raphael joined Legitech as the Legal Manager in 2006 until becoming its C.E.O in 2013. She is now Head of Legal Affairs at the Luxembourg Trade Confederation (Confédération luxembourgeoise du commerce), an employers’ organization. Laurence holds a graduate degree (D.E.A.) in Public and International law. Special thanks to Nicolas Henckes, former C.E.O. at Legitech, now Director of the Luxembourg Trade Confederation for his collaboration on the previous version of this article.

After starting his career as an M&A attorney with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Paris, Nicolas Henckes returned to Luxembourg where he became the Personal assistant to the Governor of the Luxembourg Central Bank. From 2005 on, he managed the Association momentanée Imprimerie Centrale regarding the public market of the Luxembourg Official Journal (Mémorial). On this basis, he created Legitech in early 2006 for the same shareholders. Starting in 2013, he became the Secretary General of the Union des Entreprises Luxembourgeoises – UEL (National Employers’ Organization). Nicolas graduated from HEC Paris, before obtaining a graduate degree (D.E.S.S.) in Business Law from the University Paris XI Law School. He also obtained the CEMS MIM awarded by the European leading business schools. Special thanks to Félix Mgbekonye, lawyer at Legitech for his collaboration on the first version of this article.


UPDATE: Legal Research in Nicaragua by Rodrigo Tabada Rodríguez and Ana Carolina Alvarez Gil at

Rodrigo Taboada Rodríguez is a Nicaraguan Lawyer who holds a law degree from the Universidad Católica de Chile. He also obtained an LL.M. degree from New York University (NYU). Currently he is a partner at Consortium Legal in Managua, Nicaragua .

Ana Carolina Alvarez is a Nicaraguan lawyer who holds a law degree from the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA). She obtained an L.L.M from INIDEM Business Law School in 2017 She currently works as a corporate and finance attorney at Consortium Legal in Managua, Nicaragua.


An Introduction to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by Shaher Awawdeh at

Shaher Awawdeh holds a Ph.D. in Middle East politics from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. He is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Deputy Permanent Observer to the United Nations since 2014. Prior to assuming his post in New York, he served as the Head of Palestine Department at the OIC’s Headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he handled the file of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 2001. He is a member of Board of Directors of the Institute for Middle East Studies-Canada, which he co-founded in 2011. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Know Thy Heritage.


UPDATE: Qatar’s Legal System Governance and Business by Dr. Ahmed Aly Khedr at

Dr. Khedr is a faculty member and Adviser of Corporate Affairs. He holds LLB, BA of Police Science, LLM in International Commerce and PhD Highest Class with honor in Commercial Law major in Corporate Law and Corporate Governance from Ain Shams University. He holds Professional Education in Business Management, Corporate Restructuring, Mergers & and Acquisitions from Harvard University, professional (TOT) in Corporate Governance from (IFC) World Bank Group. In addition, he has many professional Courses and certifications relevant to Mediation, Compliance, AML/CFT, Development & Management, Computer and Information Security and Management of safety. Dr. Khedr has more 15 years’ experience in as practitioner, Lecturer and Adviser of Law and Corporate Affairs. He has published research and books on these topics in periodicals and scientific journals. He has provided consulting in Corporate Affairs to many firms, several multinational and local companies in MENA and USA. Ahmed has an experience in the MENA especially Egypt and the Gulf countries. The ABCCG (Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry) chose him for designing the first “Corporate Governance Program for Lawyers & Corporate Advisory” in UAE and Arab Region.


UPDATE: Researching the Somaliland Legal System by Prof. Mohamoud Hussein Farah at

Prof. Mohamoud Hussein Farah is a senior attorney, a member of Somaliland Lawyers Association, and has been the Dean at the College of Law and Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Hargeisa, Somalia, where he has been lecturing in Environmental Law and Natural Resource, Labour Law, Introduction to Law and Legal Systems, Maritime Law and Conflict of Laws since 2004. Prof. Farah served as the Vice Chairperson of Law Reform Commission (2009-2017) with long experience of work in the field of legal and law review and reforms through legal education and research of justice system. He has actively promoted human rights advocacy, has been engaged in judiciary institutions reform, and has been associated with other Universities including for example Mekelle School of Law in Ethiopia, Pretoria University, University of Cape Town in South Africa, and Djibouti University. He graduated from International University of Africa, Khartoum and holds an LL.B Degree in Law, PGD in Law and Economics from Sudan Academic Universities, LLM and M.A. in Security, Peace and Governance from University for Peace, an UN mandated institution. Prof. Farah with the assistance from Professor Gaskins is the founder of Somaliland Legal Clinic at the University of Hargeisa.


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From the Reference Desk: Jurisdiction over Space Crimes

By Amy Flick

A long time ago, in a law school far, far away, before the pandemic lockdown, I was meeting with students in person. I miss those days. Anyway, a student asked me for help with her seminar paper. She wanted to write about jurisdiction over crimes in space, specifically on a hypothetical future Mars colony. She assumed that jurisdiction would be based on the law of the sea.

She wasn’t wrong, but the international community has addressed jurisdiction over spacecraft, if not specifically space colonies. I started with my favorite starting point for international law questions, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. The article on Jurisdiction of States notes that the principle of jurisdiction of the State of registry for ships has been extended to spacecraft, citing Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty[1]. The article on Outer Space provided more information on the treaty, but we found the article on Outer Space, Liability for Damage even more helpful. Although the article did not address criminal liability or jurisdiction, focusing mostly on damage by space debris, it cited Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty as well: “A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body.”

We went to the full-text of the treaty from there. The Oxford Law Citator with the Max Planck Encyclopedia provided a link to the treaty on the United Nations Treaty Collection site, but with the UNTS citation (610 UNTS 205), we also looked at the treaty on Hein Online in the United Nations Law Collection to start her secondary source research. Hein Online showed 2040 law review articles citing the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, but a search within results for articles with “criminal” and “jurisdiction” in the title narrowed that to more manageable seven law review articles, including articles on establishing criminal jurisdiction on outer space colonies and on the International Space Station.

The handful of articles on point meant that the student might need to distinguish her topic, but they did provide numerous footnote citations for her to work with. They cited the 1998 Intergovernmental Agreement on Space Station Cooperation[2] and the Code of Conduct for the International Space Station Crew[3], and they pointed us to UNOOSA – the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. UNOOSA’s website offers the text of the five UN treaties on outer space with status and travaux préparatoires, UN resolutions related to space activities, and a collection of national space laws and regulations. There is even buried on the site a 2013 PowerPoint presentation on the legal framework for the International Space Station with information on the ISS agreements, including criminal jurisdiction under Article 22 of the Intergovernmental Agreement.

So, it appears that state registry or ownership determines jurisdiction for most spacecraft, but a multinational venture like the International Space Station, as a model for a Mars colony, requires an agreement by the state parties to settle issues like criminal jurisdiction.

From that beginning, I recommended a few other secondary sources for background and further research. As a standard work on international law to cite on the principles of jurisdiction, I suggested Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law,[4] available in our Oxford Scholarly Authorities database. There were also several titles in the library’s catalog that looked promising. The International Space Station: Commercial Utilisation from a European Legal Perspective[5] addresses criminal liability, and the Encyclopedia of Space Science Research[6] includes a section on criminal jurisdiction. The library’s collections also included more general works on space law, including Space Law: A Treatise, A Fresh View on the Outer Space Treaty, and for a quicker read, The Little Book of Space Law.

Wrapping up our meeting, the student left with treaties, agreements, and other documents to use for jurisdictional issues in her future Mars colony, and sources for discussing criminal jurisdiction more generally. And I learned a little about space law.


[1] Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (United Nations [UN]) 610 UNTS 205, Art.VIII.

[2] Agreement among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America concerning cooperation on the Civil International Space Station, TIAS 12927.

[3] Code of Conduct for the International Space Station Crew, 14 CFR §1214.403 (2006).

[4] James Crawford, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, pt. VII (9th ed.2019).

[5] The International Space Station: Commercial Utilisation from a European Legal Perspective (F.G. von der dunk and M.M.T.A. Brus, eds., 2006)

[6] Encyclopedia of Space Science Research (Raul Lajara and Javier Baron, eds., 2012)

From the Reference Desk: Researching a Saudi Arabian Royal Decree

By Sue Silverman

saudiarabiaIt is Week 5 (or 6? or 100?) of my quarantine here in NYC, during which I’ve had to learn to balance work demands with the demands of my 22-month old.  As I train my mind to toggle between Wheels on the Bus and legal research, I can’t help but reminisce about simpler times when I could answer research questions without listening to Elmo’s Song on repeat. Not that I’m complaining – I cannot think of a more fortunate position to be in during this crisis.

But for a moment, I would like to revisit those simpler times and a research question regarding a royal decree by King Salman of Saudi Arabia which posed the perfect opportunity to introduce the student to free resources for foreign legal research. The student who approached me with this question was a research assistant to a professor and she was asked to find primary source material supporting a royal decree discussed in an article she had found giving women the right to drive.

On September 26, 2017, King Salman announced in a royal decree read on live television that women would be allowed to drive, to take effect in June 2018. When the student approached me, she had numerous articles mentioning the decree, but she needed a cite to the actual law or regulation granting women the right to drive or a legal cite to the decree itself if it was by itself the law.

Neither of us knew what legal weight the decree carried – was it automatically considered law? Were additional processes, procedures, or approvals required before it became the law of the land? We also had little knowledge of how exactly the Saudi Arabian legal system and government are structured – whether it is pure Islamic law or a mix of Islamic and civil or customary law, or something else –so I started by gaining some background information at JuriGlobe and GlobaLex.  The student appreciated learning about JuriGlobe as she was unfamiliar with the differences between civil, common, customary, and Muslim legal systems. Its classification of legal systems and succinct explanations of each system, along with a color-coded map showing which classification each country fell under is a helpful starting point to a novice in foreign legal research. After JurigGlobe, we moved on to GlobaLex and looked up Saudi Arabia under foreign legal research. There, we found a link to a helpful chart that outlines the legislative process in Saudi Arabia.

Once we had a basic understanding of the legal system and legislative process in Saudi Arabia, we were better equipped to search for primary source material. We learned from GlobaLex that royal decrees are a direct source of legislation – the King is empowered to enact, repeal, and amend laws by Royal Order – and are published in Saudi Arabia’s official gazette. Furthermore, the decree may delegate authority to a specified administrative body to enact rules to carry out the statute. Thus, we needed to find where in the official gazette King Salman’s decree was published as well as publications by the administrative body authorized to enact rules pursuant to the decree (if any). GlobaLex links to the official gazette; however, the site is in Arabic, which neither of us could read. Even if the student could find a way to translate the official gazette, we still needed to find the specific page and/or volume where the decree was published. We needed a cite, which none of the news articles the student found provided.

I decided to take a step back and search another secondary source – the Law Library of Congress, Guide to Law Online. On the main page, I did a very basic search using the terms Saudi Arabia, women, and driving. This search immediately retrieved an article “Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Allows Women to be Issued Driving Licenses.”[1] The article gave a full cite to the decree – Royal Decree M/85 on Traffic (issued on 26 Shawwal 1428 Hijri, corresponding to Nov. 7, 2007) – and its title, “Royal Order to Adopt the Provisions of the Traffic Law and Its Executive Regulation, Including the Issuance of Driving Licenses for Males and Females Alike.”  The article further explained that the Ministry of the Interior was assigned the task of overseeing its implementation and provided a cite (Royal Order to Adopt Provisions of Traffic Law, 4691 UM AL-QURA (7 Muharram 1439 Hijri, corresponding to Sept. 26, 2017)) as well as a link to  the decree’s publication in the Official Gazette.  The Ministry of the Interior’s website posted an English translation of the decree, which the article also linked to. The student was thrilled to find this article and perhaps even more excited to learn about the wealth of information available through the Law Library of Congress, a free online resource. I was amazed (and relieved) at my luck in finding this article!

It proved far more difficult to find any official publication or citation to rules issued by the Ministry of the Interior pursuant to the decree. We tried searching the Ministry’s website in English, and several Arab news sources, such as those cited in the Law Library of Congress article, but to no avail. With more time, I would have probably searched for a research guide or reached out to someone with experience in researching Saudi Arabian law, but the student was satisfied with what we found, so we ended our research there.

Students often do not know about resources outside of Lexis, Westlaw, and Google. This reference question provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the usefulness of free resources such as GlobaLex and the Law Library of Congress. The student had no idea where to begin in learning about the Saudi Arabian legislative process and where to look for citations to primary source material for the royal decree, but she left the reference desk with valuable tools to equip her for starting off on any foreign legal research project.

[1] George Sadek, Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Allows Women to be Issued Driving Licences, Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Monitor (Oct. 3, 2017),

GlobaLex March/April 2020 Issue is Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

GlobaLex March/April 2020 Issue features nine great updates: Denmark, El Salvador, Kenya, Oman, Poland, Slovakia, Thailand, Uganda, and the Vatican City. Webmasters and content managers, please update your pages. We thank all our wonderful authors, new and established, for their continuous contributions!


UPDATE: Researching Law in Denmark by Rasmus H. Wandall & Ditlev Veit at

Rasmus H. Wandall is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Lund. He holds degrees in legal studies from the University of Copenhagen (bachelor’s, 1997; master’s, 2000; Ph.D., 2004). He has been a Visiting Fellow at UC Berkeley (2001 and 2005), a Global Fellow at New York University School of Law (2004-2005) and a Visiting Academic at Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology (2005-2006). He researches and publishes on comparative criminal procedure law and penology.

Ditlev Veit is the head law librarian at the Director of Public Prosecutions in Denmark. He oversees the organization’s library and information services and also works on the development of new knowledge management systems for the prosecution service.


UPDATE: Guide to Legal Research in El Salvador by Oscar Samour at

Oscar Samour is a Partner at Consortium Legal in El Salvador where he focuses on banking and finance matters and M&A. He obtained an LL.B. from Universidad Centroamericana Jose Simeon Cañas (UCA) in El Salvador and an LL.M. in International Arbitration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California as a Fulbright scholar.


UPDATE: Researching Kenyan Law by Tom Ojienda, Bryan Ojienda and Gregory Otieno at

Professor Tom Ojienda holds a Doctorate degree (LLD) from the University of South Africa, an LLM from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Nairobi. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Law from Kenya School of Law and a Diplome de langue from Alliance Francais de Paris. He taught Property Law, Proprietary Rights and Transactions, Professional Ethics, Gender and the Law of the Sea at Moi University for over 9 years, served as a Commissioner in the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission established after the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya, and Chair of the Land Acquisition Compensation Tribunal in Kenya.

Bryan Ojienda holds an LLM in multi-disciplinary human rights from the University of Pretoria, a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and a post graduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law. He is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the Law Society of Kenya. Brian has taught trial advocacy and administrative law at the law school in Nazarene University. He has also previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme. Brian takes a keen interest in subjects related to the studies of constitutional law and human rights.

Gregory Otieno is part of the legal research team at Professor Tom Ojienda & Associates. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Strathmore University. He is also at an advanced level of Certified Public Accountant studies. Gregory has a bias towards research and practice in corporate and commercial law including the areas of capital markets, corporate mergers and acquisitions, private equity and real estate and construction.


UPDATE: The Legal System and Research in the Sultanate of Oman by Thomas Wigley at

Thomas Wigley is a partner at Trowers & Hamlins and has over 15 years of experience in the energy and infrastructure sector predominantly built up in the Middle East as well as with experience of working in the UK and Far East. Tom is the Resident Managing Partner of the Oman office and heads up the firms’ ranked Energy & Infrastructure practice which undertakes work across the Middle East. He works on power generation and transmission, water and infrastructure development projects along with oil and gas.


UPDATE: An Overview of Polish Law by Filip Pazderski at

Filip Pazderski is the Senior Policy Analyst and Head of the Civil Society and Democracy Program of the Institute of Public Affairs in Poland (a non-partisan think-tank established in 1995), where he works on issues concerning civil society, civic education, public participation and democratic institutions He is an author of numerous research papers, expert opinions and reports on these subjects. He has MA degree in law and MA degree in sociology from the University of Warsaw. He has completed European Master’s Degree Program in Human Rights and Democratization (E.MA) in Venice, Italy. Currently he is finishing his doctoral thesis at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He is a co-author of the long-term policy on volunteering development in Poland prepared by the Polish Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Since 2016 he has been responsible for preparation of USAID’s CSOs Sustainability Index report for Poland.


UPDATE: Overview of Slovak Political and Legal System and Legal Research by Juraj Gyárfáš at

Juraj Gyárfáš is a partner in the Bratislava office of Dentons. He earned Master in Law from the Law School of the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2007, obtained his LL.M. degree in Law & Economics in Hamburg, Germany, and Haifa, Israel, his Doctor of Laws from the Law School of the Trnava University in Trnava, Slovakia, and his Ph.D. from the Law School of the P.J. Šafárik University in Košice. He specializes in litigation, arbitration, competition and regulatory law. He publishes on various topics of Slovak and EU law and he teaches at the Law School of the Comenius University in Bratislava.


UPDATE: A Summary of the Thailand Law and Legal System by Joe Leeds and Chaninat Leeds at

This summary of Thailand law was prepared by Joe Leeds and Chaninat Leeds. Joe Leeds is a managing partner of Chaninat & Leeds, a Thailand Law firm comprised of American and Thailand lawyers. Mr. Leeds has been working as a legal consultant and managing partner in Thailand since 1995 and is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Federal District for the State of Hawaii. Chaninat Leeds is an Assistant Professor of Law at Sukhothai Thammathirat University in Thailand.


UPDATE: Uganda’s Legal System and Legal Sector by Lydia Matte at

Lydia Matte is a Ugandan lawyer and a Chief Executive Officer at LandwellAdvocates. She holds a Master of Laws degree (International commercial law) from the University of Birmingham (U.K).


UPDATE: Researching the Law of the Vatican City State by Angelo Coccìa at

Angelo Coccìa is an Italian lawyer, cassationist and rotal. He graduated in Law from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” with Thesis in Ecclesiastical Law. Graduated in Canon Law from the Pontifical LateranUniversity. He also holds a diploma as a Rotale Lawyer at the Rotale Studies of the Chancellery Palace in Rome. Member of the Archsodalizio of the Roman Curia, and adviser of the Coetus Advocatorum Association, he is registered in the Register of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, at the Register of Lawyers and Prosecutors of the Tribunals of the Vicarage of Rome, at the tribunals of the Vatican City, all courts in which he permanently works.


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Researching International Women’s Rights in the Time of COVID-19

By Alyssa Thurston

Various international and regional instruments address sex-based discrimination or guarantee women rights related to personal liberty and security, equality, family life, health, religion, property, education, employment, political participation, and more. Already fragile or not prioritized in a number of places, many of these rights have become even more jeopardized due to the substantial worldwide social, political, and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent media reports have highlighted, for example, the “shadow pandemic” of higher rates of domestic violence resulting from required sheltering-in-place; impacts on access to sexual and reproductive health services; and increased financial inequality between men and women due to unprecedented rates of job loss or reductions, particularly in industries that tend to have higher percentages of female workers. On April 9, the United Nations published a policy brief, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Women”, underscoring these and other concerns in discussing how “the pandemic is deepening existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in term amplifying the impacts of the pandemic”. Consequently, “even the limited gains made in the past decades” on gender equality “are at risk of being rolled back”.

Against this backdrop, this blog post highlights selected resources for researching international women’s rights. It will emphasize online resources given the current imposition of social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders in many jurisdictions.

photo of globe on top of books

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

For those just getting started, an introductory source, such as the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner publication Women’s Rights are Human Rights, provides a helpful overview of the underlying legal basics and central concepts. Another resource is the subscription-based Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Law, which offers a number of relevant articles found by browsing the subject menu under “Human rights à Rights holders à Women, rights”.

Speciality legal research guides on this topic include International Women’s Human Rights and Humanitarian Law by the University of Toronto Bora Laskin Law Library and Women’s Human Rights by the International Justice Resource Center. There are also guides that focus on narrower issues within international women’s rights, such as the Pace Law School Library’s guide on Domestic Violence Law: International Law. Conversely, research guides covering broader areas that cover international women’s rights, such as international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law, can also provide a good (albeit more general) starting point. GlobaLex and the American Society of International Law are just two examples of quality sources for the latter type of guide. Do not overlook non-legal research guides, such as the Georgia Tech Library’s guide on Women and International Affairs or the University at Buffalo Libraries International Human Rights of Women guide.

As an alternative to a research guide and depending on your area of interest, refer to the websites of relevant IGOs or NGOs. These sites are often particularly valuable as current awareness resources, and many also publish statistics and research reports or provide links to relevant primary law such as cases and treaties. For example: UN Women, the United Nations organization “dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women”, maintains a digital library of UN publications, multimedia, and documents, and its Guiding Documents page summarizes and links to international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its optional protocol. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has a page devoted to CEDAW, as well as several other resources on women’s rights listed on its Issues page. Other potential agencies and organizations to track include the United Nations Population Fund, the World Economic Forum, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Equality Now, and the International Center for Research on Women. Or, you could begin with an organization working within specific regions or on particular women’s rights issues. For instance, if you are interested in researching women’s rights in Asia, consult the websites of the Asia Pacific Forum and International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific. The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global organization focused on women’s reproductive health and rights, and Stop Violence Against Women works to end global domestic violence, sexual harassment and assault, and human trafficking.

There are also free online databases that partially or primarily contain primary and secondary sources relevant to international women’s rights.  RefWorld, a website of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, maintains a database of country and policy reports, case law, and other documents published by governments and IGOs on issues such as human trafficking and gender-based violence. The Cornell Center for Women, Justice, Economy & Technology hosts the Women & Justice Collection on Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute website. This collection “provides access to international, regional, and domestic caselaw and legislation from around the world related to promoting gender justice and ending gender-based violence.”

As the UN writes:

“COVID-19 is not only a challenge for global health systems, but also a test of our human spirit. Recovery must lead to a more equal world that is more resilient to future crises…. It is crucial that all national responses place women and girls – their inclusion, representation, rights, social and economic outcomes, equality and protection – at their centre if they are to have the necessary impacts. This is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient world.”


From the Reference Desk: Starting with a Secondary Source

By Amy Flick

In class, I stress to students the importance of starting their research with a good secondary source. For international law research, I frequently recommend the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (“MPEPIL”).

In practice, I don’t always follow my own advice. Hearing that the needed document was a treaty or international agreement, I started with a search of UN Treaties in Hein Online’s United Nations Law Collection, then in the United Nations Treaty Series Online. No luck. A Google search sent me to, which had a category for “core documents,” but the student insisted that he was looking for an accord or treaty, and the “certification scheme” documents on the site did not at first glance appear to be what he was looking for.

Finally going to a secondary source, I searched “Kimberley” in MPEPIL – and there was an entry titled Kimberley Process. The article explained the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (“KPCS”) and its history, and it included citations and links to  UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/5556 of January 29, 2001, “Breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts,” along with other documents from the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the WTO. It also explained that “the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme does not establish legally binding obligations on its participants (it is rather a political agreement).”

We went back to with a better idea of what we were looking for. The FAQ page gave some simple yet helpful information: answers to What are conflict Diamonds? What is the Kimberley Process? Who is involved? As it explained, the Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds. The KPCS outlines the rules governing the trade in rough diamonds, with a set of minimum requirements that each participant must meet. And important information I missed on my first encounter with the site, “[t]he KP is not, strictly speaking an international organization….Neither can the KP be considered as an international agreement from a legal perspective, as it is implemented through the national legislations of its participants.” Those core documents on the website that we saw earlier did turn out to be the documents the student wanted – the 2003 Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the amended 2013 KPCS Core Document.


One question the student wanted answered was whether the United States is a party to, or participant in, the KPCS. The KPCS website also lists participants and observers, and the United States is listed with 2003 as its date of entry, with statistics but not legislative documents (also there are some for a few other countries). My standard secondary sources for reference questions include CRS Reports, although here I was not thinking of this as a U.S. statutory question. A search of led me to Diamonds and Conflict: Background, Policy, and Legislation, RL30751, a report most recently updated in 2003, so not entirely up-to-date on the KPCS. But it did include U.S. legislative actions as of 2003, including Public Law 108-19, the Clean Diamond Trade Act. We found one U.S. case on the CDTA and the Kimberley Process, US v Approximately 1170 Carats of rough Diamonds Seized at John F Kennedy International Airport:

From there, I did have other, more detailed secondary sources to refer to the student. There are several titles in Emory’s catalog on the Kimberley process, and more generally on international trade and human rights. There was even a 2008 Emory Ph.D. dissertation by Franziska Bieri, From Conflict Diamonds to the Kimberley process: How NGOs Reshaped a Global Industry.

From the Reference Desk: Who Are the Most Highly Qualified Publicists?

By Jonathan Pratter

In spite of its deficiencies (for example, it has nothing to say about international soft law or about unilateral acts), Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice is accepted as the classic statement of the sources of public international law.  Two sources are not true sources at all, but are described as “subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.”  These are judicial decisions and “the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations.”  “Subsidiary means” is misleading.  The French version of the Statute says “moyen auxiliaire”, which comes closer to reality.  Today, international judicial and quasi-judicial fora have proliferated.  It is simply an old-fashioned aversion to case law as a source of law that prevents their judicial decisions from being treated as true sources of international law.  In the case of the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists the distinction makes more sense.  A writer on international law does not have formal lawmaking authority.  Nevertheless, writers on international law can be very influential.  Their work can affect the course of development of norms in international law.

This raises the question of who are the most highly qualified publicists.  The question gains salience in the context of the Jessup International Moot Court Competition.  Participants need to know what kind of secondary authority can legitimately be cited before the International Court of Justice.  Two recent articles throw a lot of light on the question:  The Influence of Teachings of Publicists on the Development of International Law by Sandesh Sivakumaran, a professor at the University of Nottingham, published in 66 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 1 (2017) and Finding “the Most Highly Qualified Publicists”: Lessons from the International Court of Justice by Sondre Torp Helmerson, a professor at the University of Tromsø in Norway, published in 30 European Journal of International Law 509 (2019).

The first article categorizes publicists into state-empowered entities, such as the International Law Commission of the UN, expert groups, such as the International Law Association or the Institut de Droit International, and the broad category described as the “ordinary” publicist.  The article goes on to consider what constitutes teachings and arrives at the categories of digests, treatises and textbooks, monographs and edited collections, commentaries, journal articles, and even blog posts.  This catholic approach to who is a publicist and what are their teachings is surely correct, as an example makes clear.  Let’s say that during your research you encounter a student note in a United States student-edited law review, not necessarily from one of the most prestigious law schools.  In your view, the article is clearly on point, well written, and makes sound arguments, perhaps even innovative ones.  Should you or may you cite it?  In my view the answer is clearly yes.  In fact, academic integrity and the avoidance of plagiarism probably demand that you cite the article.  Now I concede that something turns on the nature of the audience.  If you are drafting a memorial before the International Court of Justice, you may have to think twice.

This is where the second article comes into play.  The author carries out a detailed analysis of the ICJ’s citation to publicists.  For example, a table in the article is the list of the top ten most-cited writers.  At the head of the pack is Shabtai Rosenne, but this is misleading.  Rosenne is the author of the leading treatise on the practice and procedure of the Court.  It may give us pause that all ten of the most-cited writers are old white men.

The article identifies several factors that go into the determination of what makes a most highly qualified publicist.  These are expertise, quality of the work, official position of the author, and agreement among multiple writers.  These factors are no surprise.  It would be desirable if going forward the ICJ cited from a more diverse range of publicists.  After all, the precise wording of article 38(1) is “the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations” (my emphasis).  The image for this post is of Hersch Lauterpacht, who came second in the list of the most-cited publicists.

GlobaLex January/February 2020 Issue is Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

As GlobaLex celebrates its 15th Birthday, January/February 2020 Issue features nine great updates: Ethiopia, Jordan, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Slovenia, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom. Webmasters and content managers, please update your pages. We thank all our wonderful authors, new and established, for their continuous contributions and Happy Birthday GlobaLex!


UPDATE: Introduction to the Ethiopian Legal System and Legal Research by Alemayehu B. Bekele at

Alemayehu B. Bekele received his law degree from Addis Ababa University College of Law and Governance (LL.B., 2013) in Ethiopia. He is currently working as an attorney and investment consultant in Ethiopia.


UPDATE: Overview of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Legal System and Research by Tamara Sakijha at

Tamara Sakijha is of Palestinian origin and grew up in Jordan. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a literature degree focusing on critical theory. During her undergraduate studies, Tamara was the research assistant to Professor Thomas W. Smith completing research and helping with translation for Prof. Smith’s book titled “Human Rights and War Through Civilian Eyes.” She is finishing her law degree at NYU Law School, is the Senior Articles Editor of the NYU Journal of International Law & Politics, and is a member of the 2020 NYU Law ICC Moot Court Team. She has participated in various volunteer projects including tutoring programs for inmates, challenging solitary confinement, and teaching high school immigrant and refugee students. While student at NYU Law School, Tamara has worked as a judicial intern at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and as a summer intern for DLA Piper in New York.


UPDATE: Researching Dutch Law by Angélique Bessems at

Mrs. Angélique Bessems holds a LL.M Master of Law Degree in Dutch law and is working for the Maastricht University Library as a specialist Legal Scientific Information & Skills Support. She is also an active member, secretary, of the Juridische Bibliothecarissen Overleg (JUBO), the Dutch Association of University Law Libraries.


UPDATE: Essential Issues of the Peruvian Legal System by Milagros Bustillos Pinto at

Milagros Bustillos Pinto specializes in Tax Law (graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in 1985) and a Partner of Hernández & Cía. Abogados in Lima, Perú. She has participated in several research projects carried out by the Peruvian Institute of Tax Law, the International Fiscal Association (IFA) Peruvian Group, the International Association of Taxation and Human Rights, Latin American Institute of Tax Law, among others. She is a Past-President of the Board of Directors of the Peruvian Institute of Tax Law (IPDT) and an active member of the International Fiscal Association (IFA), Peruvian Group. She is a former assistant professor of Tax Law I (Tax Code) at the Law School of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and former Professor of Tax law II (Income Tax) at the University of Lima. She was also professor of Tax Law II at the Administration and Accountancy Schools of the Academic Department of Political and Social Sciences at The Pacific University.


UPDATE: Philippine Legal Research Part I and Part II by Milagros Santos-Ong at and

Milagros Santos-Ong is the Director of Library Services of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, retired in 2017. She is the author of Legal Research and Citations (Rex Book), a seminal book published in numerous editions, the latest of which is 2018 and a part-time professor on Legal Research in several law schools in Metro Manila, Philippines.


UPDATE: São Tomé and Príncipe Legal System and Research by Gerhard Seibert at

Gerhard Seibert graduated in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University, Netherlands, in 1991, and earned a Ph.D. in Social Sciences at Leiden University, Netherlands, in 1999. Until 2008 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the former Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), Lisbon, Portugal. From 2008-14 he was a researcher at the former African Studies Center at ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (CEA/ISCTE-IUL). From 2014-19 he was associate professor at Universidade da Integração Internacional da Lusofonia Afro-Brasileira (UNILAB), Campus dos Malês, São Francisco do Conde, Bahia, Brazil. He has conducted research in Mozambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and on Brazil – Africa relations. He authored book chapters, journal articles, and the book Comrades, Clients and Cousins. Colonialism, Socialism and Democratization in São Tomé and Príncipe (Leiden: Brill 2006), widely considered the definitive volume on the recent history of this African island state. He is co-editor of Brazil-Africa Relations. Historical Dimensions and Contemporary Engagements (Woodbridge: James Currey, 2019). Currently he collaborates with the postgraduate program PósAfro at the Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais (CEAO), at Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) in Salvador, Brazil, and is an associated researcher at the Centro de Estudos Internacionais (CEI), at ISCTE-IUL, Portugal.


UPDATE: Republic of Slovenia Legal System and Legal Research by Dr. Iztok Štefanec at

Iztok Štefanec holds a law degree (2010) and Ph.D in Law, Constitutional Law (2018), both from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a teaching assistant for constitutional law and currently works as an adviser to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia.


UPDATE: Trinidad & Tobago Law and Legal Research by Catherine A. Deane at

Catherine A. Deane is the Bay Area Research Specialist for Shearman & Sterling LLP. She received her primary and secondary education in Trinidad. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology with a Certificate in Latin American Studies from Princeton University, an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and a J.D. with a Certificate in International and Comparative Law from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, and an M.L.I.S. degree from San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science.


UPDATE: Researching Legal System of the United Kingdom by Hester Swift at

Hester Swift has been Foreign and International Law Librarian at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, since 2007. She has written for the BIALL journal, Legal Information Management, and has been a contributor to successive editions of City Law School’s Opinion Writing and Case Preparation (Oxford University Press) since 2006. Previously she was European Union Librarian at the Law Society Library and she began her career at HM Treasury and Cabinet Office Library.


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From the Reference Desk: Carbon Trading Data Sources

By Amy Flick

“I’m looking for data on carbon trading and cap-and-trade, preferably with graphs. I’m doing a paper on California’s cap-and-trade program, and I’m looking for data on international carbon trading programs for a comparison.”

The reference department at MacMillan Law Library gets an increasing number of requests for data in recent years. Some law libraries have added a specialist librarian or social sciences expert to support empirical research, but at Emory we rely on the expertise of the Data Librarian in the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, part of the main Woodruff Library, to assist our faculty and students with complex data and statistics projects. I am not qualified, at all, to do empirical analysis. I went to law school because I was told there would be no math – and then I went into bankruptcy law. Nicholas Kristof is right, I should have taken a class on statistics.

I am also only barely familiar with carbon trading.

But we do get statistical reference questions, so I will see if I can find a publication with tables, or a likely database, for the student to use for his project, leaving the interpretation of the data up to him. I’m with him on wanting graphs; if I’m looking at data, I want some visual interpretation.

California’s Air Resources Board has data on its Cap-and-Trade Program, with publications on market transfers, offset credits issued, and compliance reports. It even has video presentations on using its compliance data. The student was hoping to find graphs to include in his project, and publications like California Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2000 to 2017  summarize years of data with multiple graphs.

California’s Cap-and-Trade program is also a revenue source, so data is also available in the California Legislative Analyst’s Office 2019-20 Budget for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, which includes Cap-and-Trade revenue tables and graphs.

The student mentioned Canada as a possible jurisdiction for a comparison. Canada as a whole isn’t the simplest choice for him to work with, although Ontario or Quebec might be, since they also have cap-and-trade systems, linked to California’s. Canadian provinces have their own carbon pricing systems, with a federal carbon pricing system for provinces that haven’t enacted one or that don’t meet federal benchmarks. The publication Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was helpful for explaining the Canadian system, and it includes some data and graphs. More current data is available in the Annual Reports on Canada’s Climate Plan and other greenhouse gas reports.

Another possibility for comparison is the European Union. Its Emissions Trading System is a Cap-and-Trade system operating in all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The European Commission’s climate action pages include tables and graphs on emissions monitoring and progress, auction revenues, and individual member state emission profiles. The European Environment Agency has downloadable data on emissions and allowances. Getting away from EU sources, Business Insider even tracks CO2 European Emission Allowances as a commodities market.

There are some good sources for comparative research with data from multiple countries. The Canadian and EU reports led me to the National Communications to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These include Greenhouse Gas Emissions data and projections, along with summaries of initiatives for emissions reduction.

The World Bank has a Carbon Pricing Dashboard on regional and national initiatives, with graphs, types of initiatives (carbon tax or emissions trading system), and revenue, with data starting at 1990. It includes California’s Cap-and-Trade system with many other systems for a possible comparison. The World Bank also has data on CO2 emissions. And its report on State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2019 is filled with maps, graphs, and tables.

The International Carbon Action Partnership also has a 2019 Status Report on Worldwide Emissions Trading with summaries by country (and for the U.S., Canada, and China, by state or province) that include descriptions of ETS systems and infographics. ICAP also has an ETS Allowance Price Explorer. The ICAP ETS Map can be used to find factsheets by jurisdiction, including emissions, GHG reduction targets, carbon price, caps, and other information.

The statistical and data sources we found are complex, but there is data to be found on carbon trading systems. I found it all overwhelming, but the student was confident that he could find the data points he needed for a comparison with California and recommendations on alternative systems.