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Archive for August 5th, 2019

Treaty Interpretation in the USCS

One of the basic concepts of legal research is using an annotated code like the United States Code Service (USCS) or the United States Code Annotated (USCA) to find cases interpreting a statute. In the USCS, this same concept can be used to research interpreting caselaw for the most important international treaties.

The International Agreements volume of the print USCS reprints the text of about forty important international treaties to which the U.S. is a party. Of course there are numerous treaties to which the U.S. is a party that are not included in this International Agreements volume, but it contains important ones such as the Berne Convention, the CISG, and the Torture Convention.

When looking up a treaty in the International Agreements volume of the USCS, you’ll first find the text of the treaty, followed by historical notes. Next are the notes of decisions, or interpreting caselaw, which are organized with a helpful table on contents. For example, if you are researching the Torture Convention and have a question about whether or not the treaty applies in a certain situation, interpreting cases can be found under the table on contents heading “Applicability.”

In LexisAdvance, the equivalent information will be found in the database labeled “USCS – International Conventions.” The USCA in Westlaw Edge does not have an equivalent volume on international agreements.