New tool for US judges & litigants: ASIL Benchbook on International Law

bbIt’s my great pleasure to announce the publication of the American Society of International Law Benchbook on International Law (2014). This represents the culmination of several years of hard work by 4 dozen contributors, international law scholars and practitioners alike. We’ve benefited greatly from advice of the ASIL Judicial Advisory Board, composed of one member from each federal circuit and several state supreme courts, chaired by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It has been an honor to serve as the Benchbook‘s Editor-in-Chief.

As detailed in the Preface, the Benchbook is intended as an aid to judges and litigants when foreign or international law (including treaties and customary norms) forms a part of the case before them.

It will be demonstrated at the joint meeting of ASIL and the International Law Association this week in Washington, D.C. — to be precise, as part of ASIL’s Annual General Meeting, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Polaris Room A/B at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, on Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House. (Full meeting program here.) We will give a brief demonstration and extend heartfelt thanks to all who contributed; all are welcome to attend.

The Benchbook appears online here. Readers will find the Preface and, by clicking the Table of Contents tab, the contents of this 2014 edition. Included are our dedication to the memory of David J. Bederman, followed by these units:

► Primer (International Law Defined; Sources and Evidence of International Law; Uses of International Law in U.S. Courts)

► Preliminaries (Jurisdiction; Immunities and Other Preliminary Considerations; Discovery and Other Procedures)

► Specific Topics (International Arbitration; International Law Pertaining to Families and Children; International Sale of Goods; International Air Transportation; Human Rights, comprising Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act, Human Trafficking, and Non-refoulement or Nonreturn; Criminal Justice; and Environment)

► Resources (Judicial Interpretation of International or Foreign Instruments; Research Resources)

Clicking on any of the above chapters will give you the pdf version of that segment of the Benchbook. If you would like to access and download the 356-page Benchbook as a whole, you may do so here.

In order to make the volume as user-friendly as possible (until our eventual transfer to html with hypertexting), we have cross-referenced throughout all chapters, and further provided several means to locate information:

Summary Table of Contents

Detailed Table of Contents

Tables of Treaties, Cases, Laws, and Scholarly Writings, along with a Keyword Index

You will see toward the end that the Benchbook includes a list with short biographies of each contributor. (The book benefited as well from the help of my colleagues and students at the University of Georgia School of Law  – Kaitlin M. Ball, but also Kent Barnett, Harlan Cohen, Erika Furlong, and the super staff at the Alexander King Campbell Law Library.)

The book also includes acknowledgments. These cannot begin to express our deep thanks to all of you for ASIL members’ support of this multiyear project. Going forward, we hope to keep the Benchbook current with periodic updating, and also to make it a hands-on training tool for judges and their staffs. We welcome members’ help in those endeavors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s