Public International Law


The Squire Law Library possesses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Public International Law material in the United Kingdom (in the region of 6,000 volumes and 130 current serials.) This includes treaty material relating to past and present international organisations, a wide range of reports on international cases and tribunals, and various collections dealing with human rights. Current strengths lie in Treaty law, Law of the Sea, Commercial Arbitration, Law of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Law, while a medium term goal of collection development is the strengthening of the WTO collection.

The Squire Law Library collection in Public International Law focuses on primary sources, but has extensive holdings of secondary material. In addition, various official United Nations documents are purchased, including General Assembly Resolutions, Security Council Resolutions, and Economic and Social Council Records. The Library subscribes to various UN electronic databases.

Scholarship in Public International Law at Cambridge University has long been internationally renowned. This has been achieved primarily by incumbents of the Whewell Professorship in International Law (WPIL) in the Faculty which was established in 1869, and recently through the focussed activities of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL). The latter is affiliated to the Faculty and provides "both a framework and a forum for critical and constructive thought about the function, content and working of law in the international community". Important publications produced by the LRCIL include the International Law Reports, ICSID Reports, International Environment Law Reports, Iran-US Claims Tribunal Reports and Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lecture Series The LRCIL, which is situated in Cranmer Road, a short walk from the Squire Law Library, possesses a basic collection of literature, but the main resources are housed in the Squire Law Library and the University Library.

Users of the Squire Law Library have access to materials held in the main University Library (200 yds north, across West Rd - see the map) in its role as a deposit library for the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation. The Official Publications department contains all official publications and documents of the United Nations and the WTO.

Public International Law has been taught and researched at Cambridge University since the late nineteenth century, and the Squire collections have grown steadily over the years. John Westlake (WPIL 1888-1909) and Sir (later Lord) Arnold McNair (WPIL 1935 - 1937), made important contributions to early collection development by donating their own books. After the Squire Law Library separated from the main University Library in 1905, these donations, together with gifts from colleagues abroad, constituted the initial stock. At that point the international collections occupied only one side shelf in the new Downing Street site. Another major figure in these early years was L.F.L. Oppenheim (WPIL 1908-1914), the author of Oppenheim's International Law.

Sir Arnold oversaw the transfer of the Squire Law Library to the Old Schools site in 1935, and shortly afterwards, Hersch Lauterpacht (later Sir, WPIL 1937-1954) arrived from the London School of Economics. Sir Hersch had a major influence on future development of International Public Law at Cambridge, as well as the Squire collections, inter alia, through his contributions to the development of various journals and reports (e.g. International Law Reports and the British Yearbook of International Law (with McNair). In this he was assisted by Clive Parry (later Professor of International Law, 1969-1982) who produced the monumental Consolidated Treaty Series 1648-1920, and Dr Kurt Lipstein (later Professor of Comparative Law, 1973-76). This tradition was maintained by his son, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, QC (Emeritus Director of the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law and Honorary Professor of International Law) who, in 1983 established the RCIL which was re-named in 1997 to honour the achievements of his father and himself. The current Whewell Professor of International Law and Chairman of the Law Faculty (formerly Director of the LRCIL) is James Crawford, author of The International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility.

Finally, mention must be made of the late W.A.F.P. Steiner (Assistant Librarian 1958-1968) (see also the Foreign & Comparative Law entry) who was instrumental in strengthening the Squire holdings in many areas of Public International Law, and filling gaps in the collections using generous grants from the Shell Oil Company.

A consolidated list of the Squire Law Library's primary holdings in Public International Law can be found on the FLAG database, a collaborative Internet gateway to the holdings of foreign, international and comparative law in UK universities and national libraries

Holdings of Public International Law

The Squire holds the following Public International Law collections: