Thursday, April 2, 2009

Find Treaties with Flare

The Institute for Advanced Legal Studies recently launched the Flare Index to Treaties (, a free database of more than "1,500 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1856 to the present."

What makes FIT different from the many other treaty indexes out there? It is searchable by the treaty’s popular name as well as official; the conclusion date, year, or place; and various subject keywords. This makes FIT a great starting place for researchers who can only remember selected details about a particular treaty.

Each treaty entry in the database provides its citations from official and unofficial publications, links to full text online; the location of the treaty depository and the official languages in which the text was published.

Keep in mind that FIT’s search engine lacks the sophistication of Google or Lexis/Westlaw: when it comes to searching, single-word queries seem to work best. For example, a title search for rights and child returned no results, while a title search for just child returned 7 entries, including the desired treaty ("Convention on the Rights of the Child").

Multi-word searches are interpreted as exact phrases (i.e., rights of the child retrieves results, but not rights of child). You can truncate searches with an asterisk (e.g., child* will retrieve results which contain either child or children).

For additional help locating the text of treaties, consult the Goodson Law Library’s research guide to Treaties.