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Treaties, Conventions and Agreements


Introduction to Treaties, Conventions and Agreements

Treaties can be referred to by a number of names like international conventions, international agreements, covenants, final acts, charters, protocols, pacts, accords, and constitutions for international organizations. A treaty is the most formal type of agreement between nations. Treaties and conventions are primary sources and one of the important sources of international law.

A treaty is “an agreement formally signed, ratified, or adhered to between two nations or sovereigns; an international agreement concluded between two or more states in written form and governed by international law”. (Black's Law Dictionary, 9th ed. 2009)

Treaties may be bilateral (agreement between two parties) or multilateral (agreement between more than two parties).

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This resource guide, prepared by the library staff aims to list useful sources of information on the subject, which are available in JGU Library and elsewhere, both in print and electronic forms. It also includes important links to useful free & open access web resources.  







Key terms related to treaties

There are several following important key terms related to treaty action:

Accession to a treaty- "Accession" is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states but not preceded by signature.  Accession usually occurs after the treaty has entered into force.

Act of Formal Confirmationis equivalent to ratification when an international organization expresses its consent to be bound to a treaty.

Adherence to a treaty- is the process of becoming a state party to a treaty through signature, ratification or accession.

Adoption- is the formal act by which the form & consent of a proposed treaty are settled.

Consent to be bound- is a positive act that a state can take in relation to any treaty. A ‘party’ is a state that has consented to be bound by a treaty and for which the treaty is in force.

Depository- After a treaty has been concluded, the written instruments, which provide formal evidence of consent to be bound, and also reservations and declarations, are placed in the custody of a depositary. The depositary must accept all notifications and documents related to the treaty, examine whether all formal requirements are met, deposit them, register the treaty and notify all relevant acts to the parties concerned.

Entry into Forceprovisions of the treaty determine the date on which the treaty enters into force. Where the treaty does not specify a date, there is a presumption that it is intended to come into force as soon as all the negotiating states have consented to be bound by the treaty. ("enter into force" is a concept usually associated with a specific date and time).

Full Power- is a formal document authorizing person to sign a treaty or do other acts with respect to a treaty.

Ratification of a treaty- a country's internal confirmation or acceptance of terms of a treaty agreement, usually accomplished through some form of legislative process. It is the international act whereby a State establishes on the international plane its consent to be bound by a treaty.

Reservation of a treaty- a unilateral statement or formal declaration by a state or country when consenting will not be bound by the objectionable term or terms of a treaty usually during the ratification phase.

Signatories- Signature is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, the signature does not establish the consent to be bound. However, it is a means of authentication and expresses the willingness of the signatory state to continue the treaty-making process. 

Sources of General treaties- Multinational, Bilateral and Countries specific treaties

Treatise, conventions and agreements can be found in the following global coverage treaty sources:

Multinational Treaty Resources

United Nations

  • UN Treaty Collection provides Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations Treaty Series (December 1946 - March 2010) and League of Nations Treaty Series (10 January 1920 - 18 April 1946).
  • WorldLII- United Nations Treaty Series (UNTSer) contains full-text treaties of United Nations Treaty Series (UNTSer) from 1946 onwards

World Trade Organizations

European Union

  • Council of Europe Treaties lists all Council of Europe treaties, their explanatory reports, the status of signatures and ratifications, the declarations and reservations made by States, as well as the notifications issued by the Treaty Office since 2005.
  • EUR-Lex Treaties provides free access the foundingamending and accession treaties, as well as some protocols. It includes Treaty of Lisbon, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Treaty on European Union, Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
  • WorldLII- Council of Europe Treaty Series (COETS) contains full-text treaties of Council of Europe Treaty Series from 1949-2009
  • Westlaw India EU Treaties
  • Lexis Nexis Academic - EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Treaties covers treaties establishing the European Communities, treaties amending or supplementing the founding treaties and the accession treaties of new member states.  Also included are agreements and other legal acts resulting from external relations maintained by the European Communities and by member states.
  • ICRC - Geneva Conventions introducing Geneva treaties or Conventions and their additional Protocols which regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects.
  • SAARC Agreements & Conventions

Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)

  • HCCH Conventions HCCH is a global inter-governmental organization, has 78 Members (77 States and the European Union) representing all continents which also becoming parties to Hague Conventions. The most widely ratified Conventions deal with:
    • The abolition of legalisation (Apostille)
    • Service of process
    • Taking of evidence abroad
    • Access to justice
    • International child abduction
    • Intercountry adoption
    • Conflicts of laws relating to the form of testamentary dispositions
    • Maintenance obligations
    • Recognition of divorces

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

  • IMO Conventions IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. IMO conventions concerned with maritime safety; prevention of marine pollution and liability and compensation, especially in relation to damage caused by pollution.


  • UNESCO Conventions lists all conventions & agreements signed & agreed by member states of UNESCO solely or jointly with other International Organizations.

Discovery tools for treaties

  • Flare Index to Treaties (FIT) compiled by School of Advance Study, University of London, is a searchable database of basic information on over 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties and some bilateral treaties concluded between 1353 and the present, with details of where the full text of each treaty may be obtained in paper and, if available, electronic form on the internet. The Index includes key multilateral treaties from 1353 onwards and, in addition, key bilateral treaties from 1353 to 1815.

Comprehensive Databases to explore International treaties- General

  • Lexis Nexis Academic - Treaties & International Agreements LexisNexis can also be explored to locate International treaties & agreements. This includes International Treaties, Treaties and Agreements from International Legal Materials (ILM) a publication of the American Society of International Law, U.S. Treaties in Force, and U.S. treaties on LEXIS .
    Please follow the following steps

    Sources Directory > Browse sources > Treaties & International Agreement


  • Westlaw India Combined Treaties (CMB-TREATIES) combined Treaties is a multibase which contains all treaties, conventions, agreements and other international materials from a number of separate and disparate databases. he multibase includes all of the information of U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements; Federal Taxation - U.S. Treaties and Conventions; Uruguay Round General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; North American Free Trade Agreement; International Environmental Law Documents; European Union Treaties; Australian International Agreements; RIA International Tax Treaties and Explanations; United Kingdom Intellectual Property - Treaties; International Legal Materials.
    Please follow the following steps to locate combined treaties on Westlaw:
    Westlaw India > International Material > Directory > Search for a database > CMB-TREATIES

Bilateral Treaties and Country Specific Resources


United States of America

  • Argentina:
  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • America
    • Senate Treaty Documents, The Government Printing Office, contain the text of a treaty, submitted to the U. S. Senate for ratification by the President of the United States. 
    • Inter-American Treaties Department of International Law (DIL), Secretariat for Legal Affairs (SLA) serves as depository for all multilateral treaties and their instruments of ratification, which the Charter of the Organization of American States assigns to the General Secretariat and can be search by year (1940 -), subject, and member state. The Secretariat serves depository for all bilateral treaties between the Organs of the OAS and Member States, Observer States, agencies and other entities of these states, or other Inter-American agencies as well which can be search by alphabetically from 1949 to 2014 (name of the party contracting with the General Secretariat) and by year (2003-2014)
    • United States treaties (bilateral and multilateral)- in force  by U.S. Department of State
    • Texts of International Agreements to which the US is a Party (TIAS) by U.S. Department of State
    • Thomas Treaties Collection by Library of Congress  provides the text of treaties from the 90th Congress forward.
    • HeinOnline- U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library subscribed by the Library can also be browsed to locate U.S. Treaties and Agreements that allows searching for bilateral and multilateral treaties through several different treaty sources, such as Treaties in Force and Treaties, Other International Act Series (TIAS), League of Nations Treaty Series, United Nations Treaties Series, Other International Agreements set (commonly referred to as the "Blue set") and Worldwide Treaties, as well as other famous sets from Bevans, Miller, Malloy and others, whether currently in-force, expired, or not-yet officially published.
    • Westlaw India- Federal Native American Treaties (FNAM-TREATIES) to which the U.S. government is a party since 1797.
    • Westlaw India- U.S. Treaties & Other International Agreements (USTREATIES) includes American Indian treaties to which the U.S.A. is a party from 1778 to present.
    • Westlaw India- United States Treaties in Force (USTIF) lists the treaties in force in the United States as of January 1, 2011. 
    • Lexis Advance - U.S. Treaties in Force containing the text of the current volume of Treaties in Force.
    • Lexis Advance - U.S. Treaties on LEXIS (USTRTY) full-text ratified and unratified treaties and international agreements, where the United States is a party or signatory. 




  • Australia
    • Australian treaties  database maintained by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, is an online resource for researching Bilateral and Multilateral treaties to which Australia is a signatory, or where Australia has taken other treaty action.
    • The Australian Treaties Database maintained by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    • AustLII- Australian Treaties Library contains full-text Australian treaties since 1901. The treaties here, also searchable via subject, title and country.

Sources of subject specific treaties

Treatises are the collection of treaties which includes a comprehensive discussion on a topic or subject.

Human Rights 


Disaster Law


Intellectual Property

  • Instruments relating to intellectual property by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administers 26 treaties and there is a database namely WIPO  Lex for national laws and treaties on intellectual property (IP).
  • Manupatra- IPR International conventions / Agreements & Treaties
  • Westlaw IndiaUnited Kingdom Intellectual Property - Treaties (UKIP-TREATIES) treaties relating to intellectual property, including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property from March 1883.
  • Westlaw IndiaIntellectual Property Treaties (IP-TREATIES) is a multibase which contains intellectual property treaties, conventions, agreements and other international materials from U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements; Uruguay Round General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; North American Free Trade Agreement and United Kingdom Intellectual Property – Treaties. 
  • Westlaw India- Patent Cooperation Treaty Patents (PCT-PAT ) contains patent applications filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization pursuant to the Patent Cooperation Treaty since 1978.

Labour & Employment

  • Normlex  is a database of International labour standards by International Labour Organization (ILO) which bring together information on International Labour Standards including ratification information, reporting requirements.
  • Manupatra- Employment Laws International Conventions

International Trade & Investment

  • Treaties relating to private international trade law by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), including conventions & treaties on international commercial arbitration & conciliation, international sales of goods, insolvency, e-commerce and others.
  • International trade law instruments by World Trade Organization. These agreements cover goods, services and intellectual property.
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) from 1947-1994 by Stanford University
  • Database of bilateral investment treaties (maintained by ICSID), include treaties relevant to investment, including multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements with investment provisions.
  • International Investment Agreements by Investment Policy Hub, UNCTAD, brings together bilateral investment treaties and other investment treaties that are not BITs.
  • Singapore free-trade agreements FTA is a legally binding agreement between two or more countries to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade, and facilitate the cross border movement of goods and services between the territories of the Parties. Singapore’s FTA network covers 20 regional and bilateral FTAs with 31 trading partners. 
  • Canada trade negotiations and agreements by Foreign Affairs and Trade and Development Canada, Government of Canada, which also including free trade agreement .
  • ManupatraForeign Trade Policy and Procedure’s Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements (BIPA)
  • World Trade Law.Net includes all bilateral and regional trade agreements notified to the WTO as of January 2009, along with the official WTO document number of the notification. 
  • Westlaw India- Australian Corporations Law Agreements and Treaties Combined (AUCORP-AGREEtreaties and other agreements between Australia and other countries that relate to multinational business enterprises, plus agreements between Australian governmental entities and agencies related to securities and investments.
  • Lexis AdvanceGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) contains documents relating to the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.


  • SCC Online- Bilateral Investments Treaties (BITs) and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) between India and other countries now available on SCC Online Web Edition
  • Manupatra - Indirect taxation bilateral treaties
  • Taxmann’s International taxation database- Tax treaties tax treaties that India has entered into with other countries, OECD bilateral & multilateral treaties and UN treaties.
  • Westlaw IndiaRIA International Tax Treaties and Explanations (RIA-TREATIES) includes agreements between the US and other countries relating to tax, with legislative history and editorial analysis.
  • Westlaw IndiaFederal Taxation - U.S. Treaties and Conventions (FTX-TREATIES) tax agreements between the United States and foreign governments that are published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) from 1955. The tax treaties from U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements (USTREATIES) database are included, which begins coverage in 1844.
  • LexisNexis Academic- Intellectual Property Treaties contains Intellectual Property Treaties from the Basic Documents of International Economic Law including: Patent Cooperation Treaty, Universal Copyright Convention, and the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks.
  • LexisNexis AcademicTax Analysts Worldwide Tax Treaties Combined Files comprehensive 4,400 tax treaties concerning taxes on income and capital, the treaty collection also includes estate and gift tax treaties, limited tax agreements concerning transportation and information exchange, and other tax related treaty documents.


  • Manupatra- Anti dumping (Bilateral Treatises)



Media & Mass Communication

  • Manupatra - MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION LAWS biletral treaties

Other tools to find treaties

  • Flare Index to Treaties FIT by School of Advance Study, University of London. FIT is a searchable database of basic information on over 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties and some bilateral treaties concluded between 1353 and the present, with details of where the full text of each treaty may be obtained in paper and, if available, electronic form on the internet.
  • World Treaty Index by ABC-Clio, is an electronic treaty database provides access to over 55,000 treaties of the 20th century

Research Guides on Treaty


Staff of Global Library gratefully acknowledge contribution of Mr. Buddhi Prakash Chauhan, Chief Librarian & Additional Registrar for his leadership in preparation of this Resource Guide.