Foreign & International Law

Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales), domestic violence, and the Inter-American system of human rights: online resources

This Wednesday, October 22, at lunchtime in Room IV, four Law School student organizations – the Human Rights Law Society, the Immigration Law Society, the Law Women’s Caucus, and the Domestic Violence Project – present the International Human Rights Clinic’s Caroline Bettinger-Lopez speaking on “Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States: Reframing Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation”.  Ms. Bettinger-Lopez was one of the ACLU attorneys who presented a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the U.S. government on behalf of Jessica and her deceased daughters on December 27, 2005 (see Merits Report 80/11, Case 12.626, July 21, 2011).

According to an IACHR press release:

“Jessica Lenahan, a victim of domestic violence along with her daughters Leslie, Katheryn and Rebecca Gonzales, ages 7, 8 and 10, obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband from the Colorado Courts in May 21, 1999. Not knowing the whereabouts of her daughters, Jessica Lenahan had eight contacts with the Castle Rock Police Department during the evening of June 22, 1999 and the morning of June 23, 1999. In each of her telephone calls and discussions with the police agents, she requested efforts to locate her daughters and she informed them that she possessed a protection order against Simon Gonzales. Her contacts were met with a police response that was fragmented, uncoordinated and unprepared, and it did not respect the terms of the restraining order. That morning, Simon Gonzales drove his pick-up truck to the Castle Rock Police Department and fired shots through the window. There was an exchange of gunfire with officers from the station in the course of which he was fatally wounded and killed. The deceased bodies of the three girls were found in his truck.”

Ms. Bettinger-Lopez/IHR Clinic will also be attending the IACHR hearing (follow-up on recommendations) on the Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) case this Monday, October 27, 2014. [UPDATE: Hearing at 10:15 a.m. EDT;  International Human Rights Clinic to Appear Before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Law School, October 23, 2014)]

OAS flag

The Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales)  et. al. v. United States of America case is an example of using the Inter-American human rights system to advocate for U.S. citizens.  Researchers looking for the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights use a variety of sources to access these cases.  Locating IACHR & IACtHR decisions by a topic or specific right can be difficult.  In that regard, the recent launch by Loyola of Los Angeles Law School of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Database is a welcome addition to available online resources.  The IACHR Project describes its database as follows:

“This freely-available database produced by the editors and staff of the IACHR Project under the supervision of Professor Cesare Romano allows users to search Inter-American Court decisions by case name, country, and topic. Advanced search features include the ability to search by specific violation of various Inter-American Conventions.

Search results include a brief description of the case, information on judges, and violations found by the Inter-American Court. When available, the database includes a link to a detailed case summary which includes case facts, procedural history, merits, and state compliance with the Inter-American Court’s judgment. To date, 74 detailed case summaries are available.”

Existing resources before this IACHR database including browsing the Commission and Court’s own websites, searching the IACHR-OAS database in WestlawNext (has Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter-American System and the Commission’s annual reports), checking the print volumes of the Inter-American Yearbook on Human Rights = Anuario interamericano de derechos humanos, and the following online resources:

New international arbitration databases: TDM & Oxford Investment Claims

The D’Angelo Law Library has two new online resources to help you locate international commercial arbitration law sources for your substantial research papers or the Willem C. Vis Moot.

Transnational Dispute Management (TDM): “The Network for International Arbitration, Mediation and ADR, International Investment Law and Transnational Dispute Management, ” TDM focuses on recent developments in the area of arbitration and dispute management. TDM is “a peer-review online journal publishing about various aspects of international arbitration with a special focus on investment arbitration.”

Oxford Investment Claims: This database “aims to publish all publicly available awards and decisions arising out of international investment arbitrations and related enforcement or review decisions from national courts. The collection includes over 300 arbitral awards, decisions, and determinations under the auspices of bodies such as the ICC International Court of Arbitration, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and others.”

Tall Ships (Färgtryck, Malmö Museer)

Tall Ships (Färgtryck, Malmö Museer)

Don’t forget you can also use these databases to which we subscribe for international arbitration research:

  1. Getting the Deal Through (GTDT): Arbitration…in 49 Jurisdictions Worldwide (also via Bloomberg Law)
  2. KluwerArbitration (eBooks, eJournals, BITs, conventions, national arbitration legislation, arbitral cases and awards, rules, practice tools)
  3. Oxford Reports on International Investment Claims (available via ORIL)
  4. Practical Law – Arbitration: International (available via WestlawNext)
  5. Practising Law Institute (PLI) Discover Plus: International Arbitration 2014 (John Fellas)

New Chinese legal research guides!

Over the summer, several guides to researching Chinese law were published.  The Chinese and American Forum on Law Libraries and Legal Information (CAFLL) compiled a list of links to about 30 web-based Chinese Legal Research Guides (PDF) in July 2014.  A new book by Paul Kossof on Chinese Legal Research (International Legal Research Series, Carolina Academic Press, 2014) is forthcoming in D’Angelo Law Library collection.  And the Law Library of Congress posted the following by Laney Zhang this August:

A Guide to Chinese Legal Research and Global Legal Collection Highlights: Official Publication of Chinese Law

“If you got a chance to read my previous posts on Chinese legal research, Who Makes What? and Administrative Regulations and Departmental Rules, you know that under China’s Law on Legislation, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its standing committee make laws; the State Council makes administrative regulations; and the ministries and commissions under the State Council make departmental (administrative) rules….”

Cholera in Haiti: The United Nations, public health, and the law

Cholera in Haiti

Cholera in Haiti

Since October 2010 when UN peacekeepers contaminated Haiti’s principal river with cholera-infected human waste, the disease has killed over 8,300 and sickened more than 650,000.”

On February 26, 2014, at noon, there will be a panel discussion at the Biological Sciences Learning Center on “Cholera in Haiti: Intersection of Public Health and Global Humanitarian Intervention.”  Then at 4:30, in Room III, of the Law School, a panel including Brian Citro of the International Human Rights Clinic, Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and Dr. Paul Pierre of Partners in Health (PIH), will discuss “Law in a Time of Cholera: The Failure of the United Nations in Haiti.” 

Background documents, including the IJDH claims against the UN (November 3, 2011 Petition for Relief filed with the Bureaux des Avocats Internationaux (BAI)) and October 9, 2013 lawsuit filed against the UN (Georges et al v. United Nations et al., Docket # 1:13-cv-07146-JPO, SDNY), are available at the “Cholera Litigation” section of the Institute’s website. Both panels are sponsored by the University of Chicago Human Rights Program’s Health and Human Rights Initiative, with the support of the Richard and Ann Pozen Fund.

How to locate Chinese legislation in English translation

Chinese HorseHappy Chinese Lunar New Year of the Horse!  In celebration, here’s a quick guide to help with researching Chinese statutes and regulations in English translation. Major sources to check include Peking University’s LawInfoChina/ChinaLawInfo (北大法律信息网) database, Westlaw China, the National People’s Congress’ Database of Laws and Regulations, Laws of the People’s Republic of China (AsianLII), and  the Supreme People’s Court’s “Laws & Regulations” page. The NPC database contains laws in these categories: 


Translations of recent Chinese laws or proposed legislation will sometimes be posted on the CHINALAW email discussion group or on the China Law Prof blog.  Older laws in translation are sometimes separately-published, or selectively printed in journals such as China Law and Practice.  Search the Library Catalog, Lens, or WorldCat to locate them. If you are looking for Chinese laws on specialized topics such as intellectual property, trade, and investment, check the website of the related government agency or international organization. For additional information, check the Law Library of Congress’ China: Translation of National Legislation into English (March 2012, PDF). 

Print sources of English translations of Chinese legislation owned by Chicago-area libraries include:


Happy researching!  And, if you need additional assistance, Ask-A-Law-Librarian!

D’Angelo’s Louis-Jacques authors new book

International Legal Research book coverThe D’Angelo Law Library’s Foreign and International Law Librarian, Lyonette Louis-Jacques is the co-author of a new book, International Law Legal Research. Part of Carolina Academic Press’ International Legal Research Series, the book is “designed to be accessible for the beginner as well as useful for those with more experience.” With over 25 years experience as a law librarian, Ms. Louis-Jacques contributes her expertise to the extensive listings of bibliographic and other resources at the end of each chapter. The book already is receiving rave reviews in the academic community.  

Our IAReporter trial ends December 31st – try it out now

The D’Angelo Law Library’s trial of the Investment Arbitration Reporter (IAReporter) ends in a couple of weeks on December 31st.  Try it out now and let us know if you think it will be useful for your international commercial arbitration research.  We welcome your feedback!  

Recent IAReporter news headlines with overview and analysis by Luke Eric Peterson:


The IAReporter enables you to browse its content in the following categories/themes:

Institution (ICSID, UNCITRAL, SCC (Stockholm), ICC, NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.)

Country (India, Argentina, Venezuela, C.I.S. (Russia, Ukraine, etc.)

Topic (Payment of Awards, Annulment and Court Review, Damages Determinations, Arbitrator Challenges, Treaty Negotiations, Energy Disputes, Mining Disputes, Telecoms Disputes, Amicus Curiae Interventions, Environmental Disputes, Human Rights)

Happy Repeal Day!

Bock Beer

A Karl Llewellyn favorite beer

Rejoice, wine and beer lovers!  On this day, December 5, in 1933, Congress ended the nation’s dry spell.  Senate Joint Resolution 211 proposing a 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repeal the 18th Amendment, was enacted, thus setting a nation of drinkers free from Prohibition.  And making the Law School Wine Mess possible!

Selected Resources on Beer and Wine Law

Newly launched free web research resource – the Global Health and Human Rights Database

On October 24, 2013, the Global Health and Human Rights Database (hereinafter GHHRD) was officially launched at the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium .  The GHHRD is produced by the Lawyers Collective, “a leading public interest law NGO in India focusing on strategic litigation and advocacy in HIV/AIDS and women’s rights, with offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore”, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law.  Brian Citro, International Human Rights Clinic Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, was a GHHRD project manager.  You can watch the informative webcast here and here.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“The [Global Health and Human Rights] Database is a fully searchable online database of more than 1000 judgments, constitutions and international instruments on the intersection between health and human rights.

The Database is the first attempt to comprehensively make available health and human rights law from both common and civil law jurisdictions, and features case law and other legal documents from more than 80 countries and in 25 languages. It also provides 500 plain-language summaries and 200 original translations of case law previously unavailable in English. The Database has been created in collaboration with more than 100 partners from civil society, academia, and legal practice worldwide.”


Traveling abroad? Need to learn a foreign language? Try Mango.

Mango Languages listThe Library now subscribes to Mango Languages Online . Try it out now to see if it’s useful for you!

If you are participating in the Law School’s International Immersion Program, doing an international human rights internship, or working in the IHR Clinic or the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, or writing a research paper on a foreign law topic, you might find the Mango language tool handy. 

Mango Languages list