Summary of Current Climate Change Findings and Figures from World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

As contentious as the issue of climate change is, it is useful and valuable to have the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO’s) latest summary of current climate change findings and figures here.

Note: the WMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, endeavors to maintain its independence and to “embody the highest aspirations of the people of the world” — please see its Code of Ethics.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

UNRIC Backgrounders

The United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe Backgrounders are a great resource for locating UN documents and sites covering international law topics and selected countries
These guides provide links to treaties, UN resolutions, UN press releases, UN reports and UN Web sites. Many thanks to the UNRIC Library staff for posting these useful guides online.

UNRIC Library Backgrounders

Backgrounders are available for the following countries:
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
South Sudan
Sri Lanka

Backgrounders are available for the following topics:
Climate Change
Educational Resources
Food Waste
Global Food Crisis
Human Rights
Human Rights Council
Middle East
Millennium Development Goals
Nuclear Disarmament
Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations
Peacebuilding Commission
Protection of civilians in armed conflict
Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
Sustainable Development

New Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) Issue

The Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) has just published its most recent issue GoJIL Vol. 4 No. 3 (2012).

There are 8 different articles, including the 1st one by Jochen von Bernstoff, which analyzes Georg Jellinek’s ideas on State sovereignty as well as his concept of ‘auto-limitations’ in the 20th century.

There are also 2 articles on the principles of international criminal law, and 3 articles on the impact of human rights on international and national developments.

Among these latter 3 is the article written by the winner of the annual Student Essay Competition, Roee Ariav, and an article that deals with the issue of so called ‘land grabbing’ in Sub-Saharan Africa, written by Semahagn Gashu Abebe.

GOJIL is an e-journal of legal scholarship focusing on International Law. It is the first German international law journal published exclusively in English and is run by students from the University of Goettingen.

Leveson Report on Culture, Practices and Ethics of the British Press

The recently-published judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson (Sir Brian Henry Leveson), is available here.

From the concluding page (paragraph 146) of the Executive Summary:

I end where I started this Summary. This is the seventh time in less than 70 years that the issues which have occupied my life since I was appointed in July 2011 have been addressed. No-one can think it makes any sense to contemplate an eighth. The ball is now in the court of the politicians. I expect my recommendations to be treated in exactly the same cross-party spirit which led to the setting up of this Inquiry. The Rt Hon Sir John Major put it graphically: “I have no idea what this Inquiry will recommend, but if it makes recommendations that require action, then I think it is infinitely more likely that that action will be carried into legislation if it has the support of the major parties. If it does not, if one party breaks off and decides it’s going to seek future favour with powerful proprietors and press barons by opposing it, then it will be very difficult for it to be carried into law, and I think that is something that is very important. So I think there is an especial responsibility on the leaders of the three major parties. 20-odd years ago – 23 years ago, I think – a senior minister said the press were drinking in the last-chance saloon. I think on this occasion it’s the politicians who are in the last-chance saloon. If, at the end of this Inquiry, with the recommendations that may be made – and I don’t seek to forecast what they may be, but if the recommendations that are made are not enacted and nothing is done, it is difficult to see how this matter could be returned to in any reasonable period of time, and those parts of the press which have behaved badly will continue to behave badly and put at a disadvantage those parts of the press that do not behave badly.

I reiterate: I think the underlying purpose is to eliminate the bad behaviour and bring the bad up to the level of the good, and the bad is just a cancer in the journalistic body. It isn’t the journalistic body as a whole. And I think in the interests of the best form of journalism, it is important that whatever is recommended is taken seriously by Parliament, and it is infinitely more likely to be enacted if neither of the major parties decides to play partisan short-term party politics with it by seeking to court the favour of an important media baron who may not like what is proposed.” FN29

FN 29 page 61 line 22 – page 62 line 21: Morning-Hearing-12-June-2012.pdf

For further information, see, e.g., here.

New Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) Issue on the Precursors to International Constitutionalism; Call for Papers for Next Issue on the Law and Politics of Indigenous Peoples in International Law

The Goettingen (Göttingen) Journal of International Law (GOJIL) has just published its most recent issue (Volume 4, Number 2) on the precursors to international constitutionalism, especially the development of the German constitutional approach, which is available here.

GOJIL is an e-journal of legal scholarship focusing on International Law. It is the first German international law journal published exclusively in English and is run by students from the University of Goettingen.

Call for Papers

The next issue of GOJIL (Volume 5, Number 1) will focus on the law and politics of indigenous peoples in international law.

Indigenous peoples have received increasing public and scholarly attention over the last decades. They have had a unique journey from colonial times to the beginning of their political presence in the United Nations since the 1970s to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. The UN’s International Year for the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993, as well as the following decades of the world’s indigenous peoples from 1995 to 2004 and 2006 to 2015, indicate the ongoing need to attend to indigenous peoples’ interests. Discourses on indigenous peoples rights and their claim for self-determination are now found beyond international human rights law. Today topics such as intellectual property rights, control over the exploitation of natural resources, the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are on the agenda. Underlying all this is the constant debate about an appropriate definition of “indigeneity” and the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights beyond the Americas, particularly in Asia and Africa. In order to shine a light on the legal and political problems indigenous peoples are facing, GOJIL calls for authors to submit papers on the topic by March 1, 2013. For more information, please email:

The superhero approach to legal research

We haven’t asked our students to buy a textbook in advanced legal research for a long time.  The existing books are just too darn expensive.  But a new book crossed my desk today that looks particularly useful for teaching legal research; it is:  The Law of Superheroes (catalog record copied below).

This book starts with three pages explaining “Legal Sources and Citations” that explain legal citation about as well as anything I’ve seen.  It also points the reader, presumably the lay reader, to sources of free law:  Google Scholar for legal opinions; Cornell’s LII for the United States Code.  Peter Martin is cited on page xiii, so this tells me the authors know their research!

Throughout the book are wonderful footnotes explaining, in the clearest language possible, different aspects of legal research.  For example, footnote #4 on p. 113:

. . . Restatements of law are scholarly works that attempt to set forth the majority position on particular areas of law or recommended changes to the majority position.  They mostly cover subjects that are still primarily common law rather than those based on legislation. The Restatements are not law themselves, but courts often find them persuasive, and many sections of various Restatements have been adopted as law by state courts.

The section on immigration (is Superman a citizen?) offers a great explanation of private laws:

Private Acts of Congress

There’s another way that someone can become a citizen without going through the immigration process: a “private act” of Congress, i.e., a law targeting a specific person and declaring him or her to be a citizen.[fn 9]  Although unusual today, private acts have a long history in the United States.[fn10]  . . . As a matter of fact, in at least one story, Superman is granted citizenship by every country in the world, presumably by their respective versions of a private act of Congress. . . .

9. . . . These bills are not very common, nor are they usually passed, but it happens.

10.  In fact, for decades after the founding of the country, private acts by state legislatures were the only way for a legitimate 9i.e., non-annullable) marriage to be dissolved.  Similarly, prior to the passage of general incorporation statutes, which create the procedures by which corporations may be chartered with state-level secretaries of state, creating a corporate entity required an act of the state legislature.

The sections on international and interplanetary law are really fun, and explain the very basics of “law” itself:

The important thing to remember about international law . . . is that international law is a matter of custom and practice as much as it is anything else.  This is true of domestic law as well, and is really the reason the common law exists: a “law” is, essentially, a custom or tradition that is enforced by a government.  In the case of common law that tradition is built up by the decisions of the courts. . . .

I may have more to add later, as I’m taking this book home with me for the Thanksgiving break.

Here’s its catalog record:

The law of superheroes / James E. Daily and Ryan M. Davidson.

At the Library:
Crown (Law) > Basement > PN56 .L33 D35 2012



Goettingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL) Call for Submissions for the GoJIL International Student Essay Competition 2012

Call for Submissions

The Goettingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL), founded in 2007, is currently seeking submissions for its 5th International Law Essay Competition. GoJIL is an e-journal of legal scholarship focusing on International Law. It is the first student-run German International Law journal published exclusively in English. The journal is available online and free of charge. If you win, your article will be published online and accessible.

To participate in the GoJIL International Student Essay Competition 2012, follow the following guidelines:

  • Topic: The Interplay of International and National Law”
  • Max. 3000 words
  • Microsoft Word format
  • Footnotes, rather than endnotes

The deadline is 15 August 2012.

For further details see the GoJIL website:

World Bank to Introduce Open Access Policy

The World Bank has announced today that it is introducing an Open Access (OA) policy. This will mandate that World Bank research outputs and knowledge products are deposited in a newly-created institutional repository called the Open Knowledge Repository (OKR), which will be freely accessible on the Internet.

For details, please see here.

Maplecroft Human Rights Risk Index 2012

Specialist multidisciplinary research (in risk intelligence and corporate responsibility) and advisory company Maplecroft, headquartered in Bath, England, has released its:

Human Rights Risk Map 2012

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.