FCIL Newsletter, May 2000, ASIL meeting

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FCIL Newsletter

volume 14, number 3
May 2000


In the Spotlight: The American Society of International Law�s (ASIL)
 April 2000 AnnualMeeting
Jean Davis, FCIL-SIS Vice-Chair/Chair-elect
Brooklyn Law School


For the first time, all can enjoy highlights of ASIL�s recent annual meeting: �International Law in Ferment: A New Vision for Theory and Practice.�  ASIL�s photos and descriptions of conference events, summaries of meeting panels, and �contests of the day�  appear at Extra! Extra! Read All About It  http://www.asil.org/annual_meeting/am2000.htm.

At an Electronic Resources Breakfast for information professionals, Jill Watson (Director of Library and Information Resources, ASIL) and Marci Hoffman (International and Foreign Law Librarian, Edward Bennett Williams Library, Georgetown University Law Center)  described:

1) the upcoming redesign of ASIL�s web site;
2) issues regarding the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law; and
3) plans to develop an Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL).

In future, international law news and core sources will appear on ASIL�s home page.  From this page, one will be able to rapidly track a topic such as international criminal law or human rights.  A user will be able to provide background data and then to identify ASIL products and services tailored to the user�s needs.  Interest Group resources and the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law will be �up front� and easy to access.

Marci outlined the history and purpose of the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law.  She raised and led discussion of key issues regarding the Electronic Resources project, such as: selecting pertinent guide topics; presenting guides in an easy-to-use format; updating data; sparking researchers� interest in the guides; and maintaining authors� interest in their products.

Jill also informed the audience about ASIL�s developing EISIL.  EISIL likely will have:

1) a web-based, subject-oriented, hyperlinked index to international law, initially focusing on primary documents;
2) a �Best [Web] Sites� guide that will expand on the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law; and
3) analysis and commentary, culled from ASIL publications like the American Journal of International Law.

Following these presentations, Charlotte Ku (Executive Vice President and Executive Director, ASIL) invited information professionals to introduce themselves, to discuss their work, and to comment on ASIL�s existing web site and planned redesign.  All present appreciated this opportunity!  Jeanne Rehberg (Special Assistant to the Director and Reference Librarian for International and Foreign Law, New York University School of Law Library) praised the excellent Electronic Resources guides and other materials currently available through http://www.asil.org.   Stefanie Weigmann (Senior Reference Librarian, Pappas Law Library, Boston University School of Law) spoke in favor of including print and electronic sources in research guides.  Mirela Roznovschi (Reference Librarian for Foreign and International Law, New York University School of Law Library) initiated discussion on the need to apply standards when designing web databases.  To learn more about existing standards, consult Mirela�s valuable work, Evaluating Foreign and International Legal Databases on the Internet and Checklists I and II at http://www.law.nyu.edu/library/foreign_intl/index.html.  Lyonette Louis-Jacques (Foreign and International Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law, D�Angelo Law Library, University of Chicago Law School) discussed her new web page, International Corporate Governance: Resources.  To review this page, and her many other helpful web resources, access http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/~llou/.  Silke Sahl (Reference Librarian for International, Foreign and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School Library) described her participation in a documents project concerning the Nuremberg trials of major German war criminals.  Silke and Stefanie are guiding the FCIL-SIS Education Committee in developing a German legal research program proposal for AALL�s 2001 Annual Meeting.  Maria Smolka-Day (Associate Director for Foreign and International Law, and Lecturer, Biddle Law Library, University of Pennsylvania Law School) offered to aid librarians who seek English translations of Polish legal materials.  In future, her Polish law project results will appear at http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/.  Louise Tsang (Reference Librarian, York University Law Library, Toronto, Ontario) made many aware of:

1) her valuable �Overview of Sources of Canadian Law on the Web� at LLRX.com http://www.llrx.com; and
2) her contributions to Women�s Human Rights Resources http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/diana/, a part of the DIANA international human rights database.  Over twenty librarians provided insight into their exciting work.

At ASIL�s Innovations in Teaching International Law Interest Group meeting, Marci and I shared �A New Vision for International Law Instruction: Changing Roles/Relationships of Professors, Librarians, and Students.�  A compilation of related web sources appears at http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/intl/presentations/teachingintlaw.htm and at http://brkl.brooklaw.edu/screens/marci.html.  At this presentation, we provided examples of how law schools are integrating international law and international legal research into their curricula.  Marci and I noted librarians� efforts to support this integration.  We highlighted materials created for, and techniques used in, IFLR courses.  We also displayed resources developed for other law school programs, such as the Asylum Case Research Guide http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/intl/cals/asylumresearch.htm prepared for students in the Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center.  I am inspired by the research guides developed by the International and Foreign Law Department of the Edward Bennett Williams Library, Georgetown University Law Center!

An article on teaching international legal research will appear in a forthcoming issue of Legal Reference Services Quarterly.  I collaborated on this article with a terrific triumvirate: Stefanie; Victoria Szymczak (Electronic Information Specialist and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School); and FCIL-SIS Chair Katherine Topulos (Reference Librarian and Foreign and International Law Specialist, Duke University School of Law Library).  One can access our course pages from the previously described compilation of web sources and from the web page of the FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign and International Law Research Interest Group at http://www.law.lsu.edu/library/aall/index_aall.htm.  Those who have encouraged Victoria and me to add THE GAMES to our course page -- check out http://www.wcbcourses.com/wcb/schools/LEXIS/law06/vszymcza/19/files/madness.html and http://www.idrive.com/vszymczak/files/shared/.

It was a pleasure to address members of the International Law Students Association (ILSA) with Diane Penneys Edelman (Professor and Co-Director of the Legal Writing Program, Villanova University School of Law).  Our topic was �Researching and Preparing a Persuasive Written and Oral Argument for International Law Moot Court Students.�  Among the sources that I emphasized were: ASIL�s Careers in International Law: Your Indispensable Guide to Career Paths and Internships in International Law; Mark Janis�s An Introduction to International Law (a student handbook); the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law; Victoria�s and my Introduction to International Law Research at  http://brkl.brooklaw.edu/screens/rgintl.html; and Mirela�s Guide to Foreign and International Legal Databases at http://www.law.nyu.edu/library/foreign_intl/index.html.  Diane made me aware of The Project on International Courts and Tribunals http://www.pict-pcti.org/ and the list of prior Jessup international moot court competition topics in the Jessup Reporter.  As Diane described how to frame �questions presented,� structure point headings, and present and respond to arguments, I realized that the audience would be able to apply her excellent remarks throughout their legal careers.  Good luck to Jason Ravnsborg and other students at the University of South Dakota School of Law who are working to �get Jessup up and running�!  The ILSA presentation conflicted with the famed �librarians dutch treat lunch,� but I know that over twenty librarians responded to Katherine�s invitation.

During the ASIL conference, I also attended excellent international arbitration programs.  Panelists Antonio Parra (Deputy Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)1), Daniel Price, and Robert Volterra discussed ICSID�s role, as the number of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in force has increased to over 1,500.  Price noted the broad definition of �investment� in many BITs.  He outlined various types of investment disputes: disagreements arising out of an alleged breach of the BIT, an investment agreement, or an investment authorization.  Price then focused on procedures for resolving investor-state disputes.  Using Article IX of the United States-El Salvador BIT as an example, Price urged careful selection of an available procedure for resolving an investor-state dispute.  Under Article IX, 1) submitting a dispute to local courts or administrative tribunals of the BIT party that is a party to the dispute, or 2) choosing a previously agreed upon dispute settlement procedure (example: International Chamber of Commerce arbitration) results in losing ICSID as a forum for dispute resolution.  Volterra�s remarks sparked an interesting discussion on the validity of a state �carving out� provisions from a BIT to avoid using ICSID as a dispute resolution forum.  When he returns from a business trip abroad, Volterra kindly will provide me with the citations to the cases that he mentioned.

Following this program, ICSID exhibitors provided me with a helpful overview: Shihata and Parra, �The Experience of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes� (14 ICSID REVIEW � Foreign Investment Law Journal 299 (Fall 1999)).  They also directed me to Christoph Schreuer�s �Commentary on the ICSID Convention� (published in vols. 12-14 of ICSID REVIEW ).  These exhibitors reminded me of the materials available through http://www.worldbank.org/icsid/, including: ICSID Basic Documents and Rules Governing the Additional Facility...; ICSID Bibliography (which contains citations to many 1999 publications);  a list of contracting states and other signatories to the ICSID Convention; lists of pending and concluded cases; texts of recent decisions and awards; Bilateral Investment Treaties: Bibliography; a chronological list of BITs; and a list of parties to BITs.

The next day, a panel that included Eric Posner and Nathalie Voser discussed whether national courts, or other bodies, should be able to review international commercial arbitration awards.  On an international level, Voser favors harmonizing and limiting grounds for setting aside an arbitration award in the state of origin.  Panel Chair Lucy Reed (Freshfields, New York) offered to provide attendees with Voser�s accompanying paper discussing the current situation in Europe concerning reviewability of arbitration awards and Voser�s proposals to avoid results like those in the 1988 Hilmarton case.  Posner�s article, �Arbitration and the Harmonization of International Commercial Law: A Defense of Mitsubishi,� appears in 39 Virginia Journal of International Law 647 (Spring 1999).

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Steven Roses, Carswell�s U.S. Account Representative, for hosting an FCIL-SIS leadership lunch at ASIL�s Annual Meeting!  (I hope this entices YOU to serve as a future FCIL-SIS officer...)    -----------------------------------------
1 The Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of March 18, 1965 (575 U.N.T.S. 159) created ICSID.  As outlined in this Convention, ICSID offers facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes between contracting states and nationals of other contracting states.  ICSID also has an �additional facility� for administering conciliation, arbitration, and fact-finding proceedings that are outside of this Convention�s scope.  There are Rules Governing the Additional Facility for the Administration of Proceedings by the Secretariat of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.



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