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Marine Environmental Law Research Guide: Research Strategies

A comprehensive legal research guide on the international control, regulation and enforcement of pollution on the High Seas, created by Reed Elcott.

Getting Started

This research guide provides a basic tutorial for primary and seconday sources on the regulation of International Marine Pollution.  Thre primary sources are comprised of a handful of treaties administered by the International Maritime Organization; an international organization created by U.N. mandate.  Secondary sources include legal journals, books, treatises and online web guides.

It is a good idea for researchers to gain some basic familiarity with the subject of interest.  A basic web search using the term 'marine pollution' yields several helpful results.  Despite the critical importance of marine pollution to global ecological integrity, there are very few legal research guides currently available.  Therefore, researchers may want to begin by browsing the resources available under Secondary Sources.

Locating Primary Sources

Unlike the U.N. Treaty Database, the International Maritime Organization Library is the go to site for marine pollution research.  Also visit the IMO Marine Environment Summary Page and the IMO Environment Brochure for additional insight and to narrow your focus.  For a more detailed tutorial on treaty-based research, please the Brooklyn Law School Treaty Research Guide created by Professor Jean Davis.

Locating Seconday Sources

FIRST: Using the list of suggest search terms to the right, conduct a search of your legal library collection (if available) for helpful texts and treatises on the subject.

SECOND: Visis Harold O'Grady's Locating Articles and Keeping Current research guide for a quick tutorial on preferred periodical resources.

Suggested Search Terms

The following search terms yield a plethora of informative results from most legal resources:

Marine pollution

Maritime law

Oil pollution of the sea

Oil spills -- prevention


Nonindigenous aquatic pests -- Control

Ballast pollution

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Here are a few suggested subject headings to help you search SARAWorldCat, and other library catalogues:

Marine pollution -- laws and legislation

Oil Pollution

Pollution -- prevention

International Law Primers and Research Guides

It's always good to have some basic reference material around.

United Nations International Law Page

Cornell University Legal Information Institute