International law

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on international law. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
24.05.2016ISIS/Daesh: the military response in Iraq and Syria
US-led air strikes against ISIS continue in Iraq and Syria, alongside a training programme to build the capacity of Iraqi security forces and local fighters. The UK has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since September 2014 and has been providing training assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Following a vote in Parliament in December 2015 the UK expanded its air campaign into Syria. How is the campaign progressing?
20.04.2016Disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory: April 2016 update
This briefing describes the main developments since mid-2013 in long-running disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). A UK Government decision on Chagossian resettlement is pending. The status of the Marine Protected Area is contested. There has been no progress on sovereignty. The future of the US military base on Diego Garcia must be decided by the end of the year. Meanwhile, there continues to be litigation in the English courts.
15.04.2016Declaring Daesh massacres 'genocide'
The House of Commons will debate a motion calling on the Government to recognise ISIS/Daesh killings as 'genocide'.
08.04.2016EU Referendum: the process of leaving the EU
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at some of the issues that are likely to arise for the UK during a withdrawal process and afterwards. A UK vote to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 would trigger an untested procedure for withdrawal. There could be a complex and difficult negotiation lasting two years or more, or the UK could leave without settling its exit terms or its future relationship with the EU.
29.03.2016EU external agreements: EU and UK procedures
This Commons Library briefing looks at the procedures and some of the problems linked to treaty negotiation and ratification in the EU and the Member States, with particular reference to the UK. The EU concludes many international agreements with third States or international organisations. How does the EU negotiate these agreements and how does the UK scrutinise and ratify them?
14.03.2016War and peace in South Sudan: March 2016 update
South Sudan has been embroiled in a brutal civil war involving immense human suffering since December 2013. After numerous false starts, a peace deal was agreed in August 2015, but important elements are yet to be implemented.
02.03.2016Commons Library analysis: Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16
The Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 has its second reading on 7 March 2016. It includes provisions covering collaboration between police and fire services; reforms to the police complaints and discipline systems; new safeguards for pre-charge bail; powers for police staff and volunteers; and changes to firearms law. This briefing analyses the Bill and the policy background, and provides some relevant comment.
12.02.2016EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU: would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
12.02.2016EU referendum: UK proposals, legal impact of an exit and alternatives to membership
This paper considers the background to the EU referendum, the withdrawal process, various legal and constitutional issues and possible alternatives to EU membership. What might the impact be of a decision to leave the EU? How would the UK leave? Would the UK join a different grouping of states or go it alone? Would EU or UK citizens or businesses have any vested rights?
10.02.2016The UN Inquiry into the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the UK
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is conducting an inquiry into the impact of the UK Government's policies on people with disabilities in relation to their human rights obligations. This briefing paper provides information on the Committee, details of the inquiry and an overview of the Government's policies in relation to people with disabilities.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
27.05.2016Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages
This House of Lords Library briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords' consideration of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL].
12.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016 Day 2: Foreign and European Affairs, International Development and Defence
The House of Lords is due to debate the Queen's Speech over four days between 19 and 25 May 2016. This briefing is one of four prepared by the House of Lords Library to cover the themes of each day of debate.
30.10.2015Impact of Pornography on Society
This Library Note has been prepared in advance of the debate in the House of Lords on 5 November 2015 on the impact of pornography on society. This Note provides information on the definition of pornography and the current law on pornography. It also gives reference to recent evidence and a selection of key issues that have been raised in relation to the impact of pornography on both children and adults.
10.09.2015Treatment of LGBTI Citizens Worldwide
This Library Note has been written to support the House of Lords debate on the global treatment of LGBTI citizens.
10.07.2015The 'Responsibility to Protect' and the Application of this International Norm by the UK and the UN
This Library Note provides background information on the 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P) concept; surveys instances in which the concept has been either invoked or considered by the UN Security Council; and summarises challenges to the concept and the position of the UK Government on the doctrine. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject scheduled to take place on 16 July 2015.
01.11.2013Debate on 7 November: The Armed Forces and Legal Challenge
This Note looks at some of the issues raised by legal challenges to the Armed Forces.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
15.12.2015UK Commercial Space Activities
The UK space industry had a turnover of 11.8bn in 2012/13.1 By 2030, the UK Government and industry want this to grow to 40bn. In December 2015 the Government published the UK's first National Space Policy, which sets out its vision for achieving growth. This POSTnote describes the UK space industry and potential barriers to growth.
22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
25.09.2015Deep Sea Mining
In March 2013, the Prime Minister said that deep-sea mining could be worth 40bn to the UK over the next 30 years. This briefing summarises the framework governing activity in international waters. It also describes the mineral deposit types being considered and the proposed extraction methods, potential environmental effects and mitigation options.
08.08.2014Alternative Currencies
This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.
01.12.1990Proliferation control
This POSTnote reviews technical aspects relevant to improving international control over the spread of sophisticated weaponry. POSTnote 19. POST. 1990.

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
23.11.2011AMENDMENT OF THE ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
That this House notes the amendment to the 1998 Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) adopted on 12 June 2010 in Kampala defining the Crime of Aggression; further ...
14.12.2010DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN ISRAEL
That this House notes with grave concern that every year Israel prosecutes an average of 700 Palestinian children from the occupied West Bank in military courts; further notes that ...
02.06.2010ISRAEL AND GAZA FLOTILLA
That this House is appalled by the loss of life associated with Israel's attack on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza; notes that UK and other nationals have been ...
24.03.2010INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT AND THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
That this House notes the forthcoming meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in May 2010 in Kampala to reach an international agreement ...
18.01.2010CHANGES TO LEGISLATION ON UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION
That this House opposes any proposed changes to UK legislation on universal jurisdiction that would compromise the UK's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention to seek out and ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses