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Branch Committees

One of the unique features of the work of the International Law Association, including the national branches, is the work of the Committees. Currently, the American Branch has seventeen Committees headed by a Chair or Co-Chairs.

Each Chair, in consultation with Committee members, sets an agenda for the Committee and decides on projects that the Committee will undertake. The Chair also lays down a time frame for the completion of the project. Committee projects are diverse, ranging from multi-year academic studies (such as the recent book-length treatment of law of the sea terms and concepts undertaken by the Branch’s Law of the Sea Committee), to shorter academic analyses, to advocacy work (such as amicus briefs or congressional testimony about treaties or legislation). Although the American Branch as a whole does not take positions on current international law issues, the Branch’s committees may. Committee work product is published in the biennial Proceedings of the American Branch.

The American Branch encourages its members to propose new committees or to propose projects to be undertaken by an existing committee. Contact the Branch’s Co-Directors of Study, Chiara Giorgetti, and Peter Yu.

Currently, there are also twenty-three ILA Committees and ten Study Groups at the international level. For specific information, visit the Committees section of the ILA website.

If an International Committee is working in the same areas as the Branch Committee, the ABILA Committee may monitor, or elaborate on, the work of the International Committee or, alternatively, it may work in another area entirely.

Guidance for Committee Chairs

For guidance on committee chair responsibilities, please see Guidance For New Committee Chairs.pdf

For the approved procedures of the ABILA Committees, please see AB_ILA_Committee_Procedures_Approved.pdf

Other Branch Committee Activities

Over the years the Branch Committees have engaged in a variety of activities apart from formal reports. They often sponsor panels at the International Law Weekend and International Law Weekend West. Many of the papers presented at the panels are then published in the ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law.

Committees also sponsor meetings on a particular theme with one or more speakers. Sometimes Committees have filed amicus briefs in important cases that raise issues of relevance to the Committee’s work or they may undertake joint projects with other organizations with similar interests.

Student Assistance to Committees Coordinated by ILSA

The Branch has recently entered into an agreement with the International Law Students Association (ILSA) whereby Committee Chairs can request student assistance in helping prepare reports.

ILSA circulates the Chairs’ requests to its student members and matches applicants with the Committee requests.

For more information, see the Jobs and Internships section of the ILSA website.

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