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
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