UK Treaties Online (UKTO) provides an official record of the UK's treaty obligations under international law and is sourced by the Treaty Section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. UKTO gives access to information on over 14,000 treaties to which the UK is or has been a party.
UKTO is housed on the Government’s website, and is freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection at https://treaties.fco.gov.uk/responsive/app/consolidatedSearch/
The UKTO database contains records of treaties published since the nineteenth century and links to their texts published as Command Papers in the UK Treaty Series from 1892 to present, and of all treaties regardless of how published since 1997. Returned records include information such as full title, signatories, dates of signature and entry into force, subject headings and details of official publication.
Some very recent treaties may have only brief details – for such items please go to ‘Treaty Command Papers’ at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-treaties#treaty-command-papers . Treaties from prior to 1892 may only brief details and an index entry.
Searches are performed over both the metadata attached to the treaty and within the text of the treaty PDF itself. From the homepage there is a single search box, which is defaulted to a natural language search – for more precise searching and for the ability to use Boolean logic click the ‘advanced search’ button. The advanced search screen still has the free text search box, but you can now use the dropdown next to it to default it to Boolean, and also various other options (about which further information is provided in the user guide).
In addition to the free text box at the top right of the screen, the advanced search page also offers a field search on the left. Fields provided include title, date of signature/entry into force, place of signature, and further fields can be added. Combining search terms in the left side boxes with the letterbox to the right will provide hits only where those terms appear in both the metadata and PDFs. If the terms appear in just one then no hits will show. The common terms are often restricted to the treaty title.
It is possible to print, download and email yourself results. From the results screen, check the box next to each of the results you want, then click the blue arrow in the top right of the screen. You will then be invited to choose between downloading, printing or emailing the results. You can also choose to download/print/email individual records once you have opened them, as the same blue arrow will still be in the top right of the screen. There is no in-built functionality for saving/emailing the actual treaty command paper PDFs, however they can all be downloaded to your device and then saved to USB key/ attached to an email in the usual way.
A detailed help guide, entitled ‘User Guide’, is available directly from the homepage. This covers all areas of search style and strategy, the use of Boolean operators, and how to use the various fields. A separate guide called ‘Hints and search examples’ provides useful guidance on retrieving specific types of information. Contact details for the Treaty Enquiry Service are also provided from the homepage.