International law is the system of law that governs the broad range of activities that occur between and among nations. Since this body of law applies to multiple nations, it also comes from multiple sources.
The main sources of international law are outlined in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial arm of the United Nations. When attempting to settle a dispute between or among nations, the Court considers the following sources to reach a decision:
- International conventions (usually called treaties)
- Case law from international, regional or national courts, or from international tribunals
- Scholarly writings on various areas of the law, from different nations
- International custom, or general practices accepted as law among nations of the world
- General principles of law acknowledged among these nations
This guide provides an introduction to the numerous sources of international law, and to the process of conducting research in this area. For further assistance, please contact Email a Librarian, or visit the Government Documents and Microforms Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of Mitchell Memorial Library.