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Pritzker Legal Research Center

International Legal Research Guide

An overview of international law and where to begin research


The secondary sources will cite relevant sources of international law. International law materials can be found on websites of intergovernmental organizations, through electronic databases such as HeinOnline, or in print format. 

Sources of International Law

The International Court of Justice sets out the sources of international law in Article 38 of the Statute of the ICJ in a hierarchical format as follows: 

Treaties, custom, and principles of law are sometimes referred to by lawyers and librarians with a common law background as "primary sources" of international law. Judicial decisions and the teachings of publicists are sometimes referred to as "secondary sources" or evidence of international law rules.