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International Family Law

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) identifies the sources of international law in the ICJ Statute, Article 38 which reads:

1. The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:

a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;

b. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;

c. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;

d. subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.

2. This provision shall not prejudice the power of the Court to decide a case ex aequo et bono, if the parties agree thereto.



Where can you find primary sources of international law

The primary sources you will use are:

  • Treaties
  • Customary International Law
  • Principles of International Law
  • Writings of Publicists
  • Judicial Decisions
  • Non-Legally Binding Instruments

Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL)


  • Citations - UNTS, UST, STAT, TIAS, KAV, . . .
  • Search EISIL or Google for the official treaty/convention website
  • HeinOnline - International Treaties and Agreements Library
  • An Introduction to Treaty Research
  • Council of Europe - The text of all Council of Europe treaties, their explanatory reports, the status of signatures and ratifications, the declarations and reservations made by States, as well as the notifications issued by the Treaty Office since 2000, are available on this website.

International Law Reports -  Decisions of selected international and national courts.

International & Regional Court/Tribunal Websites