Chapter 2: Sources of international law

A video tutorial from author Gleider Hernández introducing the topics in chapter 2 of International Law

Key points for reflection:

  • Identifying sources within and beyond Article 38
  • Primary sources: themselves establish the validity of a rule
  • Secondary/material sources: provide evidence of the existence of a rule—but its validity depends on a further source
  • Who is empowered to make, interpret, or change international law?
  • Treaties: written agreements consented to between States
  • Custom: the practices of States if consistent and uniform, if backed up by the requisite belief that they are required
  • General principles: in fact cut across national legal orders, must be common across different legal traditions as well
  • Other sources: often influential without being determinative:
    • Judicial decisions
    • Academic writings
    • The work of bodies such as the International Law Commission
    • Resolutions of international organisations