Sources of international law refers to where states, organizations, individuals and courts can find principles of international law. One broadly accepted definition of sources of international law includes Article 38 of the ICJ Treaty. According to this article, the International Court of Justice shall apply the following sources of law, ranked in order of precedence:
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.