Skip to Main Content

International Law: Sources of Law

Create from Seton Hall Law Guide located at:

General Assembly

According to the United Nation's website "The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.

Security Council

The Security Council has primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security. Chapters V-VII, Articles 23-54, of the UN Charter concern the Security Council.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  According to the U.N.'s website, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue, and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals."  In addition, it also coordinates the work of specialized agencies.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations, was established in 1945 as a product of the drafting of the Charter of the United Nations. The Court’s constitutive statute was subsequently annexed to the Charter. All members of the U.N. are ipso facto parties to the statute of the Court ( See Art. 93(1), UN Charter). A state which is not a member of the U.N. may become a party to the Statute of the ICJ on conditions determined by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. (See Art . 93(2), UN Charter).


Finding UN Documents

  • In order to locate a relevant UN document, you need the document symbol. Each UN document has a unique symbol at the top right of the document or on the cover page. All language versions of a document have the same symbol.  Refer to the Dag Hammarskjold Library for a guide to the symbols that make up a UN Document Symbol. 
  • To search UN documents by keywords use: 

Tip - When searching for  UN publications by document number, resolutions, reports, meeting and voting records, letters, subject, or UN body consult the Research Guide compiled by the librarians at the Dag Hammarskjold Library at the United Nations: How to Find UN Documents.

Tip - When you have the UN Document Symbol, the easiest way to download the full text is to add the symbol to the following URL:http// For example  But, not all documents have been digitized and scanned into the ODS system. 

Additional Websites

In addition to the links listed on the column to the left, other websites to consult when trying to locate United Nations documents include: 

Suggestions for Catalog/Database Searching

Suggested Subject Hearings 

  • International Court of Justice
  • International Organization
  • United Nations
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council
  • United Nations General Assembly
  • United Nations Security Council

Suggested Keyword Searches

  • Economic and Social Council
  • General Assembly
  • International Court of Justice
  • International Organization
  • Security Council