International law

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Summary

International law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in relations between states and between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. International law differs from state-based legal systems in that it is primarily applicable to countries rather than to private citizens. National law may become international law when treaties delegate national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court. Treaties such as the Geneva Conventions may require national law to conform.

Details

Much of international law is consent-based governance. This means that a state member of the international community is not obliged to abide by this type of international law, unless it has expressly consented to a particular course of conduct. This is an issue of state sovereignty. However, other aspects of international law are not consent-based but still are obligatory upon state and non-state actors such as customary international law and peremptory norms (jus cogens).

The term "international law" can refer to three distinct legal disciplines:

  • Private international law, or conflict of laws, which addresses the questions of (1) which jurisdiction may hear a case, and (2) the law concerning which jurisdiction applies to the issues in the case.
  • Supranational law or the law of supranational organizations, which concerns regional agreements where the laws of nation states may be held inapplicable when conflicting with a supranational legal system when that nation has a treaty obligation to a supranational collective.

The two traditional branches of the field are:

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External Links

  • WikipediaUN International LawUnited Nations Rule of LawUNOG Library Legal Research GuideCentre for International Law (CIL), SingaporeInternational law overview

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