Generally speaking, international law consists of rules and principles that govern the relations and dealings of nations with one another, as well as the relations between states and individuals, and the relations between international organisations, among other things.
All of public international law’s concerns are with questions of rights that arise between different countries or between different countries and the citizens or subjects of other countries. Private international law, on the other hand, is concerned with disputes involving private individuals. These controversies arise as a result of events that have a significant impact on a number of different countries at once. The distinction between public international law and private international law has become increasingly blurred in recent years. Disputes concerning private international law may also involve questions pertaining to publicly regulated international affairs, and many issues concerning private international law bear a significant international significance.
International Law’s Various Domains
International law encompasses the fundamental, traditional concepts of law found in national legal systems (i.e. statutes, property law, tort law, etc). This includes substantive law, procedural law, due process and restitution, amongst other things. The following are some of the most important substantive areas of international law:
- Economic law on a global scale
- The International Convention on the Protection of Civilian and Military Personnel
- Criminal law on a global scale
- Environmental law at the international level
- Legal etiquette in international affairs
- International humanitarian law, also known as the law of war, is a body of rules that governs the treatment of civilians during wartime.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child International Human Rights Law
- International Law’s Origins and Sources
Customary law and conventional law are the two most important sources of international legal authority.
A customary international law is formed when states follow a set of practises in a systematic and consistent manner out of an understanding of their legal obligations. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties has recently codified customary law, which was previously uncodified. It is derived from international conventions and can take on any form that the contracting parties agree upon. These contracting parties, on the other hand, are not permitted to break the rules of international law.
International agreements function in a similar way to contract law in the United States in that they create law for the parties to the agreement. In the same way that international law has authority, customary law and laws created through international agreements (such as those passed by the United Nations) have equal standing. By agreement, private or public parties can give a higher priority to one of the sources over the others.
It is possible for general principles that are shared by different systems of national law to serve as a secondary source of international law. When it comes to international law, there are situations in which neither conventional nor customary international law can be applied. The application of a general principle as a rule of international law may be appropriate in these circumstances.
Those who are concerned with international law
Traditionally, individual countries have been the primary subjects of international legal proceedings. Individuals and non-state international organisations (NGOs) are increasingly becoming subject to international law and regulatory oversight.
The United States of America and the Rule of Law
Unless there is a specific statute or treaty that states otherwise, the laws of other countries are generally respected by the United States. When international law is applied to questions of international rights and obligations, it is typically considered a part of U.S. law only in the context of the application of its principles. International law, on the other hand, does not prevent the United States or any other country from enacting legislation that governs its own territory. According to international law, a State of the United States is not considered a “state,” because the Constitution does not confer authority on any of the 50 states to manage their own foreign affairs.