International Law for Lawyers

상간녀소송 Lawyers working in today’s world have a growing exposure to international legal issues. The reasons for this include a large number of international corporations and increasing trade across national borders.


International law is a set of rules and norms that govern international relations. It deals with subjects like war and diplomacy, trade, environmental protection and human rights.


International law is a body of rules and norms that facilitate the conduct of states, international organizations and, in some cases, individuals, in their relations with each other. It is distinct from the field of international comity, which comprises legally nonbinding practices adopted by states for reasons of courtesy (e.g., saluting the flags of foreign warships at sea). International law also differs from domestic legal systems in that it is largely a system of recommendations rather than binding law. In very special circumstances, the resolutions of international organizations may be binding, such as when the United Nations Security Council authorizes sanctions under Chapter VII of its Charter in response to an act of aggression or other threats to peace and security.

The earliest forms of international law were created as soon as different, independent states emerged in the world. This early international law was based on treaties and covenants between states, but today, it extends to international organizations and even to individual people, in the case of international human rights law or criminal law, who are now direct subjects of this law with recognized rights and duties.

The International Law Commission, the Australian Government’s advisory body on international law, defines international law as “a system of laws made by and applied in the sovereign states of the world and their inter-state relationships.” It includes the customary law – state practice that is consistent with opinio juris – and legal codes. It also includes the decisions of international tribunals such as the International Court of Justice.


Every society makes a legal framework within which it operates. These laws, referred to as domestic laws, determine the rights and duties of individuals living in that society.

International law, also called supranational law, sets rules concerning all mankind (public international law) as well as international organizations like the United Nations and World Trade Organization (private international law). These laws are found in treaties, conventions, declarations, agreements, customs and other sources. They enable worldwide telecommunications and postal networks; universal recognition of time standards; improved weather forecasting; safer automobiles, airplanes and ships; the sharing of information about the origin of our food and other products; protection of software, literary and artistic works; and the pursuit of war criminals, terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers among other things.

Although states are still the major players and principal makers of international law, a wide range of other actors engage in the pronunciation, interpretation and dissemination of international norms. These include specialized agencies and their staff, intergovernmental organisations and their bodies and organs, regional and local courts and tribunals, non-governmental organisations and even individual groups or persons, often known as ‘norm entrepreneurs’. All of these act with or without the consent of states and often compete with, rather than substitute for, a state’s own efforts. They also tend to reinforce the value of a stable system of internationally accepted rules in promoting stability and peace.


While some scholars disagree about the precise nature of international law and how it relates to domestic legal systems, most agree that the existence of international law makes it more likely that states will feel obligated to comply with its rules. This phenomenon is known as internalization of international law. The way in which international laws are interpreted, used and relied on by states will have an impact on their internalization. The form that international law takes, the cultural perceptions of its validity and the hierarchy of sources of law are all factors that influence this process.

A state’s ability to ratify treaties or accede to international law will have an impact on its internalization. Those states that have Western legal traditions, for example, may be more inclined to internalize international laws because the language, format and ideas of these rules closely mirror their own. This does not mean that the internalization of international law is automatic for these states; it still requires a significant amount of work to make these principles part of the societal perception of law.

Neorealists pay little attention to the process of internalization or how international law shapes state behavior, arguing that it has no independent binding authority. However, consistent rule violations, especially those that violate peremptory norms, are generally understood to harm the violator by making it less credible as a partner in the international community of states and international organizations.


A growing body of international law has emerged to regulate relations between nations and the behaviour of individuals outside of their sovereign territory. International law covers themes such as war, diplomacy, trade and human rights. It can be derived from customary international law, treaties and general principles of law recognised by systems of national law. It may also cover the legislation of international governmental organisations (IGOs), such as the United Nations or European Union.

A country that violates a convention, treaty or agreement can be sanctioned by other states and subject to coercive actions ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to war. However, the United Nations Charter explicitly recognises that countries retain sovereignty over their internal affairs and are free to abide by or not to abide by the international legal system as they see fit.

Norms of international law pervade global affairs in areas that are less well-known than the protection of human rights, humanitarian intervention and the fight against terrorism. These include border control, the determination of flight and navigation routes, internet regulation, industrial standards and cross-border environmental hazards. In addition, private international law governs the relationships between a person or juridical entity from one country and a corporation, association or partnership from another country, such as an insurance policy. This is known as a conflict of laws.