A Guide to International Law

International law is the set of rules accepted by various countries, binding them in agreement to what policies they will all follow. International rules between countries will serve as a framework for the practice of international relations.

Unlike most other areas of law, international law has no defined area of governing body. The piecemeal collection of international law will encompass customs, agreements, treaties, tribunals, legal precedents from international courts and more.

International law varies from state-based legal systems in that it is not applied on an individual basis, but to countries as a whole. The first step to creating an international law is to obtain jurisdiction over a country. The Geneva Convention is the main source of international laws, which are enforced by international courts. These laws will be treated like your traditional national law when a country signs a specific treaty. The difficult aspect about this is that a country will need to consent to be governed by a law.

Although there is no definitive governing body overseeing international law, the United Nations is the most widely recognized and influential international organization, with the International Court of Justice being its judicial counterpart.

Public international laws are concerned with questions of rights between nations or nations and the citizens of other nations. On the other hand, private international law deals with controversies between private persons or natural born citizens that have significant relationships to more than one nation. Additionally, there are always the international business laws between companies that do business in more than one country.

International law will cover basic concepts that every national legal system will such as property, torts, procedure and remedies. However, the main substantive law is: international economic law, security law, criminal law, environmental law, diplomatic law, humanitarian and human rights law.

International laws cover a myriad of legal concepts coming from a number of sources. Understanding what customs or national laws as well as what international laws will apply to your business or even as an individual traveling is essential.

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