International Law Law and Legal Definition

International law encompasses treaties between countries; multi-lateral agreements; some commissions covering particular subjects, such as whaling or copyrights; procedures and precedents of the International Court of Justice ("World Court") which only has jurisdiction when countries agree to appear; the United Nations Charter; and custom. Recently the customary law was codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. There is no specific body of law which governs the relations of all nations. Public international law deals with rights between several nations or nations and the citizens or subjects of other nations. In contrast, private international law deals with controversies between private persons, arising out of situations having significant relationship to more than one nation.

International law includes the basic, classic concepts of law in national legal systems and includes substantive law, procedure, process and remedies. Conventional international law derives from international agreements and may take any form that the contracting parties agree upon. Agreements may be made in respect to any matter except to the extent that the agreement conflicts with the rules of international law incorporating basic standards of international conduct or the obligations of a member state under the Charter of the United Nations. The United Nations, is the most influential international organization, and was created on June 26, 1945. The declared purposes of United Nations are to maintain peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of the nations and attaining their common ends. The Charter of the United Nations has been adhered to by virtually all states. Even the few remaining non-member states have adhered tp the principles it established. The International Court of Justice is established by the UN Charter as its principal judicial organ.

Customary law and law made by by international agreement have the same authority as international law. International law is a part of the law only applies in the United States on questions of international rights and duties. It does not restrict the United States or any other nation from making laws governing its own territory. States individually are without authority to conduct foreign relations on their own. International law only applies to nationals of the nations which are parties to the governing agreements.