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Fundamentals of International Law Origins of International law.

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1 Fundamentals of International Law Origins of International law

2 Some legal scholars have questioned whether there is really such a thing as international law. Those questioning the existence of a true body of international law typically cite the fact that there is:- 1)No single legislative source, 2)No single court or judicial body assigned to interpreting such law, and 3)No single executive organization or branch with authority to enforce international law. Despite these questions, there is widespread acceptance that a body of international law exists and continues to become increasingly relevant in todays more connected world.

3 Origins/Sources of International Law There are 5 widely recognized sources of international law:- Treaties Conventions Custom Court decisions and treatises General Law

4 Treaties- agreements between sovereign nations that have been formally adopted under the laws of each nation involved. They may be bilateral when they involve two nations or multilateral when they involve multiple nations. Conventions- are a form of treaties. The distinction is that a convention is sponsored by an international organization. For that reason, conventions typically have many nations involved as signatories. Custom- a course of dealing that develops over time between nations. For custom to rise to the level of international law, it must be established that:- 1)The custom has been consistently applied in the nations dealings for a substantial length of time and 2)The nations involved have come to treat the custom as law between them.

5 Court decisions and treatises by noted legal scholars also create a source of international law. Although international courts are not bound by their previous decisions (there is no doctrine of stare decisis), they often turn to past decisions and the writings of experts in the law to help shape opinions in particular cases. General law is a body of law that emanates from the general principles of common and statutory law developed by civilized nations. It is hard to get a precise fix on where these general principles of law might be derived in any given case. However, in the absence of treaties, conventions, or customs directly addressing an issue, international courts may turn to this nebulous source of international law for guidance.

6 Quiz Discuss five sources of international law. (5marks) Distinguish between i.A treaty and a convention. (1mark) ii.Treatise and treaties. (1mark)

7 Take Home Message Great men are little men expanded; great lives are ordinary lives intensified. Wilfred A. Peterson

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