Study International Law in China Universities, international law degree programs

International Law
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International law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in relations between states and between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. International law differs from state-based legal systems in that it is primarily applicable to countries rather than to private citizens. National law may become international law when treaties delegate national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court.

Much of international law is consent-based governance. This means that a state member is not obliged to abide by this type of international law, unless it has expressly consented to a particular course of conduct. This is an issue of state sovereignty. However, other aspects of international law are not consent-based but still are obligatory upon state and non-state actors such as customary international law and peremptory norms (jus cogens).

The term "international law" can refer to three distinct legal disciplines:

  • Public international law, which     governs the relationship between states and international entities. It     includes these legal fields: treaty law, law of sea, international     criminal law, the laws of war or international humanitarian law,     international human rights law, and refugee law.

  • Private international law, or     conflict of laws, which addresses the questions of (1) which jurisdiction     may hear a case, and (2) the law concerning which jurisdiction applies to     the issues in the case.

  • Supranational law or the law of     supranational organizations, which concerns regional agreements where the     laws of nation states may be held inapplicable when conflicting with a     supranational legal system when that nation has a treaty obligation to a     supranational collective.

The two traditional branches of international law are:

  • jus gentium – law of nations

  • jus inter gentes – agreements between nations.


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