International Law

Criminal, civil, and human rights legal issues in the United States are generally resolved in state or federal courts. But when legal disputes cross borders, American state and federal courts may not have jurisdiction to hear and decide these cases.

International law issues involve different laws of other countries. They can include overlap with domestic laws. This complicates these issues. Ask an international law attorney for legal advice if you have questions about international rules or disputes.

What Is International Law?

International law is a group of laws, rules, or principles based on customs, international treaties, or international agreements. They control or affect the duties and rights of sovereign nations about each other.

Public international law can regulate how different countries interact with each other. Private international law can involve how people, businesses, and international organizations operate across borders. Common issues of international law can include:

  • International human rights law
  • Immigration and asylum
  • International relations
  • Armed conflicts
  • Climate change
  • International criminal law
  • Adoptions and child custody
  • Multilateral treaties
  • Law of the sea

Different parts of the world have other legal systems. It can take a lot of work to agree on rules of law that different members can agree upon. Sources of international law include customary laws, treaties, and international conventions.

Modern International Law Developments

In the early 1900s, several countries came together at The Hague, Netherlands, to develop laws of war, the use of force, and arms control agreements. But without enforcement, those international humanitarian laws didn’t slow the coming world wars.

International law bodies, councils, commissions, and treaties expanded after the Second World War. In 1945, member states created the United Nations. They also started the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), and the International Law Commission (ILC). The 1998 Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court (ICC). This prosecutes genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

What Courts Handle International Disputes?

When there are international disputes involving people, businesses, groups, or countries, different courts may have jurisdiction to settle matters of fact and matters of international law. One of the highest judicial authorities in international law is the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It’s under the administrative authority of the United Nations.

The ICG and its arbitration tribunals settle disputes between countries under international law. The ICG can also give advisory opinions on international legal issues. Under international law, a country must be a member of a treaty or agreement that recognizes the authority of the international court.

How Can an International Lawyer Help?

Doing business overseas may involve multilateral treaties, choice of law agreements, and arbitration requirements for disputes. Businesses involving the international community or European Union countries may have more regulations that your business must follow. If you want to do business overseas, you may wish to consult with an international law attorney for help.

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