Other Legal Systems

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Providing a constitution for public international law, the United Nations was conceived during World War II. International law can refer to three things. These are,

  • public international law
  • private international law or conflict of laws
  • the law of supranational organizations.

In a globalising economy, law is globalising too. Law internationally, or to be literal, law between nations plays an increasingly important part in our lives. The goods we buy, the services we consume, the work that we do is ever more integrated with people far across the planet. So to create a level playing field, law has a vital role to play.

Public international law

Public international law (or international public law) concerns the relationships between sovereign nations. It is developed mainly through multilateral conventions. Its modern corpus started to be developed in the middle of the 19th Century. Between the two World Wars, the League of Nations and other international organizations such as the International Labour Organisation contributed to accelerate this process and established much of the foundation of international public law. After the failure of the Versailles Treaty and World War II, the League of Nations was replaced by the United Nations, founded under the UN Charter. The UN has developed new standards, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Other international norms and laws have been established through international agreements; e.g. the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war or armed conflict, as well as by other international organizations such as the ILO, the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Telecommunication Union, UNESCO, the World Trade Organisation, and the International Monetary Fund.

Conflict of laws

Conflict of laws, or "private international law" in civil law jurisdictions, is less international than national law. It concerns which jurisdiction a legal dispute between private parties should be heard. Today businesses are increasingly capable of shifting capital and labour supply chains across borders, as well as trading with overseas businesses. This increases the number of disputes outside a unified legal framework and the enforceability of standard practices. Increasing numbers of businesses use commercial arbitration under the New York Convention 1958.

Supranational law

Other than Noahide Law, the European Union is the only example of a currently recognized supra-national legal framework, where sovereign nations have pooled their authority through a system of courts and political institutions. It constitutes a new legal order in international law[1] [1] for the mutual social and economic benefit of the member states.

Legal Databases

  • Jurispedia — "The shared law"
  • Wex — "collaboratively built, freely available legal dictionary and encyclopedia"
  • Wiki-Law — "The Legal Resource Anyone Can Edit"
  • WikiLaw — "the free law library that anyone can edit"


  1. C-26/62 Van Gend en Loos v. Nederlanse Administratie Der Belastingen