International Law is increasingly becoming recognized as an essential component of global politics and policymaking. One such area is Public International Law. The legal dictionary defines Public International Law (PIL) as ‘A body of legal rules that apply between sovereign states and other entities having international personality’. Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice classifies the following as sources of PIL: international conventions, whether general or particular, international custom, general principles of law recognized by civilized nations and judicial decisions of the highest legal authorities in the individual state. This essay will examine the strengths and weaknesses of these sources of Public International Law. It will also establish that there are three clear differences between Public international law (PIL) and other sources of law, mainly domestic and common law.
International Law being the flexible area that it is has no established legal making body and so uses four primary sources to establish a globally recognized system for disputes: Treaties, Customary Law, General Principles of law and Judicial decisions, these four sources are examined below. International Conventions, or treaties, as they are more commonly referred to, are the most popular and important source of international law. They are generally signed between states that have common interests and goals, but they create specific international law, which may not apply internationally because the terms of the treaty mostly apply to only the states that ratified the treaty and the issues that they discussed and have found in common.
To be customary international law, a principle must result “from a general and consistent...
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...ed to use the high seas, for his or her purposes. Domestic Law, on the other hand is exclusive to the state and the laws governing it.
This essay has shown that there are various sources of public international law, and that each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. Through a thorough analysis of these it has been established that there are a great number of weaknesses, but they are it is necessary for the sources of public international law to remain the way they are in order to maintain global peace and stability. Amongst these criticisms customary law is the most critiqued source mainly for its flexibility and lack of clarity. The comparison of international sources of law and domestic law brings about three differences: the presence of a hierarchy in domestic law, the formation of international sources law and the jurisdiction and its application.
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