6.1 International law


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6.1 International law

  1. 1. International Law Sources of Contemporary Australian Law
  2. 2. What is International Law?  All interactions between nation-states rely on international law  Trade  Peace & security  Human rights
  3. 3. Definitions Domestic Law  Applies universally  Enforced by agencies  Created by parliament or in courts International Law  Applies only to countries which agree to adopt it  Countries can exempt themselves from enforcement  Created through international negotiations
  4. 4. Negotiation •Between nation states. May last for an extended period of time Agreement •A law is proposed and written. Countries which are in favour of the law will sign an agreement. Ratification •A declaration of intent to make the international law binding in the home country. (In some countries, eg France, this is all that is required to make domestic law.) Enacting •In other countries, eg Australia, domestic law must be written and passed in parliament before it becomes binding. MakingInternational LawDomestic Law`
  5. 5. State sovereignty  Belief that all nations are equal, and each nation’s leaders have the right to make decisions for their own nation  Means that external countries (or even International organisations) have no authority to interfere with another nation.  Countries can even refuse to participate in international processes – even if they have previously agreed to abide by the International Law
  6. 6. Advantages  Independence – laws can suit a nation’s own culture/values  Prevents one person from ruling the world  Countries can be influenced positively by other countries Disadvantages  Human Rights cannot be enforced  Different laws in different countries can cause conflict between states  Countries can be influenced negatively by other countries  Wealthy nations may be better positioned to prosper
  7. 7. Examples of breaches of international law  Japanese whaling  Russia and the Crimea (Ukraine)  Australia spying on East Timor
  8. 8. Major sources of International Law Declarations and Treaties Customs Legal Writings Legal Decisions
  9. 9. Declarations & Treaties  Most common sources for International Law  Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969): “international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by the guidelines of international law”  Bilateral – between 2 nations  Multilateral – between more than 2 nations  Aka: conventions; covenants  Declarations are similar to treaties: they state beliefs, but they have no binding consequences for breaches.
  10. 10. Customary International Law  Not written down – based on long- established traditions  Develops over an extended period of time; countries must still agree to it.  Most treaties originated as customary international law.
  11. 11. Legal Decisions  The International Court of Justice (a UN court) has the power to make rulings regarding treaties.  These rulings (aka “decisions”) can act as a type of precedent in future, similar cases  (There are also other types of UN court which make decisions)
  12. 12. Legal Writings  May be made by judges or other academics and philosophers  Even though these do not form binding precedent, they can guide international lawmakers  Legal writings may spark discussion in international communities/organisations and can draw attention to flaws in international law.