International law is the term commonly used for referring to the system of implicit and explicit agreements that bind together nation-states in adherence to recognized values and standards, differing from other legal systems in that it concerns nations rather than private citizens[1]. However, the term "International Law" can refer to three distinct legal disciplines:

  • Public international law, which involves for instance the United Nations, maritime law, international criminal law and the Geneva conventions.
  • Private international law, or conflict of laws, which addresses the questions of (1) in which legal jurisdiction may a case be heard; and (2) the law concerning which jurisdiction(s) apply to the issues in the case law of supranational organizations, which concerns at present regional agreements where the special distinguishing quality is that laws of nation states are held inapplicable when conflicting with a supranational legal system.

The two traditional branches of the field are:

  • jus gentium — law of nations
  • jus inter gentes — agreements among nations

External links


  1. International Law, by Malcolm N Shaw, Cambridge University Press (5 edition), 2003, pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0521531832.
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