Public and Private International Law

According to Alf Ross, “International law is the body of rules binding upon states in their relations with one another.” There are some functions of international law which are discussed below.

  1. Maintenance of peace and security
  2. Development of friendly relationship between states
  3. Achievement in international co-operation to solve problems
  4. To solve economic, cultural and humanitarian problems
  5. To guarantee political and sovereign integrity of states.

Private International Law

It is the branch of international law that determines which law is to be applied to a specific case containing a foreign element. It means that some cases may have a foreign element which makes it challenging for the courts to decide jurisdiction; some cases which may have foreign element is supposed to have international jurisdiction.

Public International Law         

A body of legal rules which regulates the relation of states among themselves as well as with other non-state entities is said to be public international law. It is a body of rules which regulates the relationship of members and non-members of international organizations with each other. They may be countries, states, individuals, non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, multi-national corporations, and movements.

Difference between Public International Law and Private International Law

Public International LawPrivate International Law
It deals with the relationship of states with each other.It deals with the individuals of a country where the case has international jurisdiction, or individuals from two or more countries.
The rules of public international law are the outcome of international customs, treaties and other sources.The rules of private international law are the outcome of state or state laws.
It is same for all the states in the world.Private international law differs from state to state.
It comes into force of treaties, customs, international agreements and decisions of arbitrary tribunals.It has been enacted by the legislature of the corresponding states.
It can be both criminal and civil in nature.  It is more civil in nature.
It is enforceable by the fear of war, it may affect diplomatic relations and may twist the entire perspective of the nation.The concerned states’ executives have the right to enforce private international law.

Private international law is also known as conflict of laws. This is because the settlement of an international dispute may either be settled before a state court or an international arbitration. Private international law is applicable to relations between private individuals of different nationality. Whenever a court faces a question of foreign element or foreign connection, private international law comes into play.

Monism and Dualism

These are two opposing theories relating to international law. Monism means that international treaties are directly applicable to the domestic laws of the country. France applies monism and the international law need not be transposed into domestic law to implement it.

Dualism means accepting that international law and national law are two separate entities. In order to enforce international law, in countries that follow dualism, the international law should be translated to national law and in case if there is another national law that opposes the international law, the opposing national law should be modified or eliminated. Canada is an example of a country that follows dualism.

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