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International law

1. What is domestic law?

Laws that are determined by a particular country and are only enforceable and followed within its

2. What is international law?

A body of rules established by custom or treaty and recognised by nations as binding in their
relations with one another (not enforceable).

3. What is meant by the term state sovereignty? What is its relevance to international law?
The concept that all States are in complete and exclusive control of all people and property within
their territory. It has the authority of an independent State to govern itself.

4. In table format, outline the 4 main sources of international law (i.e. customs, treaties, legal
decisions, legal writings).
Source of Explanation

Treaties and The most common way to establish international law; a legal
agreement between 2 or more states; they can be bilateral or
multilateral; the more nations that sign a treaty, the more powerful it
becomes; they must be ratified to take effect

Customs Long established traditions; for e.g. treatment of prisoners in times of

war; cases study of child executions; slow to develop

Legal International court decisions such as the ICJ (International Court of

Justice) and ICC (International Criminal Court) or other UN tribunals
effectively become law

Legal writings When the writings of respected international lawyers and judges about
an issue gives rise to the need for a treaty

5. What needs to happen for international law to become part of Australian law?
It must be ratified into domestic law. This requires the national government to enact a law
accepting the terms and conditions of the international law. Only then is the nation obliged to
follow it.
6. What are the two ways that international law can be incorporated into Australian law?
Statute law- international law ratified into domestic law
Common law- precedent is made on the basis of international law

7. What are the main criticisms of international law?

They are not enforceable and countries do not have to abide by them.

8. Find 2 articles from the last year (2015 or 2016) which relate to international law and its
relevance to Australia. Outline the issue and how it impacted (if at all) on contemporary
Australian law.
Cases on worksheet.