“The body of regulations and standards of conduct which have legal force upon civilized nations in their relationships with each other” is the definition of international law. Elements of international law and objectives of international law are the two main categories into which international law can be divided. The “players” or “actors” on the global stage are also referred to as international legal entities and the “parts of international law.”



Written pacts reached between nations, non-governmental organizations, or an amalgam of the two are referred to as accords. They are among among the most important components of global law. The topics that can be covered by treaties include military conflict, commerce, preservation of the environment, and human rights. Bilateral (that is, between 2 nations) or multilateral (including multiple nations or global agencies) agreements are two different types of agreements. They aid in the formation and implementation of international law and impose legal duties on both sides concerned.

2)Customary international law: 

This body of unwritten regulations that have grown through evolution and are recognized to be enforceable by governments make up customary international law. Customary law is the result of a nation’s widespread and ongoing behavior combined with the conviction that such behavior is mandated by law. State practice in a number of domains, such as relations with one another, sovereignty over territory, and the ban on torture, can result in customary international law. It is regarded as a legal document and represents the standards and common practice of nations.

3)General principles of law: 

Throughout all nations, national legal systems identify and uphold broad concepts of law as basic rules of law. Equal treatment, fairness, and not discriminating are only a few of the values that make up the larger body of public international law. They are regarded as supplementary sources regarding international law and offer direction for choosing sides in international legal conflicts.

4)Legal texts and judicial judgements:

International law is developed and interpreted in part through decisions of the judiciary, particularly judgements of international courts and tribunals. Even though judicial rulings are not elements of law that must be followed, they have a lot of impact on opinion and can affect how legal ideas develop. Legal materials, such as scholarly articles, specialized commentary, and intellectual viewpoints, also aid in the interpretation and comprehension of international law.

5)The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) Statute: 

It is a fundamental piece of legislation that governs how the ICJ, the main international court, operates. The ICJ’s purpose and the processes described in the Statute have a bearing on the development and application of international law, while not being the main source of international law. The decisions and recommendations of the ICJ add to the field of international law theory.

In a nutshell treaty, customary international law, general principles of law, judicial decisions, and legal works are the main sources of public international law. Due to the fact that they embody the legally enforceable commitments and common practices among nations, treaties and customary law are especially significant. Despite not being the main source, the provisions of the International Court of Justice’s Statute and the court’s legal theory have an impact on how international law is applied and interpreted.

Author: Shreya Potdar, student of Queen Mary University of London.

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