Narrowly defined, international law consists of a body of rules, customs and principles that guide or govern the conduct of Nation States (countries), and by extension, international organizations, in their relation between and amongst each other. More broadly, international law also concerns the relations between nation states and the subjects of the subjects of other Nation States.

Reflecting the narrow and broad definitions given above, international law may be further categorized into “public international law” and “private international law.” Public international law principally governs the activities of Nation States and Governments with other Nation States and Governments, while private international law governs the activities of private individuals who are subjects of Nation States (such as humans, corporations and other entities) when they act across national borders.

According to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which decides disputes between Nation States, the corpus of public international law consists mainly of international conventions (treaties), international custom and what can be vaguely described as “general principals of law recognized by civilized nations.” The rules and principles of private international law are based on the rights and obligations of private individuals that arise from public international law, and the laws of their countries of citizenship and the countries wherein they act.

Whether you need an international instrument or international business contract drafted or negotiated, or if you need advice on a cross border or international transaction, James Hsui, PLLC will be glad to help. Contact us today.