Questions Legal

How is international law different from domestic law?


Nupoor Mahadev

Keep going and never look back

You must have heard about the terms international law and domestic law. But do you know what does it mean? Unless you are a law student yourself, it is difficult for any layman to understand the clear meaning of these terms.

To put it in simple words, domestic law is what comes from the customs and legislature. It is also known as municipal or national law. Whereas, international law mainly comprises of customs and treaties. This is where you can point out the major differences between the two.

Difference between International Law and Domestic Law

The main difference between international law and domestic law lies in fact, how they are enforced.

1. International law is known to lack a common executive. This means that there are no governing authorities that can make a nation or state following a court decision. It is because of this reason that the countries functioning under international law often has a weak community. However, that is not the case with domestic law as it consists of all the governing bodies, including the legislative, judicial, and executive. Each of these branches is known to work in cooperation with each other. When you violate domestic law, you are deemed to get punished by a court.

2. International law is made for the countries to follow. The main aim of international law is to regulate the behavior or the way a country behaves with another country. The main subject of internal law is international organization and countries. However, in some cases, even people can become the subject matter of international law. On the other hand, national law is limited only within the boundaries of a country. In other words, the laws of a particular country are not applicable outside its territory. Domestic law is mainly made to regulate the behavior of the citizens of a country, and therefore, the subject matter of domestic law are mostly people.

International law operates outside the countries, whereas domestic law is operated within the boundary of a country. International law is the same for every country. But when it comes to domestic law, every country has its own set of laws to follow. Individuals of a country are never governed by international law. Now that you know the difference, you will be able to explain it to people in a better way.

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