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Difference between International Law and Municipal Law

International legal principles encompass a compendium of regulations, norms, and guiding principles that hold universal recognition. They serve as fundamental guidelines governing the conduct of one nation in its interactions with others, spanning areas like conflict, diplomacy, human rights, trade, and related domains. Conversely, Municipal Law presides over the internal affairs of a government and addresses matters pertaining to individuals, as well as the interactions between individuals and the administrative machinery within a sovereign state.
Differences Between International Law and Municipal Law The following are the differences between International Law and Municipal Law:
  1. International Law is primarily concerned with governing the relationships and interactions between sovereign states. It focuses on regulating foreign affairs and matters that involve multiple countries. Municipal Law, also referred to as domestic law, deals with regulating matters within the borders of a specific state or country. This includes addressing issues that arise between individuals and between individuals and the state itself.
  2. The authority of International Law is based on the collective agreement and consent of sovereign states. It is derived from international norms and principles that are established through consensus. On the other hand, Municipal Law derives its authority from the state itself. It is enforced within a specific territory and emanates from the sovereign authority of that state.
  3. International Law is based on consent and consensus of nations. Municipal Law is based on the command of the sovereign and sanction for disobeying command.
  4. International Law is considered as a weak law (because of weak sanctions) in comparison to Municipal Law (because of strong sanctions).
  5. International Law is the law of State regulating the relations between the member states of the family of nations. Municipal Law is the law of state regulating the conduct of individuals and dealing with the relation between individuals and the state.
  6. Treaties, conventions, international customs, general principles of law recognized by civilized nations are the primary sources of International Law. Legislation, Precedent, and customs are the sources of Municipal Law.
  7. International Law primarily concerns itself with states as the main subjects, while Municipal Law focuses on individuals.
  8. In terms of judiciary matters in International Law, the International Court of Justice serves as the authority whose decisions hold binding power over the parties involved in a particular case who have willingly subjected themselves to its jurisdiction. In Municipal Law, courts are all pervasive and binding.
  9. International treaties, conventions, the decisions of International Court of Justice, etc. (International Law) are not directly enforceable within domestic jurisdictions of states unless they are specifically incorporated into the Municipal Laws of a state by enacting suitable legislation at the state level. Municipal Laws are uniformly enforceable throughout the state.
  10. United Nations Organization acts as an international legislative body in International Law. Parliament acts as the legislative body in Municipal Law.
  11. It is difficult to enforce International Law while it is easy to implement Municipal Law.
  12. There is no specific provision of punishment for violation of International Law, but the punishments for infraction of Municipal Law are clearly defined.
  13. A rogue and superpower state may refuse to obey International Law, whereas it is very difficult for an individual to disobey Municipal Law.
In conclusion, International Law and Municipal Law are two separate legal systems that operate on different levels, have distinct origins and sources of authority, and employ different methods of enforcement. International Law governs the relationships between nations, while Municipal Law pertains to domestic issues, individual rights, and the interactions between individuals and their government. Recognizing these distinctions is crucial for legal experts, policymakers, and anyone navigating the intricate realm of global laws.

  • Jurisprudence, Usha Jaganath Law Series
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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