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Cover International Law

13. The Relationship between International and National Law  

Eileen Denza

This chapter examines the relationship between international and national law. It discusses the approach of international courts and tribunals; the approach of national parliaments and national courts; and some problems that arise in national courts. While prospects for a harmonized approach to the relationship between international and national law are dim, conflict can be avoided through the close involvement of international lawyers in the treaty-making and ratification process; attention at the time of ratification to implementation questions; the teaching of international law as part of the professional training of judges; and expert assistance to national courts when international law questions arise.

Chapter

Cover International Law Concentrate

3. The law of treaties  

This chapter examines the rules of international law governing the birth, the life, and the death of treaties. Treaties, a formal source of international law, are agreements in written form between States or international organizations that are subject to international law. A treaty falls under the definition of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), no matter what form or title it may have. The most important factor is that it sets out obligations or entitlements under international law. The VCLT enumerates the rules governing the ‘birth’, ie the steps from the negotiation until the entry into force of the treaty; the ‘life’, ie the interpretation and application of the treaty; and its ‘demise’, ie its termination. The two fundamental tenets are, on the one hand, the principle ‘pacta sunt servanda’ and, on the other, the principle of contractual freedom of the parties.