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Cover Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law

3. The relations of international and national law  

This chapter explores the relationship between international and national law, discussing both the common law tradition and the civil law tradition. It suggests that each system is supreme in its own field; neither has hegemony over the other. And yet any generalities offered can only provide a background to the complex relations between the national and international systems. Three factors operate. The first is organizational: to what extent are the organs of states ready to apply rules of international law internally and externally? The second factor is the difficulty of proving particular rules of international law. Third, courts, national and international, will often be concerned with the question of which is the appropriate system to apply to particular issues arising. The question of appropriateness emphasizes the distinction between organization, that is, the character of the jurisdiction as ‘national’ or ‘international’, and the character of the rules of both systems as flexible instruments for dealing with disputes and regulating non-contentious matters.


Cover Cassese's International Law

5. The Spatial Dimensions of State Activities  

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

This chapter begins with an examination of the related concepts of sovereignty, competence, and jurisdiction. It then discusses the international law governing territory, sea, the international seabed, and the concept of common heritage of mankind, air, and outer space. In traditional international law the physical dimension of State activity was regulated in fairly simple terms. The earth, portions of the sea, and the air were divided up into areas subject to the sovereign authority of States. The only exception to this partition was the high seas, which—since the seventeenth century—were subject to the principle that they were a thing belonging to everybody (res communis omnium): every State could sail its ships or use the high seas’ resources as it pleased, as long as it did not hamper their free use by other States. However, a nationalist, self-centred approach has displaced community interests and any idea of solidarity or joint utilization of resources.