A nation’s law is its legal system governing its citizens and citizens’ rights in the context of its own territory. National law differs from international law, which relates to treaties and agreements between nations. It also differs from regional law, which applies to laws and rules governing a group of nations or counties. Professionals who work in the field of law must be familiar with these differences, especially as they explore potential areas of specialization.
Most nations use a mix of national and international laws in their legal systems. For example, a nation might adopt a treaty to establish standards for the transport of dangerous goods while also relying on customary law and domestic legislation to regulate the same issues.
International laws often have more sweeping scope than national laws, and can be more difficult to enforce as they cross borders. For example, a country might have a national law that regulates consumer safety and environmental quality while a separate law may govern telecommunications. In addition, a country might have a national or regional law regulating taxation while a different law regulates labor and employment.
A nation might also have a constitution to set the fundamental rules for its government. A written constitution usually includes a Bill of Rights and lays out checks and balances and limits to government power. Some nations, however, have unwritten constitutions or a series of basic laws based on tradition and existing legal and political systems. For example, in Australia the National Quality Framework is a national law, but it’s applied differently in each state and territory.