National law is the body of legal rules governing a nation’s government. It may include a written constitution that is justiciable in a court of law, or it may be a set of Basic Laws that govern societal conduct in the absence of a formal codified set of laws.
It also includes the laws that Congress enacts and federal courts review, and regulations that explain how agencies plan to carry out the laws they create. These are published yearly in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Some national laws are called “federal” laws, and others are called “state” laws. It’s important to know what kind of law you are looking for to find the right information quickly and easily.
A Federal law is a law that is enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by the president of the United States. State laws are laws that are made by the legislatures of individual states and reviewed by state courts.
When a national law is ratified by all the states, it is usually automatically incorporated into each state’s domestic law. Some states, however, have adopted different methods of implementing treaties and norms into their domestic law.
One method is known as general transformation, and it mandates that a state’s domestic law incorporates the treaty without legislative action beyond ratification. A second method, known as special transformation, requires the state to implement its international obligations by passing legislation.
In addition to international law, there is a growing body of non-state law that is emerging outside the boundaries of nations. This new body of law is sometimes referred to as “a-national” law, and it has gained prominence in academic writings and commercial practice.