National law is a term that refers to laws which are enacted by the government of a country. It is also referred to as domestic law. National laws are generally enforced by governmental bodies. They may be based on statutes or the decisions of judges. National laws differ from international laws in that they are only applicable within a specific State.
National laws are a key element of democracy. They help sustain citizens as valued contributors to society through economic rights and social justice. National law reflects the beliefs and values of a nation. The United States is a good example of a country which constitutionalizes the protection of social rights. These constitutional rights include the protection of civil and political rights, equal employment opportunities, access to education, and adequate housing.
Other governments also have a history of constitutionalizing the protection of social rights. In addition, they may use the treaty system to give legal recognition to normative rights. For instance, the Netherlands incorporated human rights treaties into its law through a system of legal harmonization. This process aims to eliminate the differences between various domestic laws by combining them into a common core.
Some academics have argued that a-national law exists. This concept is akin to the lex mercatoria which is comprised of unwritten trade usages. However, if national laws are a part of this a-national law, they cannot be truly independent from the laws of other countries.