What is National Law?

national law

National law, also known as domestic law, is the law made by the government of a specific state. It is recognized as the express will of the state and originates from the local authority, which could be the United States Congress or the French Parliament. Some states practice common law and do not recognize the law made by judges, only those laws enacted by their legislature. This type of law has many distinctions, and they are each important. Read on to learn more about national law.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) maintains LegislationLine, a database that includes national laws relating to human rights, including freedom of assembly, gender equality, hate crimes, and human trafficking. The site includes laws from countries that are member states of the OSCE, as well as former Soviet republics in Central Asia and Mongolia. There are also links to subject-specific secondary sources. For instance, a national law in Poland may be referred to as ‘Presidential Directives’ in the U.S.

Some national laws are regulated by supranational tribunals. In the case of international criminal law, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the European Court of Human Rights may have jurisdiction over a particular country. International law is regulated by Geneva Conventions, which require national laws to be compatible with treaty provisions. In some cases, national laws and constitutions will integrate international legal obligations. However, there are no absolute rules. In the case of war, national laws are bound to vary.

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