What is National Law?

What does national law mean? What are its basic components? What do the courts and legal profession do to enforce it? Here are some ways to identify national laws:

National law applies to contracts between countries. It has been applied to disputes between states when the parties agree that it applies. In some cases, national law applies when the host state has sovereignty over the subject matter. In other cases, national law applies only if the other party’s law conflicts with it. For example, a claim for breach of contract is considered national. The host state will apply its national law when deciding whether to enforce a contract.

The courts are the ultimate arbiters of national law. While national laws are the most commonly enforced by courts, international law is the domain of parties. Parties and treaties confer this authority upon judicial bodies, but courts generally make the decisions. Diplomacy and supranational judicial organs also assist in interpreting international law. But national law may still be subject to disputes. Regardless, it is important to understand the distinction between international and national law.

Investment tribunals can apply national law in investment disputes, as long as the parties do not invoke diplomatic protection in the process. But when it comes to national laws and international law, this distinction is not so clear. For example, a tribunal may not be able to apply a foreign investor’s international law rights if they do not follow the rules of the host state. And in some cases, national law might not be applicable to a private party in El Salvador.

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