Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Shirley V. Scott
International law is a system of law that is predominantly created by, and designed to govern the actions of, states. Public international law, the subject of this entry, can be distinguished from private international law, which addresses aspects of private legal relationships that span national borders. International law is a horizontal system of law in which states, at least in legal theory, enjoy sovereign equality. Lacking a legislative body or a law enforcement agency, international law functions very differently than a system of law in a modern liberal democracy. International law has grown enormously in scope and complexity since World War II. The number of states has expanded through decolonization and disintegration, international law has come to address a far wider range of subjects than ever before, and there has been a considerable increase in the number of international courts and tribunals. This entry first looks at how international law ...