Part of the "Concepts and Insights" series of law school study guides. Understanding International Law, 2d ed. M Law Open Reserve. International Law: Examples and Explanations, 2d ed. Principles of International Law by Sean D. M88 Law Open Reserve. Selected Scholarly Works Consult these books for more in-depth, scholarly overviews of international law. Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law, 8th ed. B78 P7 Law Stacks. International Law, 7th ed. Shaw Call Number: KZ S53 Law Stacks. Oppenheim Call Number: KZ I6 Law Stacks. B7 L28 Law Stacks.
Revision of the late J. Brierly's Law of Nations, 6th ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, International Law, 2nd ed. C25 A35 Law Stacks. K33 Law Open Reserve. B Law Stacks. International Law by A.
ISBN 13: 9780314262684
L69 Law Stacks. Conceived as a successor to Brierly's The Law of Nations. International Law, 5th ed. Call Number: KZ I Law Stacks. Brief essays, by experts, covering all of the core aspects of public international law. Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Education.
Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Before long, you will not be able to enter into any agreements with other persons, such that your short-term gain obtaining two coconuts for free is at the expense of your long-term survival.
Even if you could survive, most persons do not like being outcasts; they instead strive to be regarded by others as community members in good standing. All told, the more rational choice for each person is to abide by her agreements. Such dynamics are quite common in international law. For example, in the field of trade law, states have agreed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GATT 2 to the entry of goods and services from each other without restriction, or pursuant to negotiated tariff levels or quotas.
A failure to abide by the agreement can lead to retaliation by your trading partner and can have reputational consequences in dealing with other trade partners. In most instances, the rational choice for a state is to abide by its trade agreements. Agreement to a rule need not be solely bilateral. Every person on the island may realize that it is in his or her interest for certain general rules to exist, such as a rule that physical attacks by a person against another person are prohibited. Consequently, the members of the group might all agree to a rule prohibiting physical attacks.
If so, a rule of non-aggression is created even without a legislature, for the community of persons is small enough that, through consensus of the persons directly affected, a new rule can emerge. Such a rule is similar to Article 2 4 of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of force by one state against the territorial integrity and political independence of another state.
Consequently, everyone on the island or a sub-group might further agree that if a person is seen physically attacking someone else, then all the other persons on the island or the members of the sub-group will band together to stop the attacker. If so, a means for enforcing the rule through collective security has emerged; so long as the community of persons is truly willing to gang up on an attacker, it is likely that the rule will have teethviolations of the rule either will not occur because they have been deterred or, if they do occur, will be dealt with quickly and effectively.
There may, of course, be grey areas in applying the nonaggression rule. What if you think someone on the island is about to attack you; may you preemptively attack them? The island has no judicial court to consider such a matter, so instead you may have to rely upon the manner in which the community as a whole responds to such a preemptive act either accepting an instance of preemptive self-defense or not accepting it. Indeed, over time the practice of the community may serve to interpret and reinterpret the meaning of the rule.
In , the United States issued a national security strategy that claimed, among other things, an evolving right under international law for the United States to use military force preemptively against the threat posed by rogue states possessing weapons of mass destruction WMD. Looking at this simple horizontal structure, jurisprudence scholars have expressed differing views as to the nature of international law. On one end of the spectrum, the British scholar John Austin in denied that international law was really law, since law is best understood as a command issued by a sovereign that was backed by a sanction.
Since international society lacked such an overarching sovereign, Austin felt that the field referred to as international law was best understood as simply a collection of moral rules. Hart, a British scholar who in regarded international law as a series of primary rules e. Vertical Structure: International Organizations International law is not limited to a simple horizontal structure. Over time, states have come together to establish some supranational organizations capable of creating laws that have a binding effect on their member states.
For example, within the European Union EU , the 27 member states have delegated to the EU sweeping powers to regulate broad sectors of their economies, including the movement of goods, services, labor, and transportation. On matters such as completion of the internal market, the environment or consumer protection, EU legislation is adopted jointly by the European Council and European Parliament under a co-decision procedure. Certain provisions of the EU treaties and various EU legislative measures apply directly within the member states, superseding national law in case of conflict.
To that extent, EU law has a status within the member states comparable to federal law in the United States. Other international organizations typically have less sweeping powers than those found in the European Union. Nevertheless, as discussed in Chapter 3 E , there are other international organizations and autonomous treaty bodies capable of creating new rules that bind their member states without the further consent of those states.
Likewise, in some instances, states have created and submitted themselves to the compulsory jurisdiction of international courts or tribunals. For example, 66 states have submitted themselves to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice the judicial wing of the United Nations if they are sued by another state that has also accepted the Courts compulsory jurisdiction. Hundreds of treaties concluded by states also provide for the Courts jurisdiction when a dispute arises with respect to one of those treaties. The International Court is also available if states mutually agree to bring a particular dispute before the Court, even if jurisdiction on a compulsory basis does not exist.
Each year, the International Court decides cases on matters such as territorial and maritime disputes, diplomatic immunities, or disputes over the use of military force. While the International Court is one of the oldest and most venerated fora for pacific settlement of disputes, there are a wide array of such fora in existence, as discussed in Chapter 4. Some international organizations are capable of helping enforce international rules. As discussed in Chapter 5, the Security Council stands at the center of such entities, with extensive power to impose sanctions and to authorize the use of military force to address threats to peace and security.
However, there are numerous other ways that international organizations help to enforce international law, such as the process for authorizing retaliatory trade sanctions by the World Trade Organization, or the indictment and prosecution by the International Criminal Court of persons for violating the laws of war. Vertical Structure: Interface with National Law A different aspect of the vertical structure of international law concerns the interface of international law with national law also referred to as domestic law.
National legal systems typically contain rules about whether international law is automatically received into the national legal system. Some countries view international law and national law as part of the same system of law the monist approach , and thus international law is automatically a part of the national legal system.
Murphy's Principles of International Law, 2d by Sean Murphy
Thus, in most civil law countries, treaties are regarded as being a part of the internal law as soon as they are ratified. Indeed, in some countries, such as the Netherlands, treaties have the same rank as constitutional law, and thus are paramount. However, national legal systems usually are much more complicated than these broad approaches suggest, and one must look at the constitutional rules and judicial practice to fully understand how any given national legal system relates to international law.
Constitution provides that treaties concluded by the United States are part of the supreme law of the land, which has been interpreted to mean that, in some instances, a treaty properly concluded by the United States is immediately capable of creating a rule that binds within U. Thus, a private individual may be able to sue in U. By contrast, in the United Kingdom, treaties never have an immediate effect within U. Alternatively, a national statute may exist that calls for use of international law in application of the statute. Thus, non-U. Convention Against Torture10 and under customary international law.
For example, after the sinking of the Titanic in , states joined together to conclude a multilateral treaty designed to promote the safety of merchant ships at sea. The agreement was repeatedly revised with increasing detail over the course of the twentieth century, culminating in the adoption of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea SOLAS , to which the United States is a party.
One of those regulations requires certain types of ships to be fitted with an identification system that automatically informs shore stations and other ships of the ships identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status, and other safety-related information. National law also can play an important role in the interpretation and enforcement of international law. To the extent that a national court is called upon to decide a case based on a rule of international law, the national court provides a forum for interpreting that law.
In , the U. Supreme Court considered whether an individual had been arbitrarily arrested in violation of either treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights16 or customary international law. The Court found that there was no relevant treaty obligation enforceable in U. Further, had the Court found that the arrest was a tort in violation of international law, the. Traditional studies of international law focus on states and international organizations as the principal means by which international law is created, interpreted, and enforced.
However, over the past century, the field of international law has seen other actors emerge as important participants, including mid-level government bureaucrats, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and private citizens. As discussed in Chapter 2 D and E , states and international organizations remain the dominant features on the international law landscape, but these other actors play key roles in the lobbying of governments and international organizations, the creation of specialized norms at an expert-level, the development of codes of conduct for private entities that inculcate international legal norms, the monitoring of compliance, and the pursuit of international and national litigation to enforce international law.
Looking at international law as simply a matter of monolithic states interacting with one another misses this important dimension, for behind the facade of the state are real people operating both within and outside government, capable of promoting in various ways international law creation, interpretation, and enforcement. The structure of this interaction is vertical in the sense of the hierarchy between a state and the persons within it, but also horizontal in the sense of persons operating as among themselves across boundaries.
Among the foundations of international law are theories about the nature of such law; in what sense is it law and how does that law bind states and other relevant actors? As is the case with national law, there are various and sometimes conflicting theoretical strands that seek to explain the nature and functioning of international law.
International Natural Law For a natural law theorist, international law consists in part of fundamental principles of right and wrong. These principles are fixed and universal; they do not change depending upon political inclinations or cultural predispositions of states. Moreover, these principles are not identified by studying enactments by states; rather, they are determined through a process of right reason, which to a large degree focuses on whether a particular principle is inherent in the notion of a society of states and in the essential characteristics of humanity.
In the initial stages of the development of international law discussed infra Section C , international law theorists such as Francisco de Vitoria, Francisco Suarez, Hugo Grotius, and Samuel Pufendorf relied heavily on natural law theory to construct what they believed to be the law of nations. More recently, overt reliance on such metaphysical sources to construct legal rules has fallen into disrepute, replaced instead by positivism discussed below.
Yet in many respects, natural law continues to lurk beneath the surface of international law. Thus, in seeking to explain the most rudimentary norms of contemporary international law, theorists. For example, a grundnorm of contemporary treaty law is that every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith, a concept referred to as pacta sunt servanda an agreement must be kept. But why are states bound to this rule? It is certainly true that they initially consented to be bound by the treaty, but why can they not, at some later point in time, simply decide that they no longer wish to be bound?
There must be some rule outside the scope of the treaty itself that binds the state to the treaty. It is possible that states have agreed to a rule of pacta sunt servanda by adhering to a treaty on treaties that contains the rule. In the end, it seems that there must be some first principles of international law separate from those consented to by states, ones that are rooted in pre-existing understandings. These metaphysical norms undergird the norms that arise from the express consent of states. Other such norms might include principles on the independence and legal equality of states, the duty of non-intervention, and the right of selfdefense.
Thus, norms constraining the conduct of warfare so as to protect civilians, while embedded today in treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations,22 derive from norms that date back at least as far as the Book of Deuteronomy. Similarly, the prohibition on the use of force by one state against another unless undertaken in self-defense is today expressed in a treaty consented to by states, but the norm is one that has a rich heritage in the just war doctrines that emerged during the theological debates of the Middle Ages.
Indeed, certain norms appear to reflect fundamental beliefs of governments and persons worldwide e. International law even recognizes the possibly of norms from which states may not deviate under any circumstances, regardless of their treaty practice, a concept known as jus cogens peremptory norms. Finally, while most contemporary international law is reflected in treaties or the practice of states, there remain gaps in those positive acts of state consent, which invariably must be filled by decision-makers through resort to other concepts.
Likewise, there are times when the law needs to change to accommodate new developments. Policy-makers, practitioners, judges, and scholars confronted with such gaps, or a need for change, will often turn to basic notions of equity, justice, or fairness,24 which in turn seem rooted in natural law thinking. Thus, the international military tribunal at Nuremberg convicted certain German defendants for committing crimes against peace because they embarked on an aggressive war, and for committing crimes against humanity because they inflicted atrocities against their own citizens.
The tribunal did this even in the absence of a treaty or clear customary practice that created such crimes. While the tribunals judgment sought to make references to various treaties and state practice in existence prior to the commission of the criminal acts, many observers see the judgment as resting most securely on more fundamental notions of what natural law requires. International Legal Positivism The central problem with the natural law tradition is in identifying what norms are compelled by natural law reasoning. One can posit the existence of universal norms of international law, but how do we know what they are?
States may well disagree on the existence and content of such norms, leading to uncertainty and instability in inter-state relations. Consequently, states are much more attracted to the idea of establishing international norms through the affirmative or positive practice of states, typically captured. This approach emphasizes the importance of state consent; a state is bound to a legal norm because it has affirmatively consented to the norm. While the natural law theorist may dwell on what the law ought to be as a matter of equity, justice, and fairness, the positivist theorist is more focused on what the law is through a systematic study of ratified treaties and state practice.
The Permanent Court of International Justice the judicial wing of the League of Nations stated in the Lotus case: International law governs relations between independent States. The rules of law binding upon States therefore emanate from their own free will as expressed in conventions or by usages generally accepted as expressing principles of law and established in order to regulate the relations between these coexisting independent communities or with a view to the achievement of common aims. Restrictions upon the independence of States cannot therefore be presumed.
If a treaty provision does not bind the state, the positivist wants to know if there is evidence of uniform practice by states accepting a customary rule prohibiting state-sponsored torture, such that the states consent to the norm can be found even in the absence of a treaty obligation. If no such consent can be found, then the state cannot be said to be in violation of international law. Exactly how states adhere to treaties and develop customary rules of international law will be considered further in Chapter 3. For now, it is sufficient to note that most international lawyers and most national lawyers, for that matter tend to think like positivists; they are more comfortable analyzing rules arising from affirmative acceptance by states than they are speculating about rules derived from right reason.
International Legal Realism Classic positivist theory regards international law as something akin to a hard science; rules that have been established by states can be determined through careful, rational analysis and, where necessary, empirical observation. For every controversy over a particular rule of international law, there is a right answer, which can be discerned neutrally or objectively. For the realist, however, focusing on rules that are out there, waiting to be discovered, is misguided, for it ignores important aspects of process that permeate the international legal system.
The realist is impatient with the idea that black-letter rules govern international society, that judges and decision-makers are mechanically applying such rules free of their own biases, and that international law is devoid of significant gaps, ambiguities, and uncertainties. Consequently, realism has led to two different but important approaches to how we think about international law. First, international legal realism has led to the development of an approach known as international legal process. This approach accepts that decision-makers are strongly influenced by their own policy preferences and seeks to understand and to a certain extent constrain the use of such preferences in the.
To do so, the international legal process approach carefully studies the allocation of decision-making powers in inter-state relations and exactly how those powers, formal and informal, are exercised and restrained. The vertical dimensions of international law referred to in the first section of this chapter capture some elements of this approach.
The second strand of international realism also accepts that decision-makers are strongly influenced by their personal policy-preferences, but warmly embraces the use of those preferences in the development and application of international law, so long as the preferences promote desirable social and economic objectives.
The leading version of this approach is the policy-oriented jurisprudence developed largely by Harold Lasswell and Myres McDougal.
For the policy-oriented approach, the important step lies in establishing the best criteria and procedures that such decision-makers should follow when making decisions about where society wants to go in the future. To do so, the policy-oriented approach borrows tools and techniques from a variety of social-science disciplines, including economics, psychology, and sociology, thus engaging in a much wider empirical inquiry than is the case for the positivist. Policy-oriented scholars have identified certain analytic toolsreferred to as phase analysis, value analysis, and analysis of decision functionsas a means of examining the context in which decisions are made and past trends in decision-making.
Among other things, they have developed a set of values that they believe society desires such as enlightenment, wealth, and well-being , and urge policy-makers to approach decision-making so as to advance those values. Critics of the policy-oriented approach assert that the use of values to determine the legality of a course of action is a recipe for undesirable indeterminacy in the law, and charge that it provides major powers such as the United States with far too much discretion in claiming what the law requires or allows.
Law cannot be a check on the exercise of power, the critics claim, if it becomes subsumed as part of the political preferences of decision-makers. For the policy-oriented approach, however, law is inescapably intertwined with the values of authoritative decision-makers, and it is far better to recognize the role of such values, to identify what those values should be, and to judge the conduct of decision-makers based on fidelity to those values. New Stream Building upon the insights of the international legal realism approach, the new stream approach agrees that the positivists are wrong in approaching international law as though it consists simply of neutral rules waiting to be discovered.
Yet, with a heavy reliance on linguistic theory and philosophy, the new stream approach seeks to understand the hidden ideologies, attitudes, and structures of international law, so as to expose contradictions or antinomies. For the new stream school, many of the rules of international law attempt to mediate back and forth between concepts of sovereign independence and sovereign constraint, a dynamic that can be achieved by, for instance, having common rules competing with exceptions to those rules, by having general rules competing with more specialized rules, or by having rules oriented toward sovereignty competing with rules oriented toward community.
In short, these binary oppositions are embedded within international legal rules, such that international law can be manipulated to reach contradictory results. Thus, while a state is said to be bound by a treaty that it has ratified or a customary rule to which it has not objected, a state might also be bound to a conflicting peremptory norm of jus cogens that is not based on the states consent discussed above.
Given such core contradictions, two international lawyers are capable of making completely. The new stream approach does not seek to reconcile such conflicts; for them, doing so is pointless. The new stream approach also does not follow the policy-oriented approach in seeking to define optimal values; rather, new stream scholars see themselves as engaging in a value-free methodology, an effort simply to understand the true structure of international legal rules. Critics of the new stream approach charge that it cynically deconstructs international law as being an arbitrary and empty system, without providing any means for reconstructing the field.
Most new stream scholars, however, accept that international law continues to function in practice; that international lawyers believe in and pursue formal, doctrinal arguments. For the new stream scholar, the value in their theory is in pointing out that international law is not determinate and neutral in nature, but instead a vehicle for ideology.
Such theorizing has helped open the door for a variety of new voices in the debate over international law theory, including those advancing feminist theory and Third World theory. Thus, feminist theorists argue that the international legal systema product of governments and international organizations almost exclusively dominated by menis crafted in a manner that covertly perpetuates the unequal position of women.
For them, international legal rules should be transformed so as to be less litigious, less confrontational, and less patriarchal. For these theorists, international law should incorporate the doctrine and principles of non-European states, and should be redirected toward addressing distributive justice, poverty, and development, and upholding the principles of sovereignty and nonintervention.
To a large extent, international lawyers and international relations specialists have operated in different spheres, but in recent years they have done better at taking account of each others work, which in many respects is mutually reinforcing. While the work of international relations specialists is varied and not easily reduced to a brief summary, it may generally be described as following one of four approaches. Those interests can be furthered by states pursuing cooperative strategies through treaties, international organizations, and mechanisms for the pacific settlement of disputes.
Idealism in the United States was at its zenith in the early s, when many influential American leaders believed that the political and legal institutions successfully crafted within the United States could be recreated at the international level, thus bringing worldwide peace and prosperity. Such idealists pushed for the creation of international organizations like the League of Nations and international agreements, such as the KelloggBriand Pact,34 in which states codified in law the idea that resort to the use of force to achieve foreign policy objectives was no longer permissible.
While such thinking also referred to disparagingly as utopianism remained prevalent in the United States during the s and s, it lost favor when such efforts failed to avert the outbreak of World War II. Idealism still holds a place in American foreign relations; some glimpse it in George W.
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Bushs call in his second inaugural address for a United States committed to the vigorous promotion of democracy worldwide. International relations realists, who became ascendant in the United States after World War II, generally posit that there is no essential harmony of interests between states, but rather a web of conflicting national objectives in an anarchical world. Cooperation among states might occur when their interests coincide, but such cooperation is not the product of moral or ethical principles shared universally by states.
Rather, it is the product of certain a priori assumptions about human nature; that persons leading states seek wealth and power, and will use international law and institutions only when doing so serves that purpose. Thus, cooperation among states is part of a fluid process of changing politics, not part of a stable legal framework to which states must adhere. Neo-realism departs from classical realism in trying to provide a more systemic or structural account of international relations, as opposed to describing the ethics of statecraft. For example, international economic regimes such as the World Bank are reflections of structural power in the international system, allowing certain powerful states to serve their interests by controlling and bringing stability to the global economy.
Liberal international relations theorists accept some of the core tenets of realism, but see realism as falling short in fully capturing how nations behave. For liberal international relations theory, states are not uniform in nature; those with democratic traditions and a commitment to the rule of law approach international relations differently than states that lack such features.
By and large, democratic states do not go to war with one another, and they find sophisticated ways of cooperating across borders. Moreover, liberal theorists believe that realists fail to account for individuals and non-governmental organizations in international relations. These key actors have added a new and less state-centric dimension to how one should think about international politics. Constructivism does not espouse a substantive international relations theory of its own, but rather criticizes other theorists for failing to take account of the full content and sources of state interests.
For constructivists, the international system is an ideational construct of state actors, in which there are widely shared inter-subjective beliefs ideas, conceptions, assumptions. States construct one another in their relations; a concept such as sovereignty is not objectively true, but is the product of states constantly defining and redefining it through social interactions. To fully understand the interests of states, one must seek to understand human consciousness and its role in international society, for it helps explain why certain normssuch as a norm favoring the use of force to protect human rightscan emerge within the society of states.
To understand fully why states create treaties and international organizations, or other norms and regimes, it is useful to understand the basics of these theories, as well as those who criticize them. Ancient Times The oldest known treaty appears to date back to B.
Written on a stone monument in Sumerian.
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Among other things, the treaty records an oath taken by both sides to powerful Sumerian gods, who they worshiped in common, and in this sense these gods became the guarantors of the treaty. There are, of course many other examples of such treaties in ancient times, such as among the Hittites of Asia Minor, Babylon, Assur, and Egypt. While many were treaties of peace, others were collective defense treaties, some had extradition provisions, and still others set up autonomous regions for ethnic groups, such as the Greek cities in the delta of the Nile.
Thus, as noted above, the book of Deuteronomy contains probably the oldest written canons on warfare, prohibiting the killing of women and children and expressing a duty to uphold sworn promises to an enemy, even when difficult to do so. Similarly, in ancient India and China may be found warrior codes that called for humanity in warfare, as well as emergent rules on how rulers should treat envoys, the predecessors of todays diplomats.
As in many things, laws developed by Greece in the fourth century B. Among the Greek city-states there developed an elaborate treaty system, one probably not again seen until the s. These Greek treaties covered the typical topics of peace and alliances, but also addressed trade issues, coinage, the granting of personal liberties, protection of property, intermarriage, and rights to attend public games. An important Greek contribution came in the development of arbitration as a method of inter-state dispute settlement, on matters such as delimitation of boundaries or the use of streams and springs.
Among other things, the arbitrators had to take an oath to the Greek gods to act impartially and sometimes were from a third state. Yet perhaps Greeces greatest contribution to contemporary law, including contemporary international law, lies in the development of the idea of natural law discussed above , whereby universally applicable rules are derived not from man-made law but from right reason. Some important substantive doctrines in Romes relations with its enemies would later prove important for international law. Thus, it is in early Roman history that the concept of the just war emerged, consisting of elaborate proceedings in which a special group of priests would decide whether a foreign nation had violated its duties to the Romans if so, the Romans felt that the gods would side with them in war.
Roman treaties, however, were not particularly sophisticated, perhaps due to Romes success in simply conquering foreign dominions. Rather, Romes greatest significance for modern international law appears to lie in the general development of Roman private law. For when European scholars and statesmen in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries discussed below were casting about for a foundation on which to build international law, it was natural to look to Roman law which was held in high authority throughout Europe.
Roman law contained important principles that seemed, by analogy, appropriate to use in inter-state relations. Thus, Roman rules on private ownership of property were found useful in developing rules on territorial sovereignty for example, a rule that sovereignty over a newly discovered land requires actual possession of that land , Roman rules on private contracts were seen as appropriate for the development of treaty law, and Roman rules on powers accorded by superiors to inferiors were seen as relevant in developing rules on diplomatic agents.
The Roman body of rules known as the jus gentium had nothing to do with relations among empires let alone among states as we know them today. Rather, such law concerned the rules applied to non-Romans living or present within the Roman empire, which were more liberal than the older Roman civil law. Ultimately, these liberal rules came to be applied even among Romans, and became the core of what we now consider classical Roman law. After the fall of the Roman empire, Europe entered an extended period of decline and stagnation known as the Middle Ages. During this time, there were various barriers to the growth of international law in the form of alternative systems of rules.
First, there was imperial law, by which the Holy Roman Emperor was the supreme and universal authority. Given the existence of imperial law, there was little need to develop a system of law that would mediate among the princes of Europe. Some rules regarding relations with those outside the Empire did form, mostly relating to peace treaties and arbitration. Second, feudal law emerged due to a need for organizing the hierarchy of power at the local level.
Third, ecclesiastical law provided an extensive system of rules compelling obedience over all the Christian world. While this law was principally concerned with spiritual and moral matters, it strayed into secular matters. For example, the doctrine of the just war was significantly defined and developed by both Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, thus influencing the later development of international law on war and peace.
Thus, a rich body of customs concerning the treatment of vessels and seamen plying trade across the oceans coalesced into early maritime law. Likewise, the lex mercatoria or mercantile law emerged about nine centuries ago, when Europe experienced a commercial renaissance associated in part with the opening of trade with markets in Asia. This lawvirtually an autonomous legal orderformed from the practice of merchants across Europe, and governed a special class of people merchants in special places fairs, markets, and seaports.
The lex mercatoria was truly transnational in nature, based upon an amalgam of Europe-wide customs, and even administered by speedy, informal, and equity-oriented mercantile courts, rather than by regular judges. By developing over time useful standardized contract terms, shipping terms, and letter of credit terms, this lex mercatoria remains very much alive today and is kept vibrant through trade associations. The grip of the Catholic Church in Europe declined with the Reformation, which in turn sparked the Counter Reformation.
Such developments led to vicious religious warfare between Catholics and Protestants in Europe, and the rise of nation-states as a means of creating stability.