International Law: Key Foundations, Globalization Impact

Key Foundations of International Law

International law, also known as the law of nations, is the collection of legal norms, principles, and rules, uniting different states, which are recognized as international actors, and regulating their relations. The idea of “developing international law through the restatement of existing rules or through the formulation of new rules” belongs to Jeremy Bentham, who proposed it in the last quarter of the 18th century (International Law Commission, 2017, para. 1). However, at that time, this notion had a utopian character and since then, it has overcome numerous modifications as private individuals, societies, and governments began making attempts of codification. Today, there are a few specific principles and foundations, which international law is based on.

International law is a body of rules and standards, aimed at regulating communication between different states in numerous areas, such as armed conflict, space, trade, human rights, boundaries, economic development, climate change, investment treaties, and diplomatic relations. The main sources of international law are treaties, international customary law, and general principles of law recognized by civilized nations (Butchard, 2020). Treaties or conventions are written agreements signed by different states. Such documents, also called statutes or protocols, regulate the relations between the parties. The main principle of treaty law is “pacta sunt servanda”, which means that agreements must be respected and strictly followed (Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Center, n.d. b). Among the examples of such treaties are European Union Treaties and Bilateral Investment Treaties. International customary law is an unwritten source, based and bound on traditional practices, which are accepted as rules. By contrast with treaty law, this one concerns all states and not only those who signed an agreement. These regulations are especially important in armed conflict due to the limited protection by treaty law.

The last foundation of international law is the general principles of legislation, which help to regulate the relations between different states and parties. The major principles, established by the United Nations Charter, include the promotion of human rights, the strict limitation on the right to use force against other states, and the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force (Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Center, n.d. a). These basic ideas provide guidelines for judges in the process of decision making, at the same time, limiting their power in working with individual cases, making these general principles important in the field of human rights application.

In conclusion, international law is a collection of norms, standards, and principles, helping to regulate the relations between different states in such essential areas as economy, diplomacy, investments, conflict, trade, boundaries, and human rights. There are three main sources of international law, which make a strong foundation for this body of rules. The first one is treaty law, implying agreements in written form, customary law, regarding the traditional practices, and general principles, which include human rights protection and limitations on the right to use force in conflicts. These fundamental ideas are aimed at helping judges to make decisions when solving various individual cases, restricting them from exceeding their authority.

Globalization Impact on International Law

Today, humanity lives in the era of globalization and free markets economic systems. The term “globalization” describes an objective process of the appearance and development of new approaches to the correlation between different countries. This process “refers to the interdependence between countries arising from the integration of different aspects of the economy, such as trade” (Surugiu & Surugiu, 2015, p. 131). The driving force behind globalization is technological and intellectual advance, which has been quickly developing during the past centuries. The process allowed reducing the cost of transportation and communication, making economic relations over large distances possible. Globalization has an influence on each aspect of life in modern society, including the sphere of legislation and, especially international law.

Globalization impacts the nature of social relations in terms of cooperation between different countries and nations, requiring the existence of global justice, thus, influencing international law. There are many ways, in which this process of interdependence between the countries is reflected in the sphere of legislation. First of all, it helps international commerce by making the process of movement of finances, labor, and goods across national borders easier to stimulate economic development. It also requires multiple changes in domestic law in a big range of areas, including the regulation of trade and investments, the protection of human rights, and cultural heritage. Moreover, today, the system of international law should function against the background of a new reality with threats to world order as cyberspace has caused certain problems, requiring an expansion, and a reconceptualization of the term. Due to this reason, international law has to develop new ideas, rules, and regulations to correspond with developing globalization. From this perspective, the importance of international law becomes crucial for society as it becomes more global and open.

Globalization has changed the entire approach to the understanding of international law as the process led to the appearance of international standards, ethics, and policies of non-discrimination. As a result, the client’s expectations have significantly increased and the demand for new types of professionals in this sphere has appeared. Modern attorneys should specialize in such domains as project finance. Moreover, those lawyers, who work with global clients, must be familiar with the norms and laws of other countries. This process of globalization has been driven by internet development, new technologies, tools, and opportunities for the automation of legal processes. Today, legal firms face the situation of a necessity of looking for their place in the market, which is also influenced by the appearance of virtual law companies. Modern technologies allow professionals to work remotely and the clients can receive services from a legal expert in any part of the world. There has also been a growing demand for specialized firms focused on international law, intellectual property, and patents to meet the requirements of the global marketplace.

In conclusion, globalization is the interdependence of different countries in the economic sphere. This process was caused by the rapid development of technologies, which demanded the frontiers to be broadened. The phenomenon influenced all the spheres of human life, including legislation and, especially international law. The process of globalization requires serious changes in this sphere as it becomes more important due to the world becoming global and open. This situation resulted in the appearance of specific international norms and rules, aimed at the protection of human rights and cultural heritage. It also led to a growing demand for new types of professionals, as the expectations of the clients have increased due to the appearance of new technologies, allowing receiving services from law companies all over the world.


Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Center. (n.d. a). Principles of public international law. Web.

Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Center. (n.d. b). Sources of international law. Web.

International Law Commission. (2017). About the Commission. Web.

Surugiu, M.R., & Surugiu, C. (2015). International trade, globalization and economic interdependence between European countries: Implications for businesses and marketing framework. Procedia Economics and Finance, 32, 131-138.

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DemoEssays. "International Law: Key Foundations, Globalization Impact." December 24, 2022.