International Law in National Courts: A Study of the Enforcement of International Law in German, Swiss, French, and Belgian Courts

International Law in National Courts: A Study of the Enforcement of International Law in German, Swiss, French, and Belgian Courts

International Law in National Courts: A Study of the Enforcement of International Law in German, Swiss, French, and Belgian Courts

International Law in National Courts: A Study of the Enforcement of International Law in German, Swiss, French, and Belgian Courts

Excerpt

The relation between international law and the municipal law of states is at present one of the most controversial and widely discussed subjects among continental European-- especially German, Austrian and Italian--jurists. In general it may be said that the question is regarded as principally a theoretical one which depends, in the last analysis, on the writer's concept of the nature and authority of international law. For the judge of a municipal court, however, the anti- thesis between international law and municipal law takes the form of the purely practical question: Is this court bound to apply the rules of international law?

This practical aspect of the relation between international law and municipal law, namely, the enforcement of the former in municipal courts, has been neglected to a certain extent in the discussions of continental European writers. It is clear that the position of international law in the courts can not be established by theories, but requires a minute examination of the practice of the courts in actual cases. Such an examination has been attempted in this study for the courts of Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium.

A discussion of the views of outstanding writers on the relation between international law and municipal law would undoubtedly prove to be of interest as an introduction to the subsequent description of the practice of the courts in these four countries. It would, however, constitute a treatise by itself and exceeds the scope of this study.

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