Man is a social animal. He cannot live alone. As he lives with other human beings so there are disputes. The laws which are made by the state to regulate the relations between man and man, are known as municipal laws.

Similarly a state cannot live in isolation. It has to maintain contact with other states. Sometimes there are conflicts and differences.

The rules which deal with disputes between or among states are known as international law.The term international law was first coined by Jeremy Bentham in 1780.

Some Definitions:


Professor Gilchrist has defined International Law, “as that body of rules which civilized slates observe in their dealings with each other, these rules being enforced by each particular state according to its own moral standards or convenience.

‘ Brierly says, “The body of rules and principles of action which are binding upon civilized slates in their relations with one another.

” In the words of Wheaton, International law consists of more rules of conduct which reason deduces as consonant with justice from the nature of society existing among independent nations, with such modifications and definitions as may be established by general consent.

” Lawrence defines international law as the rules which determine the conduct of the general body of civilized states in their mutual dealings.


” Oppenheim defines it as “the body of cus­tomary and conventional rules which are considered legally binding by civilized states in their intercourse with each other.” States are mutually inter-dependent and thus need laws to regulate their mutual relations.

No states can remain in isolation. These laws are not made at one time but have grown and developed as the international community of states has grown. These have grown either through customs accepted by states as valid or through conventions and treaties concluded by states through international conferences and congresses.