History of the International Law


The present-day international law may be said to be about four hundred years old. However, the roots of international law go much deeper which were observed by different nations of antiquity with regard to their external relation.


The codification of international law involves three basic processes:

  1. The grouping together of the rules dealing with a given subject of law in an orderly and logical manner.
  2. An attempt to correct defects in those rules, that is, the filling of omissions, the elimination of archaisms, and, in general, the modification of the rules to take into account changes in conditions and policies.
  3. The enactment of a new set of rules into binding law by some agency having the power to do this act.


In this term, there are 3 words first one is “inter” the second one is “national” and the third one is “law”. All three words have different meanings altogether. So INTER means between two things, nation means two different states in the world context and the third word is a law which means set of rules.

So in combination, we can say, international law is a set of rules between two nations. There are some other definitions regarding international law, and one of the most famous or relevant in the world context is the “Oppenhium” definition.

OPPENHIUM defines international law as “International law is a body of rules which are legally binding on the state in their intercourse with each other, these used are primarily those which govern the relation of state, but states are not the only subject of international law. International organizations and to some extent may be subject to rights conferred duty imposed by international law.”

This is the new definition of international law before it there was one more that has some errors in regards to international law.

In the above definition, the word state is also used. What is a state or for making a state what are the things are required?

So for making a state we required 4 major things:

  1. Population
  2. Boundary
  3. Government
  4. Sovereign (legal capacity)


  • State: As above mentioned the state consists of 4 major things, those are population, boundary, government, and sovereign. Population means a set of people who can create a state; the boundary is the area in which a specific people will rule according to their needs; government is again one of the important things because they have the right to govern and to make rules and regulations and the last one is sovereign which means the single authority of any specific person. States are primarily subsequent areas.
  • Individual: A person, for the government, make laws to follow and they create the state as they will be considered as a population which is important to create a state.
  • International organizations: So the international organization is a set of rules which take care of specific behavior like united nations specific behavior or object is to maintain the peace between the countries, WTO is for trade purposes, WHO is for Health purposes, etc.

These are the same basic thing for understating the development of the international organization. If we talk about the development of international organizations then there are many jurists, authors, and different countries’ rules and their influence.

In the development of international law there are 3 main theories:

  1. Realist theory: this theory only focuses on the only states. This means the state is one of the important things in the international organization. But this theory is not completely true because there are many other things also involved in making the international organization.
  2. Fiction theory: this theory is also only focused on the individual. This is again not completely true but we can say that this one is certainly true because making a state one of the smallest units and important as well.
  3. Functional theory: this theory includes both things, one is the state, and the other is the individual. Because the international organization is the composition of the state + individual. So both the things place an important role.

In the case of Reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the united nations, the court answered the development of the international organization and said that the development of international organization has been influenced by the requirement of international life, and the progressive increase in the collective activities of the state has already stated.


To sum up, all the things we discussed many things but still some important points are left. But many factors work together for the development of international law-technical development, economical, political, sociological, and strategic interests. However, there are still some serious gaps in international communities that are making all possible endeavors to fill these gaps.

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(MARCH – APRIL 2022)




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