Skip to main content


Key Terms and Concepts

civil law the legal system in most European and South American countries which is based on doctrines and rules developed by legal scholars
common law the legal system used in England and most of the United States which relies on prior case law to resolve disputes rather than written codes
compromis more completely, a compromis d'arbitrage is the agreement governing the terms of arbitration reached by the parties in a dispute who have voluntarily agreed to submit their differences to arbitration
customary international law aspects of international law derived from custom - consistent and repetitive action by nation states over time
estoppel a legal doctrine that prevents a person or agency denying or asserting something that contradicts a matter of fact already established under the law
international law laws that govern the conduct of independent nations in their relationships with one another
jurisprudence the theory and philosophy of law
municipal law the national, domestic, or internal law of a nation state as opposed to international law

non liquet

a situation where there is no applicable law, or the law is unclear

opinio juris

the second element of customary international law that is necessary to establish a legally binding custom. Opinio juris is an obligation that subjectively binds a state to the law in question. (ICJ Statute, Article 38(1)(b)). The subjective aspect of opinio juris means it is an unsettled and debated notion in international law