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International law makers
United Nations building in New York
                  with national flags reaching into a clear blue sky

English law does not exist within a vacuum. Wider international laws influence the UK legislative context.

The main sources of international law are:

  • The United Nations;
  • The Council of Europe; and
  • The European Community.
In some cases this legislation is incorporated into UK law directly.

For example, the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (ECHR 1950) is now enshrined in UK law through the
Human Rights Act 1998

Important international treaties
Definition of legislation within
                  the pages of a dictionary

When international law is not explicitly contained within UK statutes, any areas of dispute must be considered in terms of what most closely interprets international treaties:

ECHR 1950 (particularly Article 8)

The impact of international legislation on the UK
The Houses of Parliament from across
                  the Thames

The interpretation of the impact of these treaties upon legal judgements and the responsibilities of individuals and agencies is another key area of case law.

European and International Courts also provide a higher level of appeal for individuals who wish to challenge decisions made by UK courts of appeal.

UK law broadly reflects the contents and intentions of these international rulings, though the UK government has determined that UK law may not fully enact some specific issues.

It is important to remember that not all parts of the United Kingdom have the same legislative framework.