In the established tradition of the Clarendon Law Series, International Law is both an introduction to the subject and a critical consideration of its central themes and debates. This book explores the scope and functioning of international law, and how it helps to underpin our international political and economic systems. It goes on to examine the wider theoretical implications of international law's role in modern society. The opening chapters of the book explain how international law underpins the international political and economic system by establishing the basic principle of the independence of States, and their right to choose their own political, economic, and cultural systems. Subsequent chapters focus on the limits of national freedom of choice - the interntional minimum standards set in international human rights law, and the 'macro-political' rights of minorities, and the rights of peoples to self-determination. Two final chapters look at the international law principles applicable to the use of force and the control of international crime, as well as the processes for the prevention and settlement of international disputes. Of all legal subjects, international law is at once the most richly variegated and arguably the least understood, even by lawyers. For the past two decades it has been the focus of intense analysis and comment by legal philosophers, international relations specialists, linguists, professional lawyers, historians, economists, and political scientists, as well as those who study, teach, and practice the discipline.Yet, the realities of international trade and communication mean that regulations in one State often directly affect matters within others. This book explains how through the organizing concepts of territory, sovereignty, and jurisdiction international law seeks to achieve an established set of principles according to which the power to make and enforce policies is distributed among States.