doctrine of incorporation

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The doctrine that rules of international law automatically form part of municipal law. It is opposed to the doctrine of transformation, which states that international law only forms a part of municipal law if accepted as such by statute or judicial decisions. It is not altogether clear which view English law takes with respect to rules of customary international law. As far as international treaties are concerned, the sovereign has the power to make or ratify treaties so as to bind England under international law, but these treaties have no effect in municipal law (with the exception of treaties governing the conduct of war) until enacted by Parliament. However, judges will sometimes consider provisions of international treaties (e.g. those relating to human rights) in applying municipal law. It has been said that directives of the European Community have the force of law in member states, but practice varies widely (see Community legislation).

Subjects: Law.

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