CSS International Law Solved Paper 2016 Question 5

What is meant by State Jurisdiction? Discuss different types of state jurisdiction under International Law?


Jurisdiction concerns the power of the state under international law to regulate or otherwise impact upon people, property, and circumstances and reflects the basic principles of state sovereignty, equality of states, and non-interference in domestic affairs.

While the relative exercise of powers by the legislative, executive and judicial organs of government is a matter for the municipal legal and political system, the extraterritorial application of jurisdiction will depend upon the rules of international law.

The principle of domestic jurisdiction

It follows from the nature of the sovereignty of states that while a state is supreme internally, that is within its own territorial frontiers, it must not intervene in the domestic affairs of another nation. State functions which are regarded as beyond the reach of international legal control and within the exclusive sphere of state management include the setting of conditions for the grant of nationality and the elaboration of the circumstances in which aliens may enter the country.

Domestic jurisdiction is a relative concept, in that changing principles of international law have had the effect of limiting and reducing its extent and in that matters of internal regulation may well have international repercussions and thus fall within the ambit of international law.

The principle was also noted in the Nottebohm case, where the Court remarked that while a state may formulate such rules as it wished regarding the acquisition of nationality, the exercise of diplomatic protection upon the basis of nationality was within the purview of international law. In addition, no state may plead its municipal laws as a justification for the breach of an obligation of international law.