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Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Guide

Foreign, Comparative, and International Law: The Differences

Foreign, Comparative, and International Law (FCIL) are akin to three sides of a triangle.

Foreign law relates to the laws of a nation-state or other sovereign entity outside of the jurisdiction of domestic legal authority. For instance, for United States citizens, the domestic laws of any other nation-state, such as the People's Republic of China or the Russian Federation, would be considered foreign law.

Comparative law, by contrast, considers domestic law and foreign law side-by-side, hence the moniker "comparative" law. An example of this would be comparative constitutional law, which examines the constitutions of different states in relation to one another.

International law forms the third side of the FCIL triangle and covers all legal facets of the relations between and among sovereign entities. It is subdivided into public and private international law, with the former focusing upon the relations among and between nation-states as sovereign entities, while the latter concentrates upon how the laws and relations of independent, coequal sovereigns interact and affect the activities of the many citizens of those nation-states.