International Law

Introduction

A commitment to the rule of international law is enshrined in the Constitution of Ireland and is one of the core principles of Irish foreign policy. Article 29.3 of the Constitution states that "Ireland accepts the generally recognised principles of international law as its rule of conduct in its relations with other States".

In light of this principle, international law is a key component in the development and implementation of Irish foreign policy. This is reflected in the structure of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which contains a Legal Division to work alongside the various policy Divisions and missions abroad, to ensure an appropriate legal input in the formulation and implementation of Ireland’s foreign policy and to contribute to effective Irish participation in international legal fora.

The role of Legal Division

The principal functions of the Department of Foreign Affairs Legal Division are as follows:

  • to provide advice and legal information, particularly on matters of public international law, human rights law and European Union law, to the Minister for Foreign Affairs;
  • to represent Ireland in international legal proceedings (including the European Court of Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice and in international fora (such as the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, the bodies established under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and relevant Council of Europe and EU bodies);
  • and to represent Ireland and to assist in negotiations concerned with international legal matters.
  •  The Legal Division is also responsible for publication and registration of treaties.

It is regretted that Legal Division is unable to give legal advice to members of the public.

For statements made by Ireland on certain international law issues, click here.

Irish Treaty Series

For the convenience of the public and for the purposes of assisting in the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law it has been the practice of the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 1930, with certain exceptions, to publish the international agreements to which the State becomes a party in the Irish Treaty Series which is available on this site. 

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