This publication examines the engagement of Pakistan’s domestic courts with public international law. Though the contents of the Benchbook are intended to be informative to all members of the judiciary, the superior judiciary is considered the primary audience because it exercises the most expansive jurisdiction over those issues that involve questions of international law.
The first section of the Benchbook encompasses an introduction to basic principles of public international law. Public international law is distinguished from private international law, which will not be considered in this book. The introduction includes an analysis of sources of international law, both primary and secondary.
The Benchbook then addresses the concept of the rule of law and the incorporation of international law within the domestic rule of law. This is followed by an examination of the role of the domestic judiciary with respect to international law. The Benchbook then examines the manner in which international law is incorporated in Pakistan’s domestic law. This includes through legislative and judicial measures, including in relation to a conflict between domestic and international law. Also addressed is the value of understanding and interpreting the substance of an international treaty, particularly one to which Pakistan is a party. Finally, examples of the use of international law in Pakistan’s domestic jurisprudence and the manner and method by which select other states incorporate domestic law is provided in the annexes.
To maintain a user-friendly approach, the Benchbook is written in an outline format similar to the Benchbook on International Law written by the American Society of International Law. It includes in its conclusion case law examples from Pakistan’s superior courts. These cases reflect international law issues ranging from human rights to the use of force to access to justice and thus demonstrate the significant depth and breadth of domestic issues that relate to international law.