JUS GENTIUMjus gentium (j[schwa]s jen-shee-[schwa]m). [Latin ¡°law of nations¡±]
1. INTERNATIONAL LAW.
2. Roman law. The body of law, taken to be common to all civilized peoples, and applied in dealing with the relations between Roman citizens and foreigners.
¡ª Also termed jus inter gentes.
¡°The early Roman law (the jus civile) applied only to Roman citizens. It was formalistic and hard and reflected the status of a small, unsophisticated society rooted in the soil. It was totally unable to provide a relevant background for an expanding, developing nation. This need was served by the creation and progressive augmentation of the jus gentium. This provided simplified rules to govern the relations between foreigners, and between foreigners and citizens…. The progressive rules of the jus gentium gradually overrode the narrow jus civile until the latter system ceased to exist. Thus, the jus gentium became the common law of the Roman Empire and was deemed to be of universal application.¡± Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law 15 (4th ed. 1997).
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