Is “International Law” the Same as “Foreign Law”?

by Julian Ku

The Telegraph commits one of my pet peeves in this headline and article on the Greek Debt Crisis:

Greek talks with international-law debt holders hit impasse

Despite earlier this year forcing most creditors to take losses of 75pc on the debt, Athens has still to deal with its bonds which were issued under international, as opposed to domestic, law.

The Greek government said it held a series of meetings last week with investors holding bonds under foreign law with a face value of about €20bn, in an effort to bring them into the deal. The bondholders were asked to vote on whether a majority of investors should be allowed to enforce the losses on a minority by activating “collective action clauses”, which were deployed in the wider debt restructuring deal.

I seriously doubt Greek bonds were issued under “international law”. Rather, I am sure they were issued under the law of some other country (the U.K.?).  So why does even the Telegraph refer to it as “international law.” Is it a Britishism? Someone help me out here….

2 Responses

  1. Perhaps an answer may be that most newspaper around the world have an ‘International’ section which normally covers mostly ‘foreign’ news and not truly international news…

  2. The majority of Greek bonds (96% if I am not mistaken) are governed by Greek law. The rest are governed by English law. This subject was debated  in details in a series of posts in Opinio Juris approximately two months ago.

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