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Cover International Law

5. Soft Law in International Law-Making  

Alan Boyle

From a law-making perspective the term ’soft lawʼ is in most cases simply a convenient description for a variety of non-legally binding instruments used in contemporary international relations by States and international organizations. Soft law in this sense can be contrasted with hard law, which is always binding. Non-binding soft law instruments are not law per se, but may be evidence of existing law, or formative of the opinio juris or State practice that generates new customary law. They may additionally acquire binding legal character as elements of a treaty-based regulatory regime, or constitute a subsequent agreement between the parties regarding interpretation of a treaty or application of its provisions. Other non-binding soft-law instruments are significant mainly because they are the first step in a process eventually leading to conclusion of a multilateral treaty, or because they provide the detailed rules and technical standards required for the implementation of a treaty. An alternative view of soft law focuses on the contrast between ’rulesʼ, involving clear and reasonably specific commitments which are in this sense hard law, and ’normsʼ or ’principlesʼ, which, being more open-textured or general in their content and wording, can thus be seen as soft even when contained in a binding treaty. It is a fallacy to dismiss soft law because it does not readily fit a theory of what is ‘law’: properly understood, it can and does contribute to the corpus of international law-making.


Cover International Law

13. The Relationship between International and National Law  

Eileen Denza

This chapter examines the relationship between international and national law. It discusses the approach of international courts and tribunals; the approach of national parliaments and national courts; and some problems that arise in national courts. While prospects for a harmonized approach to the relationship between international and national law are dim, conflict can be avoided through the close involvement of international lawyers in the treaty-making and ratification process; attention at the time of ratification to implementation questions; the teaching of international law as part of the professional training of judges; and expert assistance to national courts when international law questions arise.


Cover Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law

7. International organizations  

This chapter focuses on the main legal problems arising from interstate organizations. Topics discussed include legal personality, privileges and immunities, performance of acts in the law, interpretation of the constituent instrument, relations of international organizations, law-making through organizations, and legal control of acts of organizations.


Cover Cassese's International Law

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalá

This book provides an authoritative account of international law. It preserves and extends Antonio Cassese’s exceptional combination of a historically informed, conceptually strong, and practice-infused analysis of international law, comparing the treatment of most issues in classical international law with the main subsequent developments of this constantly evolving field. Part I of the book covers the origins and foundations of the international community. Part II is about the subjects of the international community, including States, international organizations, individuals, and other international legal subjects. Part III examines the main processes of international law-making and the normative interactions between different norms, of both domestic and international law. Part IV studies the mechanisms of implementation of international law, including State responsibility, diplomatic and judicial means of dispute settlement, and enforcement mechanisms. Part V covers a number of areas which have undergone particular development and reached a high level of specialization, namely, UN law, the law governing the use of force, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international environmental law, and international economic law (trade and investment).


Cover Birnie, Boyle, and Redgwell's International Law and the Environment

2. International Governance and the Formulation of Environmental Law and Policy  

This chapter examines the institutions of global governance responsible for formulating and implementing international environmental policy and law. It starts by defining global governance as a continuing process via which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated. This provides the environment where cooperative action may be taken. Global governance includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements. In this situation, there is no single model or form of global governance, nor is there a single structure or set of structures. Global governance, therefor, is a broad, dynamic, complex, process of interactive decision-making. The chapter also looks at the differences in international environmental policy and law today compared to when this book first published twenty-five years previously.