Naturalism in International Adjudication
J. Patrick Kelly
Widener University Delaware Law School
March 5, 2008
Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Vol. 18, 2008
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-29
By what processes should international legal norms be made? This paper argues that international and domestic tribunals are increasingly utilizing forms of "Naturalism" to articulate norms rather than using methodologies based on the consent of states as traditionally required. The paper discusses several types of naturalism including the misuse of customary international law, the evolutionary or expansive interpretation of treaty norms, and the adoption of a universal ideology of human rights. It argues that naturalistic methodologies undermine the legitimacy of norms, mask unresolved conflicts of values and interests that reemerge, and short-circuit more effective international lawmaking processes and solutions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: international law, international legal theory, World Trade Organization, international tribunals, international adjudication, customary international law, sources of law
JEL Classification: K33
Date posted: March 11, 2008 ; Last revised: April 19, 2009
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