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The Precautionary Principle: Development of an International Standard


Sonia E. Rolland


Northeastern University - School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center

20002

Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 23, p. 429, 2002
Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper

Abstract:     
This Note characterizes and evaluates the current status of the precautionary principle in international law and suggests how it could be more effectively incorporated into bodies of law such as trade law. Much of the literature focuses on whether the principle is a legal rule. This Note shows that precaution need not necessarily fit into the traditional categories of international legal sources but may derive its legal force from being interpreted as a standard.

The Note argues that the legal status of the principle has evolved from a policy discourse to a binding form. However, the status of the principle as a standard is not necessarily a step on the way to the creation of a rule. The fact that a treaty makes it a rule to use precaution does not alter the nature of precaution as a standard. The precautionary principle will therefore gain its legal value from being refined by negotiators and interpreted by adjudicators rather than being turned into a traditional rule.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: precautinary principle, best efforts, due diligence, international law, environmental law, WTO, ECJ, EU, ITLOS, GMO, fisheries, asbestos, beef hormones

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Date posted: June 22, 2010 ; Last revised: November 13, 2012

Suggested Citation

Rolland, Sonia E., The Precautionary Principle: Development of an International Standard (20002). Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 23, p. 429, 2002; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1564237

Contact Information

Sonia Elise Rolland (Contact Author)
Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, 02115
United States
+1 617.37.7331 (Phone)
+1 617.373.5056 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.northeastern.edu/law/faculty/directory/rolland.html
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Ave
Washington, DC 20001
United States
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