Shades of Grey: Soft Law and the Validity of Public International Law
McGill University - Faculty of Law
May 16, 2011
(2012) 25(2) Leiden Journal of International Law
Soft law is often seen as a way to overcome certain problems of legitimacy in international law, notably the weaknesses of a voluntaristic conception of international law’s validity. Other perceived benefits of soft law include flexibility, speed of adoption and modification, and even effectiveness. Yet soft law is seen by others as a threat to law, because it effaces the border between law and politics. This paper explores different approaches to the boundary between law and not-law which seek both to maintain this boundary and to reconceptualise it in a way that better anchors the validity of international legal rules.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Soft law, validity of international law, internal morality of law, autopoietic theory, publicness of law
Date posted: January 16, 2013 ; Last revised: May 17, 2016
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