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Shades of Grey: Soft Law and the Validity of Public International Law

(2012) 25(2) Leiden Journal of International Law

29 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013 Last revised: 17 May 2016

Jaye Ellis

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 16, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Soft law, validity of international law, internal morality of law, autopoietic theory, publicness of law

Suggested Citation

Ellis, Jaye, Shades of Grey: Soft Law and the Validity of Public International Law (May 16, 2011). (2012) 25(2) Leiden Journal of International Law. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2201817

Jaye Ellis (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada
514 398 6625 (Phone)
514 398 3233 (Fax)

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