General Principles and the Coherence of International Law – Principes Généraux Et Cohérence Du Droit International
52 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 22, 2017
This is the concept note, abstracts and other documentation for a seminar on the role of general principles in the international legal system. Treaty law and custom may contribute to the fragmentation of international law. Principles are only recognised if they are general. They have a potential force of convergence and unification. They also have a residual function as a gap filler, and a lex specialis principle could mean that treaty law and custom would be lex superior to the lex generalis general principles. It is generally recognised that this is not so simple, and that general principles could constitute peremptory norms (jus cogens), be non-derogable and in general apply erga omnes. General principles of law represent the normative pillar of every legal system.
A main research question is whether international practice provides evidence on, next to such a gap-filling function, the extent to which general principles of international law have strengthened the systemic nature of international law, both at the substantive and procedural levels. This leads on to the next questions: what are the consequences for international law as a legal system, and for the argumentation in courts, reasoning in judgments and scholarship.
Keywords: General principles, fragmentation, convergences, coherence of international law, sources of law, International Court of Justice
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