What are the Functions of the General Principles? Good Faith and International Legal Pragmatics

29 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017

See all articles by Ulf Linderfalk

Ulf Linderfalk

Lund University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 20, 2017

Abstract

To assist current efforts of the academic community to develop a fuller understanding of the function of general principles of international law, this article inquires into the operation of the principle of good faith. As argued, first, good faith serves as a principle of international legal pragmatics. It helps to explain the understanding of conduct in much the same way as, say, the requirement that in a verbal utterance, the first singular pronoun “I” be used to refer to the utterer, and a temporal expression such as “now” to the point in time of the utterance. Second, the principle of good faith does not itself presuppose the good of any particular state of affairs. It helps to ensure the comprehension of communicative behaviour on the part of international law-makers, irrespective of the moral or political agenda that they themselves happen to be pursuing. Third, in international law, there are other norms that share the traits of the principle of good faith. They, too, can be characterised as principle of international legal pragmatics.

Keywords: general principles of international law, good faith, pragmatics

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Linderfalk, Ulf, What are the Functions of the General Principles? Good Faith and International Legal Pragmatics (April 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2955648 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2955648

Ulf Linderfalk (Contact Author)

Lund University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Box 207
Lund, SE-22100
Sweden

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