Equity, General Principles of Law, and the International Rule of Law

Posted: 6 Jan 2020

Date Written: December 20, 2019

Abstract

Both equity and general principles of law are highly debated concepts in international law. A connection between them has been revealed in practice, yet a comprehensive analysis of their relationship is still lacking. In this paper, I submit that the nature of equity and general principles of law should be understood in the light of the tension between several requirements of the rule of law. Based on the history of the source of general principles of law and its application in judicial and arbitral practice, I argue that general principles of law are essentially a form of equity that is indispensable for achieving the goal of the international rule of law. The nature of general principles of law as a form of equity has several implications on the method for their identification, their scope of application, and the institutional requirements for the legitimacy of their use.

Keywords: General principles of law, equity, the international rule of law, judicial function

Suggested Citation

Shao, Xuan, Equity, General Principles of Law, and the International Rule of Law (December 20, 2019). 2019 ESIL Annual Research Forum, Goettingen, 4-5 April 2019 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3513474

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