The Internal Morality of International Law

17 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2020 Last revised: 4 Aug 2020

See all articles by Evan Fox-Decent

Evan Fox-Decent

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Evan J. Criddle

William & Mary Law School

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

In this essay we build on public fiduciary theory and Lon Fuller’s notion of the internal morality of law. We posit two criteria necessary to establish the internal morality of international law. We argue that the internal morality of international law is derived from the synthesis of a fiduciary criterion of legitimacy and the prohibition of unilateralism. The former refers to the idea that any public action which cannot be reasonably said to be made in the name of, or on behalf of, those subject to it is illegitimate. The latter refers to the prohibition of one state imposing its will on another. We argue that the fiduciary criterion and the prohibition of unilateralism are complementary, and their synthesis provides a compelling explanation of international law’s authority. This is evident from the character and legal effects of jus cogens or peremptory norms. Finally, we address numerous challenges that could be raised against this conception of international law, and its implications for the rule of law in the international realm.

Keywords: Public Fiduciary Law, International Law, Legal Theory, Jurisprudence, Lon Fuller

Suggested Citation

Fox-Decent, Evan and Criddle, Evan J., The Internal Morality of International Law (2018). Fox-Decent, Evan and Criddle, Evan J., "The Internal Morality of International Law" (2018) 63:3&4 McGill Law Journal 765, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616756

Evan Fox-Decent (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec H3A 1W9
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.mcgill.ca/law/about/profs/fox-decent-evan

Evan J. Criddle

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
59
Abstract Views
507
Rank
675,172
PlumX Metrics