Stability and Change in International Customary Law

31 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2003 Last revised: 8 Sep 2008

Vincy Fon

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna

Abstract

While customary law is capable of creating universally binding rules, the rules that govern its formation allow states to gain an exemption from emerging norms of customary law by remaining persistent objectors. This form of objection requires the objecting state to take express action to oppose an emerging practice by making its objections widely known before the practice solidifies into a binding rule of custom. Likewise, after the custom is formed states have an opportunity to express an objection or depart from it. In this latter case, the departing state does not obtain an exemption from the binding custom unless other states acquiesce to its departure. We model the effects of persistent objector and subsequent objector doctrines in the formation and change of customary law when heterogeneous states are involved.

Keywords: Customary law, persistent objector, subsequent objector, norms

JEL Classification: K10, K33, D70

Suggested Citation

Fon, Vincy and Parisi, Francesco, Stability and Change in International Customary Law. George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 03-21; Supreme Court Economic Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=399960 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.399960

Vincy Fon (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

2115 G Street, N.W.
Monroe Hall, #366
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-7580 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100
Italy

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