The United Nations and Law-making: The Political Organs

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
The United Nations and Law-making: The Political Organs

Show Summary Details


In the early 1960s, the proposition that the political organs of the United Nations (UN) were engaged in law-making was regarded as novel. This chapter argues that the political bodies of international organisations are a relevant forum in which to search for acknowledged sources of law, namely, treaties and customs; that the UN provides a comparatively sharply focused forum for state practice by UN Members; and that UN organs, in their day-to-day work, necessarily contribute to the clarification and creation of law. The proposition is that the General Assembly and Security Council provide a concentrated forum for the practice of states on a wide range of issues. To this extent, the UN political organs provide sources formelles — the evidences of a recognised source of law in the form of state practice showing the existence of a custom. All of the UN decisions and resolutions, in various ways, contribute to the gradual development of international law and provide some probative evidence as to opinio juris.

Keywords: United Nations; international law; political organs; law-making; opinio juris; General Assembly; Security Council; treaties; sources formelles; customs

Chapter.  5283 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.