The Development of International Law by the Political Organs of the United Nations

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
The Development of International Law by the Political Organs of the United Nations

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International treaties and international custom have long been recognised as sources of international law. Yet only comparatively recently has it been admitted that international organisations are a significant forum in which to search for such sources of law. And the acknowledgment of the contribution of political organs to the development of international law has been even longer in coming. The political organs of the United Nations (UN) provide a clear forum for the practice of states, whether this practice comprises the total of their individual acts or the performance of collective acts. Further, the organs themselves have tasks to perform which also contribute to the clarification and development of law. Why, then, has there been a certain reluctance to concede a law-creating role to the political organs of the UN? Partly because the contractual theories of law development have ostensibly been reinforced by the UN Charter distinctions between ‘decisions’ and ‘recommendations’ as well as by stipulated voting majorities.

Keywords: United Nations; international law; political organs; UN Charter; states; law development; contractual theories

Chapter.  3884 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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