Legitimacy and Fairness

Thomas M. Franck

in Fairness in International Law and Institutions

Published in print January 1998 | ISBN: 9780198267850
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683398 | DOI:
Legitimacy and Fairness

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This chapter explores the legitimacy component of fairness of international law. The degree to which a rule is perceived as legitimate is itself affected by certain intrinsic properties both of that rule and of the process by which it was made, and the process of its interpretation by judges and officials. Legitimacy is that attribute of a rule which conduces to the belief that it is fair because it was made and is applied in accordance with ‘right process’. Four paradigms of ‘right process’ which legitimate the international system of rules and rulemaking are: states are sovereign and equal; their sovereignty can only be restricted by consent; consent binds; and states, in joining the international community, are bound by the ground rules of community. This chapter also discusses four indicators of legitimacy: determinacy, symbolic validation, coherence, and adherence.

Keywords: international law; fairness; legitimacy; community; determinacy; symbolic validation; coherence; adherence; consent

Chapter.  10680 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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