Article

General Customary Law

Tony Carty

in International Law

ISBN: 9780199796953
Published online March 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0066
General Customary Law

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  • International Courts and Tribunals
  • Private International Law and Conflict of Laws
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International society is divided into sovereign states and does not have an international legislature, executive, or judiciary. For this reason there is a virtual consensus of academic opinion that general customary international law is, and will remain, the main source of the law among states. This is because the concept of custom reflects the basic idea that the law that governs states is what grows out of their practice with one another, provided that they accept the practice as legally binding. In the absence of a world state, it is the actual dealings of states with one another that give rise to law, just as in a primitive community before a national state is established. The very informality of this practice, and especially the formation of the law as a product of retroactive reflection on the practice, makes general customary law a rather obscure, as well as a contested, subject. However, the passion with which international lawyers contest, exchange, and compromise views on custom attests to the importance of understanding how, in the past and in the present, the dynamic interactions of states have been seen to give rise to general customary law binding upon them.

Article.  14962 words. 

Subjects: International Law ; International Courts and Tribunals ; Private International Law and Conflict of Laws ; Public International Law

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