International Law Theory

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THEORIES AS TO THE BASIS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW Much theoretical controversy has been waged over the nature and basis of international law. In the coming sections the various aspects of the theories trying to give satisfactory structure of the concerned law. Does International posses law quality ? One theory which has enjoyed wide acceptance is that international law is not true law, but a code of rules of conduct of moral force only. The English writer on jurisprudence, John Austin (1790-1859), must be regarded as foremost among the protagonists of this theory. Others who have questioned the true legal character of international law has been Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Bentham. Austin’s attitude towards international law was coloured by his theory…show more content…
To take one illustration, the Charter creating the United Nations Organisation, drawn up at San Francisco in 1945, is both explicitly and impliedly based on the true legality of international law. This is also clearly expressed in the terms of the International Court of Justice, annexed to the Charter, where the court’s function is stated as being ‘to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it.’ One of the latest such multipartite manifestations supportive of the legality of international law was the Helsinki Declaration, 1975, whereby over 30 European states, the Holy See, the United States and Canada subscribed to the following…show more content…
On the basic conception, theorists erected various structures, some writers adopting the view that international law derived its binding force from the fact that it was a mere application to a particular circumstances of the ‘law of nature’. In other words, states submitted to international law because their regulations were guided by the higher law- the ‘law of nature’, of which international law but a part. The concept of the ‘law of nature’ underwent further specialisation in the eighteenth century. The later refinements can be seen in the following passage from Vattel’s, Droit des Gens (1758)

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