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1 The Nature and Function of International Law

From: Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It

Rosalyn Higgins

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 01 December 2023

Customary international law — Judicial decisions — Responsibility of states — Responsibility of individuals — Sovereignty — Lex lata — Lex ferenda — UN Charter
International law is not rules. It is a normative system. All organized groups and structures require a system of normative conduct—that is to say, conduct which is regarded by each actor, and by the group as a whole, as being obligatory, and for which violation carries a price. Normative systems make possible that degree of order if society is to maximize the common good—and, indeed, even to avoid chaos in the web of bilateral and multilateral relationships that that society embraces. Without law at the domestic level, cars cannot safely travel on the roads,...
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