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Part IV Normative Development, Ch.18 Different Types of Norms in International Environmental Law Policies, Principles, and Rules

Ulrich Beyerlin

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (1st Edition)

Edited By: Daniel Bodansky, Jutta Brunnée, Ellen Hey

A newer edition of The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law is available. Latest edition (2 ed.)
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From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 09 December 2022

Sustainable development — Precautionary principle — Biodiversity — Erga omnes obligations — Soft law — Customary international law
Public international law, although mostly composed of co-equal norms, shows some elements of hierarchy. At the top of this hierarchy, norms of ius cogens and obligations erga omnes are of a higher legal quality than the mass of ordinary norms. At its bottom, in the grey area between international ‘hard law’ and ‘soft law’, are an ever-growing number of amorphous ‘concepts’ and ‘principles’, whose nature and normative quality are far from clear. This is particularly true in the field of international environmental law, which shows certain patterns of ‘relative...
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