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Part III The Functions of the Sources of International Law, s.XIX Sources and the Enforcement of International Law, Ch.38 Sources and the Enforcement of International Law: Domestic Courts—Another Brick in the Wall?

Eleni Methymaki, Antonios Tzanakopoulos

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law

Edited By: Jean d'Aspremont, Samantha Besson

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 September 2021

General principles of international law — Sources of international law — Recognition and enforcement

This chapter examines the role of domestic courts in the ideal continuum commencing from sources and ultimately ending in the enforcement of the law in a specific case. It asks whether domestic court decisions are a cause (source) or an effect (enforcement) of international law. The chapter argues that the enforcement of international law is reflexive, rather than reactive. There is thus no real continuum, with domestic courts occupying this or that position on it. Rather, domestic court decisions are both part of the cause and of the effect of international law. The enforcement of a rule of law in a specific case constitutes, in accordance with the sources doctrine, yet another brick in the wall of that same ever-changing rule. And given the increasingly important position that domestic courts are assuming in the enforcement of international law, they become ever more important agents of the development of that law.

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