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Part V The Functions of International Organizations, Ch.26 Lawmaking

Nigel D. White

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations

Edited By: Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, Ian Johnstone

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 26 October 2021

Outer space — Right to health — Terrorism — Humanitarian intervention — International organizations, practice and procedure

This chapter examines whether organizations, in exercising their autonomous competence, can produce laws in their own right, irrespective of whether their output feeds into the traditional sources of international law — treaties, custom or general principles. Examples are taken from practice, such as health law, space law, counter-terrorism law, to demonstrate how organizations make laws and whether it is possible to identify those by the form, content, and method of adoption. It is argued that the resolutions produced by international organizations have their own separateness from traditional sources. The recommendations and regulations of many organizations are not fully binding in a classical international legal sense, but they are often accepted as law at their inception and acted upon by member states, especially in technical areas. The idea of ‘soft’ law encapsulates the legal effect of resolutions before they may mature into treaties or custom, but it does not fully capture their legislative nature.

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