Nature of International Law

Topics: Law / Pages: 7 (1727 words) / Published: Jan 15th, 2013
International Law Assignment
Q: You work for John Keating MP, who is due to give a talk at a Community Centre in his constituency. The talk has been necessitated by calls by another local MP, Bronwyn
Bishop, demanding that the UK should concentrate on domestic issues and play a lesser role in international affairs. In a speech in the House of Commons, Ms Bishop h as supported her demand with the argument that international law is ineffective, and can hardly be described as law.
Mr Keating has asked you to prepare a Brief on the nature of international law for his talk. In particular, he wants you to explain the legal character of international law, how and why it is in fact effective (using examples from real life), and why it is necessary for the UK to obey international law and to continue playing a prominent role in international affairs.

It has often been said that international law ought to be classified as a branch of ethics rather than of law. The question is partly one of words, because its solution will clearly depend on the definition of law which we choose to adopt; in any case it does not affect the value of the subject one way or the other, though those who deny the legal character of international law often speak as though 'ethical ' were a depreciatory epithet. But in fact it is both practically inconvenient and also contrary to the best juristic thought to deny its legal character. It is inconvenient because if international law is nothing but international morality, it is certainly not the whole of international morality, and it is difficult to see how we are to distinguish it from those other admittedly moral standards which we apply in forming our judgements on the conduct of states. Ordinary usage certainly uses two tests in judging the 'rightness ' of a state 's act, a moral test and one which is somehow felt to be independent of morality. Every state habitually commits acts of selfishness which are often



Bibliography: 4) Muharemovic, Mahir, The Character of International Law: A Realistic Approach (June 21, 2012) International Law and the Problem of Enforcement’, (1956) 19 MLR 1. Law?" (1997). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 2101.

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