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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter illuminates the role that sources doctrine plays in construing international law as a system. It frames international law’s systemic qualities within the recursive relationship between sources doctrine and debates over international law’s systematicity. Sources doctrine reinforces and buttresses international law’s claim to constitute a legal system; and the legal system demands and requires that legal sources exist within it. International law’s systematicity and the doctrine of international legal sources exist in a mutually constitutive relationship, and cannot exist without one another. This recursive relationship privileges unity, coherence, and the existence of a unifying inner logic which transcends mere interstate relations and constitutes a legal structure. In this respect, the social practices of those officials who are part of the institutional workings of the system, and especially those with a law-applying function, are of heightened relevance in conceiving of international law as a system.

Keywords: Choice of law, General principles of international law, Sources of international law

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