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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the applicability to environmental problems of the traditional sources of international law, using as the starting point the formal sources enumerated in Article 38 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute. It notes that leading treatises on international environmental law (IEL) and the account of the formal sources of IEL will likely start along the traditional positivist lines of Article 38. This chapter adheres to this practice to an extent—by discussing treaties, customary international law, and general principles. However, the discussion also moves on to, amongst other things, innovative methods of law creation, the dynamic evolution of environmental treaty texts, and the specific role played by soft law in the development and application of international environmental norms. The chapter concludes that, nonetheless, as a branch of general international law, the sources of international environmental law are the same.

Keywords: Environmental disputes, General principles of international law, Sources of international law, International Court of Justice (ICJ)

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