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General Principles of Law: a Source of International Law

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Chapter Summary

As the relations between subjects of international law are to some extent analogous to those between subjects of national law, legal principles derived from national legal systems may be suitable for regulating international legal issues. Three empires - the Carolingian, the Byzantine, and the Islamic - ruled Europe in the High Middle Ages, the formative period of international law. At different times, these empires split up into a large number of kingdoms, princedoms, feudal, and other political entities. This chapter shows from which formulations of their applicable law arbitral tribunals derived the power to apply general principles of law. It provides five examples of recourse to general principles of law by international arbitral tribunals. Finally the chapter makes a brief analysis of that international practice.

Keywords: general principles of law; international law; PCIJ Statute



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