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Local Custom in International Law

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Something in between General Custom and Treaty

The present paper examines the particular difficulties observed in the formation, identification and continuity of local custom in the light of the interaction that exists between it and two main sources of international law: general custom and treaty. The article firstly argues that, although local custom presents certain features and faces specific difficulties that distinguishes it from both general custom and treaty, it generally follows the “custom logic” in its formation and identification, as both local and general customs are made from the same “ingredients”: practice and opinio juris. However, the situation is different when it comes to the continuity of an existing local customary rule. The article shows that the succession of States may call into question the continuity of local custom which operates as a treaty in case of State succession, following the “treaty logic” rather than the “custom logic”.

Affiliations: 1: University of Strasbourg


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