oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Customary international law: the legacy of the false prophets

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The chaos in legal theory on the sources of international law has increased over the years. As indicated in this article, one of the main causes for this unhappy state of affairs is the obsession to construct an international legal order that could mirror the effectiveness of the municipal legal order in the creation of binding and valid legal norms. However, the absence of law-creating organs in the international legal order similar to those active in municipal legal systems had to be compensated for by artificial constructions if this were to succeed. This resulted in a scramble for all kinds of theories on the origin of binding and valid legal norms, which caused more confuSion than it solved. A further result is the utter confusion in which terms such as 'source' and 'validity' are used. Perhaps the whole theory surrounding legal sources in international law is in serious need of a profound reconsideration.

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