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International Norm Conflicts Through the Lens of Alexy's Principles Theory

Dates:
  • Tue 20 Nov 2018 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2018-11-20 15:00 2018-11-20 17:00 Europe/Paris International Norm Conflicts Through the Lens of Alexy's Principles Theory

The likelihood of clashes between international norms has increased in correlation with the upsurge in the number of specialised regimes emerging within the international legal field. The present thesis takes a closer look at the different ways in which such norm conflicts can be addressed at the international level. In particular, it distinguishes between conflict resolution based on establishing priority by means of traditional maxims, and resolution based on the weighing of clashing norms to determine which prevails in the case at hand. To do so, the thesis takes a step back from the existing literature and examines the distinction within norms between rules and principles, relying predominantly on Robert Alexy’s theory on this subject. Taking a legal-theoretical approach to the subject of international norm conflicts, this thesis shows that Alexy’s principles theory is not only transferrable to international law in theory, but that we can, moreover, identify international norms as rules and principles respectively. Distinguishing between the different ways in which conflicts are resolved depending on whether the norms involved are rules or principles, it is shown that while both approaches are susceptible to certain conceptual uncertainties and pitfalls, this dichotomy nevertheless plays an important role in the efficiency of the international legal system, ensuring that a certain balance between stability and flexibility is maintained. Ultimately, it is demonstrated that by viewing international law, and international norm conflicts in particular, through the lens of Alexy’s principles theory, we can gain a clearer understanding of the structure and application of international norms on the one hand and, as a result, how to resolve international norm conflicts on the other. Thus, drawing a distinction between rules and principles among international legal norms can be a means by which scholars (as well as judicial bodies or even states) may analyse ambiguous judicial decisions or international legal provisions, and can thus foster greater clarity in the field of international law.

Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

The likelihood of clashes between international norms has increased in correlation with the upsurge in the number of specialised regimes emerging within the international legal field. The present thesis takes a closer look at the different ways in which such norm conflicts can be addressed at the international level. In particular, it distinguishes between conflict resolution based on establishing priority by means of traditional maxims, and resolution based on the weighing of clashing norms to determine which prevails in the case at hand. To do so, the thesis takes a step back from the existing literature and examines the distinction within norms between rules and principles, relying predominantly on Robert Alexy’s theory on this subject. Taking a legal-theoretical approach to the subject of international norm conflicts, this thesis shows that Alexy’s principles theory is not only transferrable to international law in theory, but that we can, moreover, identify international norms as rules and principles respectively. Distinguishing between the different ways in which conflicts are resolved depending on whether the norms involved are rules or principles, it is shown that while both approaches are susceptible to certain conceptual uncertainties and pitfalls, this dichotomy nevertheless plays an important role in the efficiency of the international legal system, ensuring that a certain balance between stability and flexibility is maintained. Ultimately, it is demonstrated that by viewing international law, and international norm conflicts in particular, through the lens of Alexy’s principles theory, we can gain a clearer understanding of the structure and application of international norms on the one hand and, as a result, how to resolve international norm conflicts on the other. Thus, drawing a distinction between rules and principles among international legal norms can be a means by which scholars (as well as judicial bodies or even states) may analyse ambiguous judicial decisions or international legal provisions, and can thus foster greater clarity in the field of international law.


Location:
Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Thesis defence

Supervisor:
Prof. Martin Scheinin (European University Institute)

Examiner:
Prof. Giovanni Sartor (EUI - Law Department)
Prof. Matthias Klatt (University of Graz)
Dr. Rosanne van Alebeek (University of Amsterdam)

Contact:
Claudia de Concini (EUI - Law) - Send a mail

Defendant:
Birte Annika Böök (EUI - Law)

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