digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

The term "soft law" refers to quasi-legal instruments which do not have any legally binding force, or whose binding force is somewhat "weaker" than the binding force of traditional law, often contrasted with soft law by being referred to as "hard law". Traditionally, the term "soft law" is associated with international law, although more recently it has been transferred to other branches of domestic law as well.

International law[edit]

Definition of soft law[edit]

In the context of international law, the term "soft law" covers such elements as:

  • Most Resolutions and Declarations of the UN General Assembly
  • Elements such as statements, principles, codes of conduct, codes of practice etc.; often found as part of framework treaties;
  • Action plans (for example, Agenda 21);
  • Other non-treaty obligations

European community[edit]

The term "soft law" is also often used to describe various kinds of quasi-legal instruments of the European Union: "codes of conduct", "guidelines", "communications" etc. In the area of law of the European Union, soft law instruments are often used to indicate how the European Commission intends to use its powers and perform its tasks within its area of competence.

Status of soft law[edit]

In international law, the terminology of "soft law" remains relatively controversial because there are some international practitioners who do not accept its existence and for others, there is quite some confusion as to its status in the realm of law. However, for most international practitioners, development of soft law instruments is an accepted part of the compromises required when undertaking daily work within the international legal system, where states are often reluctant to sign up to too many commitments that might result in national resentment at over-committing to an international goal.

Utility of soft law[edit]

Soft law instruments are usually considered as non-binding agreements which nevertheless hold much potential for morphing into "hard law" in the future. This "hardening" of soft law may happen in two different ways. One is when declarations, recommendations, etc. are the first step towards a treaty-making process, in which reference will be made to the principles already stated in the soft law instruments. Another possibility is that non-treaty agreements are intended to have a direct influence on the practice of states, and to the extent that they are successful in doing so, they may lead to the creation of customary law. Soft law is a convenient option for negotiations that might otherwise stall if legally binding commitments were sought at a time when it is not convenient for negotiating parties to make major commitments at a certain point in time for political and/or economic reasons but still wish to negotiate something in good faith in the meantime.

Soft law is also viewed as a flexible option - it avoids the immediate and uncompromising commitment made under treaties and it also is considered to be potentially a faster route to legal commitments than the slow pace of customary international law. With the passage of time, in today's globalized society it is easy to use the media and the internet to spread the knowledge of the content of declarations and commitments made at international conferences. In doing so, these aspirational non-commitments often capture the imagination of citizens who begin to believe in these soft law instruments as if they were legal instruments. In turn, it is felt that this ultimately impacts governments who are forced to take into account the wishes of citizens, NGOs, organizations, courts and even corporations who begin to refer to these soft law instruments so frequently and with such import that they begin to evidence legal norms.

Another useful aspect of the nature of soft law is that it often can be used to evidence opinio juris on applying or interpreting a treaty.

Soft law has been very important in the field of international environmental law where states have been reluctant to commit to many environmental initiatives when trying to balance the environment against economic and social goals. It is also important in the field of international economics law and international sustainable development law.

Using care with reliance on soft law[edit]

Soft law is attractive because it often contains aspirational goals that aim for the best of possible scenarios. However, the language in many soft law documents can be contradictory, uncoordinated with existing legal commitments and potentially duplicative of existing legal or policy processes. Another key point is that negotiating parties are not blind to the potential lying in stealth in soft law. If a negotiating party feels that soft law has a potential to turn into something binding down the track, this will negatively influence the negotiation process, and soft law instruments will be watered down and hemmed in by so many restrictions that there is little point in creating them.

Nevertheless, the reliance on soft law continues and it is unlikely that its use will fade; it is far more likely to be relied on in greater amounts as it also serves as a "testing ground" for new, innovative ideas that policy formulations are still being worked out for in a world of rapid change and future upcoming contentious challenges such as climate change.

Further sources[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_law — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
1000000 videos foundNext > 

International Investment Law and Soft Law

BOOK REVIEW INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT LAW AND SOFT LAW Edited by Andrea K. Bjorklund and August Reinisch Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd ISBN: 978 1 78100 321 3 w...

Comunication 3: Law of the Sea and the Soft Law

The contribution of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to good governance of the oceans and seas - Comunication 3: Law of the Sea and the So...

La tutela del consumatore attraverso direttive soft law - Prof.ssa Ciciriello, parte I

Il consumatore e la protezione transfrontaliera Consumer protection and cross-border remedies Giovedì 29 aprile 2010, ore 14.30 - 17.30 Relazioni Fabrizio Ca...

Law Book Review: Soft Law and the Global Financial System: Rule Making in the 21st Century by Chr...

http://www.lawbookmix.com This is the summary of Soft Law and the Global Financial System: Rule Making in the 21st Century by Chris Brummer.

Firming up soft power

In this video Professor Sally Engle Merry examines the implementation of human rights using human trafficking as a case study. The human rights legal order i...

Law Book Review: Soft Law and the Global Financial System: Rule Making in the 21st Century by Chr...

http://www.LawBookMix.com This is the summary of Soft Law and the Global Financial System: Rule Making in the 21st Century by Chris Brummer.

la soft law et ses chantres

la soft law vue par Pascal Pavageau secrétaire confédéral FO.

La tutela del consumatore attraverso direttive soft law - Prof.ssa Ciciriello, parte II

Il consumatore e la protezione transfrontaliera Consumer protection and cross-border remedies Giovedì 29 aprile 2010, ore 14.30 - 17.30 Relazioni Fabrizio Ca...

Simplify Law Practice with Easy Soft Legal Software

Brief overview of Easy Soft's products, license options and history.

Testimonial from the founder of Soft Law

1000000 videos foundNext > 

63 news items

 
Consultor Jurídico
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:12:22 -0700

As diversas teorias em torno da definição e dos principais efeitos da soft law têm como origem a antinomia gerada pelo termo de per si, isto é, enquanto o Direito representaria um fenômeno obrigatório, sancionador e preciso (hard); o seu oposto estaria ...
 
Al Jazeera America
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 03:08:02 -0700

In 2011, the U.N. unanimously adopted the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (PDF), which imposes soft law — i.e., nonbinding — standards and derives its legitimacy from a consensus-based approach. But many civil society organizations ...
 
AllAfrica.com
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -0700

After 18 months of devolution, the conduct of intergovernmental relations between the national and county governments and within the various branches of government at both levels remains a great challenge. IGR occurs within and between all levels and ...
 
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:18:45 -0700

The Commission further notes that any confluence remains fragile and dependent on soft law instruments. Regarding sanctions, the Communication notes that differences still exist with regard to the underlying principles of fine calculation, such as the ...

Breitbart News

Breitbart News
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:36:47 -0700

The EU Commission set up the OMC as a “form of soft law, a process of policymaking which does not lead to binding EU legislative measures nor require Member States to change their law. (OMC) aims to spread best practices and achieve greater ...
 
ISN
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:56:15 -0700

The Arctic Council, however, cannot operate separately from the eight Arctic states that created it, nor can it obligate other states or organizations to take specific measures because of the soft-law nature of the Declaration. The Arctic Council ...

SentidoG

SentidoG
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:03:45 -0700

El Observatorio de Género en la Justicia de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, a través de su Oficina de Identidad de Género y Orientación Sexual, ha editado este año los 29 principios que constituyen esta valiosa herramienta del denominado soft law del ...
 
Il Sole 24 Ore
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 22:21:57 -0700

Probabilmente sarebbe anzi importante intervenire con strumenti di "soft law" tali da consentire un facile aggiornamento alle migliori pratiche mediche internazionali senza dover interessare ogni volta il Parlamento. Sono già vigenti le disposizioni ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Soft law

You can talk about Soft law with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!