Reception of other sources of international law

AuthorGib van Ert
Reception of other sources
of international law
Treaty and cu stom are by far the most signi f‌icant sources of inter-
national law. ey are also the only two sources for which the common
law has developed clear reception ru les. ere is, therefore, little to say
on the reception of other i nternational legal sources. I brief‌ly consider
the reception or non-reception of these other sources here.
. General principles of law
As noted in Chapter , international tribunal s may apply “general prin-
ciples of law recognized by civi lized nations” to resolve controversies
for whic h no applicable treaty or customary rule may exist. is is a
pragmatic and potentially useful source of law at the internationa l
level, but its relev ance to a domestic court is quest ionable. Domest ic
legal systems usually do not exper ience gaps in the law of the sort
contemplated by general pri nciples. (Even i n international law, cases
in whic h there is a need to supplement treaty a nd custom by general
principles are rare.) Further more, to the extent that general principles
in international law derive from or are developed from analogies to do-
mestic law, there is seeming ly no need for a domestic court to have re-
gard to them. In short, general principles of law recognized by civilized
nations are presumably already establ ished in Canadian law without
the need to receive them f rom internationa l law. ere is no estab-
lished common law ru le, analogous to the i ncorporation doctrine for
custom or the implementation requirement for treaties, to ex plain the

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