Some Misunderstandings about Legislation and Law

19 Jan 2018

What is legislation? What is law? A great deal of ink has been spilled on these questions. In this essay I wish to investigate the answers that have been provided in international law. Two theses are advanced. First, there is a misunderstanding in international law about what legislation is. This can be seen, for instance, in the popular claim that the United Nations Security Council has begun to “legislate” on the international plane. The second thesis attempts to specify how this misunderstanding has come about; I suggest that international law writing tends to evince a more basic mistake about what law is. If these two theses are true, the literature on international law-making stands in need of revision.