Information on the
Conferences and Workshops
"General Principles of Law"
Workshop on General Principles of Law
12-13 December 2019,
Humboldt University Berlin, Wengler Library
General principles of law are among the three classical sources of international law (Article 38, paragraph 1 (c), of the ICJ Statute). So far, general principles of law have played a lesser role in international legal practice than the other two classical sources, treaties and customary international law. The increased use of general principles of law in the past several years by various international courts and tribunals has, however, stimulated interest in this source of law. It is in this context that the International Law Commission has, in 2018, put the topic “General Principles of Law” on its active agenda. In 2019, the Commission debated the first report by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Marcelo VázquezBermúdez.
With a view of mutually enriching academic research and the work of the International Law Commission, Georg Nolte, together with ILC Special Rapporteur Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez, invited a small group of researchers with a special experience in the field and/or with ILC work to discuss, in an informal setting, questions regarding general principles of law which are currently debated in the scientific discourse and which will be debated in the future ILC work. Instead of asking participants to make prepared statements, the discussion proceeded from draft elements of the Special Rapporteur’s next report. The basic distinction which emerged from those text elements was that between general principles of law which are derived from other (national/domestic/internal) legal systems, on the one hand, and general principles which are, or which may be, formed within the international legal system.
The discussion on all aspects of the topic was very rich, ranging from the general significance of general principles of law for the current development of international law to specific questions of legal construction and regarding the significance of individual court decisions and their reasoning. Participants agreed that the workshop had shed much light on the topic and been helpful for their own projects. Mr. Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez, Special Rapporteur, emphasized that the same was true for his ongoing work for the International Law Commission.
Danae Azaria, University College London; Humboldt Fellow, Humboldt University Berlin, and former Fellow, Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Mads Andenæs, University of Oslo and Institute of Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Janina Barkholdt, Humboldt University Berlin and Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Alfredo Crosato Neumann, The Graduate Institute Geneva
Roman Kolodkin, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Hamburg
Julian Kulaga, Humboldt University Berlin and Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Huw Llewellyn, UN Secretariat and Practitioner-in-Residence, Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Campbell McLachlan, University of Wellington and Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Georg Nolte, Humboldt University Berlin and Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Paolo Palchetti, Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne and former Fellow, Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Catherine Redgwell, University of Oxford
Xuan Shao, Queens College, Oxford
Grigory Vaypan, Institute for Law and Public Policy, Moscow
Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez, Special Rapporteur, ILC, Quito
Isabel Walther, Berlin Potsdam Research Group
Lukas Willmer, Berlin Potsdam Research Group