Sources and the Systematicity of International Law: A Co-Constitutive Relationship?

Gleider I. Hernández

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter illuminates the role that sources doctrine plays in construing international law as a system. It frames international law’s systemic qualities within the recursive relationship between sources doctrine and debates over international law’s systematicity. Sources doctrine reinforces and buttresses international law’s claim to constitute a legal system; and the legal system demands and requires that legal sources exist within it. International law’s systematicity and the doctrine of international legal sources exist in a mutually constitutive relationship, and cannot exist without one another. This recursive relationship privileges unity, coherence, and the existence of a unifying inner logic which transcends mere interstate relations and constitutes a legal structure. In this respect, the social practices of those officials who are part of the institutional workings of the system, and especially those with a law--applying function, are of heightened relevance in conceiving of international law as a system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law.
EditorsSamantha Besson, Jean d’Aspremont
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780198745365
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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