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The Creation of States in International Law$
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James R. Crawford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228423.001.0001

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Problems of Identity, Continuity and Reversion

Problems of Identity, Continuity and Reversion

(p.667) Chapter 16 Problems of Identity, Continuity and Reversion
The Creation of States in International Law


Oxford University Press

International law is based on the assumption that States are continuous rather than static. This notion of State continuity has been criticised as misleading, over-general, and as giving an impression of objectivity where none exists. Three points may be made in defence of the concept of continuity, despite its sometimes artificial character. First, it preserves legal relations despite changes in the subjects of those relations, and it does so to a much greater degree than the law of State succession, which is often marked by discontinuity, in fact if not in law. Second, issues of identity often have strong salience for the people concerned, who see in the State as an entity the object of their allegiance. Third, from a legal point of view, the issue of continuity only arises when the question concerns particular legal relations, when what is in dispute is not the existence of a State at a given time but its identity with a State at another time.

Keywords:   statehood, identity, continuity, reversion, international law, legal relations

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