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International Law and Domestic Legal SystemsIncorporation, Transformation, and Persuasion$
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Dinah Shelton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694907

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694907.001.0001

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(p.207) 8 France
International Law and Domestic Legal Systems

Emmanuel Decaux

Oxford University Press

French tradition combines the privileged position given to written law, and especially to codification over two centuries, with the desire to control ‘judicial authority’ by limiting the importance of jurisprudence and by avoiding general judgements. France reinforces this well established domestic law tradition on the international level by the primacy that is granted to the expression of the will of the state, which goes hand in hand with a distrust of spontaneous or vague obligations, ranging from soft law to jus cogens. For a long time French judges had a global approach to international law, without any distinction of categories, either on a material basis (humanitarian law), on a geographic basis (European law), or on a legal basis (self-contained regimes). This approach is problematic in reference to Community law, which, from these three points of view is not a law like others, but by maintaining the approach Community law has become a spearhead of progress for international law.

Keywords:   French law, domestic law, judicial authority, jurisprudence, customary international law, constitution, constitutional law, Community law

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