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TitleCustom as a Source of International Law
Tags Sovereign State Public Law International Relations
File Size427.1 KB
Total Pages17
Document Text Contents
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In international law there is no rigid time element and it will depend upon the

circumstances of the case and the nature of the usage in question. In certain fields, such as air

and space law, the rules have developed quickly; in others, the process is much slower.

Duration is thus not the most important of the components of state practice.
18





The jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice indicates that no particular

duration is required for practice to become law provided that the consistency
19

and generality

of a practice are proved.



The practice relating to continental shelf was introduced in 1945, and by 1958 it had

become a customary rule of International Law. In the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases:

Federal Republic of Germany v. Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany v. The

Netherlands
20

it was recognized that there is no precise length of time during which a

practice must exist; simply that it must be followed long enough to show that the other

requirements of a custom are satisfied:



“Although the passage of only a short period of time is not necessarily, or of itself, a

bar to the formation of a new rule of customary law on the basis of what was originally a

purely conventional rule, an indispensable requirement would be that of states whose

interests are specially affected, should have been both extensive and virtually uniform in the

sense of the provision invoked – and should moreover have occurred in such a way to show a

general recognition that a rule of law or legal obligation is involved.”



Similarly, the principle of sovereignty in the air space arose spontaneously at the

outbreak of the First World War. Further it wasn‟t long before the concept was extended to

outer space.
21

Thus the passage of a considerable time is not necessary provided the practice

is accepted by the states.






18

Ibid.
19

See topic titled “Consistency” p. 6.
20

(1969) ICJ Rep. 3.
21

Aggarwal, H.O., International Law & Human Rights, 17
th

Ed., Central Law Publications, 2010. p. 20.

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