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Legal certainty and predictability play a central role in creating, developing and preserving both domestic and international legal orders or regimes. And yet, law hinges upon language 2 — and language often is not clear, but the opposite, i. As for the distinction of vagueness and ambiguity VaA , albeit definitions differ, 4 I will understand them as different levels of lack of clarity: 5 Ambiguity pertains to discreteness whereas vagueness pertains to fuzziness.
I submit in this blog post that this view misses central aspects of the inevitable consequences of the fact that language, as the instrument of international lawyers, is vague and ambiguous.
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Instead of dismissing VaA exclusively as a problem, it should be acknowledged that it can also be, among others, an opportunity. Therefore, so I contend, international legal thinking about the interpretation of international legal norms requires an analytical framework for VaA in order to understand, explain and assess central phenomena and characteristics of international law.
While I identify five categories of VaA constructing such analytical framework — manifestations, actors, forms, functions and aspects of VaA 7 — here, I would like to focus on how VaA manifest themselves manifestations , who is involved in such manifestations actors and, centrally, which consequences does this have for the aspects of VaA, in particular VaA as opportunity. VaA is being produced constantly. Lessons from hermeneutics and linguistics 8 tell us that literally any use of language may produce VaA.
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Such VaA production can be deliberate, i. Non-strategic VaA production is the most common occurrence, e.
The second manifestation represents VaA reception. As with VaA production, VaA reception can be strategic and non-strategic. The most obvious form of strategic VaA reception is the attempt to reduce VaA, e.
However, the audience of an act, treaty, etc. One of the central of such actors whose importance has been constantly increasing in recent decades are international judicial bodies, who are tasked with interpreting international law and thus dealing with VaA. A decision by an international court of tribunal is meant to resolve a dispute that often arises over the meaning of a specific treaty clause, customary norm etc. But such judgment also enjoys international normativity and thus is of a considerable law-making nature — among the disputing parties but usually also beyond.
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See details and exclusions. See all 5 brand new listings. Our contribution develops an understanding of international adjudication as an exercise of public authority.
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It places emphasis on the asymmetry between international adjudication and parliamentary politics, unfolds legitimacy problems in the practice of international courts, and sketches how to interpret and develop international law in response. Procedural adjustments and politicization could react to power vested in decisions, elections might respond to the exercise of public authority, and systemic interpretation as well as a dialogue between courts may perhaps ease problems of fragmentation.
We ultimately suggest that domestic constitutional organs will retain a critical role in relieving the international level from shouldering the whole legitimatory burden, contesting and accommodating authority in a normative pluriverse.