Necessity in International Environmental Law

Chapter
Part of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law book series (NYIL, volume 41)

Abstract

This essay investigates the institution of necessity in international environmental law. The point of departure is the analysis of Article 25 of the International Law Commission (ILC) Articles on State Responsibility regarding its applicability to the particular field of international environmental law. The special feature of the plea of necessity in international environmental law is that it has developed through the case-law. Without doubt, the plea of necessity can be invoked in international environmental law. However, (as in other areas of international law), it remains an exception. This was confirmed by the International Court of Justice which made clear that the invocation of necessity is very problematic. There are some unresolved issues concerning the plea of necessity in international environmental law, such as the question of the precautionary principle. The inclusion of the precautionary principle in the concept of necessity appears to give rise to a certain degree of difficulty, mainly deriving from the seemingly irreconcilable requirements of the ‘imminence of peril’ and scientific uncertainty represented by the precautionary principle. In the view of the present author, the complex and exceptional legal character of necessity in general and as applied in international environmental law in particular, will deter States from invoking it; therefore, the available practice will remain very scarce and to a certain degree inconclusive, as has already been evidenced by the available case law, analyzed in this essay.

Keywords

Necessity International environmental law ILC Precautionary principle Law of treaties 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agius M (2009) The invocation of necessity in international law, NILR 56. http://www.jur.uu.se/Portals/5/SIFIR/Dok/Essays/MariaAUpps06.pdf
  2. Ago R (1980) Addendum to the eighth report on state responsibility, ILC Yearbook, vol IGoogle Scholar
  3. Boed R (2000) State of necessity as a justification for internationally wrongful act, Yale Hum Rights Dev Law J 3:1–43Google Scholar
  4. Crawford J (1999) Revising the draft articles on state responsibility, EJIL 10:435–460Google Scholar
  5. Crawford J (2000) Third report on state responsibility, fifty-second session, Geneva, 1 May–9 June, 10 July, 18 August 2000Google Scholar
  6. Crawford J (2001) The International Law Commission’s articles on state responsibility. Introduction, text and commentaries. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Dobos D (2001–2002) The necessity of precaution: the future of ecological necessity and the precautionary principle, Fordham Environ Law J 13:375–408Google Scholar
  8. Fitzmaurice G (1957) Second report, draft art. 19(1)(iv), ILC yearbook vol IIGoogle Scholar
  9. Fitzmaurice G (1959) Fourth report draft art. 18(3)(e), ILC yearbook, vol IIGoogle Scholar
  10. Fitzmaurice M (1998) Gabčikovo–Nagymaros case: the law of treaties. Leiden JIL 11:321–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fitzmaurice M (2009) Contemporary issues in international environmental law. Edward Elgar Publishing, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  12. Fitzmaurice M (2010) The international court of justice and environmental disputes. In: Tams D, Saul M, White NW (eds) International law and dispute settlement. New problems and techniques. Hart, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Foster C (2008) Necessity and precaution in international law: responding to oblique forms of urgency, N Z Univ Law Rev 23:265–289Google Scholar
  14. Lammers J (1998) The Gabčikovo–Nagymaros case seen in particular from the perspective of the law of international watercourses and the protection of the environment. Leiden JIL 11:287–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lefeber R (1998) The Gabcikovo–Nagymaros project and the law of state responsibility. Leiden JIL 11:609–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Moore JB (1898) History and digest of international arbitrations to which the united states has been a party, Vol 1. Washington, Government printing officeGoogle Scholar
  17. Okowa P (1999) Defences in the jurisprudence of international tribunals. In: Goodwin-Gill GS, Talmon SAG (eds) The reality of international law: essays in honour of Ian Brownlie. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Rothwell D (1996) The polar regions and the development of international law. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Simma B (1989) Bilateralism and community interests in the law of state responsibility. In: Dinstein Y (ed) International law at a time of perplexity. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  20. Simma B (1994) From bilateralism to community interest in international law. Recueil des Cours 250:217–384Google Scholar
  21. Simma B, Paulus AL (1998) The international community’: facing the challenge of globalisation. EJIL 9:266–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tams C (2005) Enforcing obligations erga omnes in international law. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Trouwborst A (2002) Evolution and status of the precautionary principle in international law, International environmental law and policy. Kluwer Law International, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  24. Trouwborst A (2006) Precautionary rights and duties of states. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, LeidenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wellens KC (1998) The Court’s judgement in the case concerning the Gabcikovo–Nagymaros project (Hungary/Slovakia): some preliminary reflections. In: Wellens KC (ed) International law, theory and practice: essays in honour of Eric Suy. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The HagueGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Stichting T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, and the authors 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LawQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations