Here are some introductory points on the tort of negligence.
The Elements of a Negligence Action –
Remember, the plaintiff usually has the burden of proving the first five, while the defendant has the burden of proving the sixth.
1. Duty of Care (limiting step) – there are policy considerations that can lead to the finding and non finding of a duty of care; this duty of care exists when it is reasonably foreseeable that your actions will have an effect on another person.
2. Standard of Care and its Breach – in most (but not all) negligence actions, the standard of care is the reasonable person standard .
3. Causation – has the breach of the duty of care caused an injury to the plaintiff? But for the breach of the duty of care, would the injury have occurred?
4. Remoteness of Damages (limiting step) – also called legal causation; if the damages are found to be too remote from the breach of the standard of care, then the plaintiff will not win the case.
5. Actual Loss – without loss, the plaintiff will not be successful (as opposed to intentional torts)
6. Defences – voluntary assumption of risk, illegality
Downward trends in the economy that lead to job losses also increase the number of new business startups. Losing your job coupled with some low interest rates make the idea of entrepreneurship attractive for a variety of reason.
In fact, with more people out of work recession in fact see an increase in people launching their own small businesses.
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The law governing treaties: Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 “treaty means an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by IL, whether embodied in a single instrument, or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation”.
The goals of treaty section of course: the ability to dissect meaning of news reports
-has treaty law actually been created yet?
-what obligations arise when in the treat treaty making process?
Customary law considerations regarding treaty-making
– The doctrine of intertemporal law – how we look at laws made a long time ago thru the lenses of today. This arose in the case concerning the right of passage over Indian territory between Portugal and India.
States can make treaties and international organizations can make treaties. For example, there is a treaty between the UN and Cambodia to establish the special criminal tribunal.
What are treaties? Treaties are instruments that establish international rights and obligations. Treaties go by many names: conventions; memorandums, etc. at the root at ii if it’s a binding instrument subject to international law then it’s a treaty.
Where does the legal weight of treaties come from? Pacta servanta – there ought to be an obligation amongst states to adhere to their treaty obligations.
The Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) was originally passed as anti-piracy statute back in the 1800s. However, it came back to prominence in the 1980s. The -act states that if you are a non-US citizen your claim can be heard in a federal court, but your claim has to vis either a violation of treaty or a violation of custom.
Continue reading “Customary International Law in US litigation under the Alien Tort Claims Act”
A type of custom that cannot be avoided.
E.g. a persistent objector cannot opt out of a jus cogens norm.
Jus cogens is in contravention on a strict positivist approach because it does not seem to based on state consent because states are bound by these norms even if they do not consent to them. The existence of jus cogens still remains somewhat controversial, however they have achieved quite an wide scope of acceptance. The notion of jus cogens is that these norms are owed by states to all of the international law community.
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1. Regional Custom
Asylum case – court examines if there was a customary rule that allowed asylum to be sought in this fashion. First court determined that regional custom had to comprise the dual contents of state practice and opinion juris. Important, however, that Silence CANNOT Constitute State Practice in regional custom. One must create regional customs actively, not passively.
2. Persistent Objection
If one objects persistently, then one is not subject to custom. For example, the USA has persistently objected to Canada’s claim that northwest passage is part of internal waters.
The basis of the Nicaragua case: what happens when there is the same rule of law in customary law and treaty law.
1. COEXISTENCE The main conclusion from this case is that the two sources of law can continue to co-exist. Just because a norm also exists in treaty law, does not mean that the source from customary law is not extinguished. For example the law of use of force flows both from treaty law and customary IL.
2. TREATY –> CUSTOM Treaty activity can constitute state practice for the formation of a customary norm. One has to be very clear in analyzing state conduct whether states are only acting under their treaty obligations or whether adherence to treaty obligations has grown to include opinion juris and broader state practice. A good example of this is UNCLOS (UN convention on law of high seas). A lot of UNCLOS provisions have become customary IL. States that are not part of UNCLOS are bound by some of the provisions of the Convention. For a treaty to create custom you need non treaty parties acting as if they are bound by the treaty.
3. CUSTOM –> TREATY custom can be restated in a treaty format. When a treaty codifies customary IL, the treaty is restating customary IL.
4. CONTRACT –OUT A treaty can be used to contract out of customary IL. There are however certain obligations that no state can contract out of i.e. jus cogens norms.
The main critiques of Customary International Law are that the two requirements of state practice and opinion juris are too simplistic. There is not enough guidance from scholarship vis what is meant by these two requirements. Customary IL is in the ‘eye of the beholder’. There is no reason for the rule of custom or lack thereof. The science of customary law is lacking. Guidance from ICJ is vague. Opinion juris is also vague.
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In international law, opinio juris requires evidence which usually comes from resolutions. For example, general assembly resolutions. However, just because there is a general assembly resolution, does not mean that the resolution is law itself. There has to be state practice connected to the resolution. In international law general assembly resolutions must be approached with caution.
Continue reading “Opinio Juris Brief Notes”