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This paper aims to define the notion of institutional practice and it examines the extent to which United Nations organs and Member States can rely on and are limited by it. It describes all the normative theories involved, and proposes a simplified and comprehensive framework. The core argument is that institutional practice is less relevant than it seems in the first instance and, generally, it cannot do much by itself. It requires a further element to produce normative effects, whether in the form of Member States’ practice or other means of interpretation of the constitutive instrument. After a brief introduction, the second section focuses on what constitutes institutional practice, distinguishing between the problem of the acts that constitute practice and how they are attributed to the organisation. Section iii discusses its employment by the International Law Commission, which distinguishes ‘subsequent’ institutional practice as a means of interpretation of the constitutive instrument, ‘general’ institutional practice as an element of customary law, and ‘established’ institutional practice as a rule of the organisation. Finally, Section iv provides a general overview of the normative relevance of institutional practice. The Conclusion summarizes these main findings.

In: Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law Online

Abstract

In this paper, I first discuss the concept of ‘Grotian Moment’ in the context of the capacity of international organizations to contribute to the formation and identification of customary international law. Afterward, I apply three levels to discuss the time element of the formation of custom. At the micro-level of the institutional practice, the time required to form a customary norm may depend on whether each form of practice is directed to the institutional or to the international dimension. At the level of the organ, I reflect on the difference played by the presence or absence of member States in the institutional organ that adopts the practice relevant for custom formation. At the macro-level of the characteristics of the organization, I distinguish between so-called supranational and functional organizations. In general, I exclude the relevance of speaking in terms of a ‘Moment’ that produces a paradigm shift, and I stress the continuous change to which international law is subject.

In: Grotiana
In: International Organizations Law Review

This paper examines the legal nature of the ‘rules of international organizations’ as defined by the International Law Commission in its works on the law of treaties and on international responsibility. Part 1 introduces the debate with an example concerning the nature of un Security Council anti-terrorism resolutions. Part 2 challenges the four theories of the rules envisaged by scholarship. Part 3 is an attempt to examine the characteristics of the legal system produced by international organizations taking advantage of analytical jurisprudence, developing a theory of their legal nature defined as ‘dual legality’. Part 4 concludes by appraising the effects of the dual legality looking at the law of treaties, international responsibility and invalidity for ultra vires acts.

In: International Organizations Law Review