Domestic Courts and the Interpretation of International Law

Methods and Reasoning Based on the Swiss Example

Author: Odile Ammann
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Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Introduction
 1 The Subject and Basic Claims of This Book
 2 Structure and Approach
 3 The Benchmarks of Legality and Quality

Part 1
What Is Interpretation?

1 The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts – A Topic That Matters
 1 Introduction
 2 The State of the Literature
  2.1  Descriptive Bias
  2.2 Domestic Bias
  2.3 ‘Amour Impossible’
  2.4 Legal Imperative
  2.5 Swiss Gap
 3 Why Switzerland?
 4 Why Courts?
 5 Why Domestic Courts?
 6 Why International Law?
 7 Why Focus on the Law’s Interpretative Methods?

2 Terminology and Conceptual Apparatus
 1 Introduction
 2 Legal Interpretation
 3 Judicial Interpretation
 4 Domestic Judicial Interpretation
 5 Methods of Interpretation
  5.1 Normative Interpretative Theories
  5.2 Structural and Axiological Interpretative Principles
  5.3 Rules
  5.4 Auxiliary Means
  5.5 Argument Types
 6 The Interpretation of International Law

3 Interpreting International Law in Context – Domestic Specificities
 1 Introduction
 2 The Swiss State and International Law
  2.1 Swiss Foreign Relations Law
  2.2 International Law in the Swiss Legal Order
 3 Legal Principles of Political Organization
  3.1 Federalism
  3.2 Linguistic Diversity
  3.3 The Rule of Law
  3.4 Semi-Direct Democracy
  3.5 The Federal Assembly qua ‘Supreme Authority of the Confederation’
 4 The Swiss Judiciary
  4.1 The Structure of the Swiss Judiciary
  4.2 Characteristics of Swiss Courts’ Interpretative Activity
 5 Conclusion

Part 2
Why Interpret?

4 The Legal Effect of Domestic Rulings in International Law
 1 Introduction
 2 Domestic Rulings as Means of Enforcement of International Law
 3 Domestic Rulings as Contributors to the Sources and Interpretation of International Law
  3.1 Domestic Rulings in the Sources of International Law (Art. 38(1)(a)– (c) icj Statute)
  3.2 Domestic Rulings as Auxiliary Means (Art. 38(1)(d) icj Statute)
 4 Conclusion

Part 3
How to Interpret?
5 The Need for Interpretative Methods in International Law
 1 Introduction
 2 Why Does the Law Need Interpretative Methods? a Comparison With Interpretation Outside the Law

  2.1 Similarities
  2.2 Differences
 3 The Origins of Interpretative Methods in Domestic and International Law
  3.1 Domestic Law
  3.2 International Law
  3.3 The Relationship between the Interpretative Methods of Domestic and International Law
 4 Three Reasons for Requiring States to Use Interpretative Methods
  4.1 Vagueness
  4.2 Counter-Majoritarian Decisions
  4.3 Judicial Politics
 5 Three Objections against Interpretative Methods
  5.1 The ‘Vague Methods’ Objection
  5.2 The ‘Self-Made Methods’ Objection
  5.3 The ‘Outcome Over Process’ Objection
 6 Conclusion

6 The Interpretative Methods of International Law: What Are They, and Why Use Them?
 1 Introduction
 2 The Interpretative Methods of International Law
  2.1 Textual Interpretation
  2.2 Systematic Interpretation
  2.3 Teleological Interpretation
  2.4 Historical Interpretation
  2.5 The Relationship between the Various Interpretative Methods
 3 Conclusion

7 Swiss Courts and Treaty Interpretation
 1 Introduction
 2 Domestic Courts and the Methods of Treaty Interpretation
  2.1 Introductory Remarks
  2.2 Exposing and Evaluating the Practice
 3 Swiss Courts and the Methods of Treaty Interpretation
  3.1 The Swiss Federal Tribunal and Treaty Interpretation before the vclt’s Entry into Force (1954–1980)
  3.2 The Swiss Federal Tribunal and Treaty Interpretation after the vclt’s Entry into Force and before Its Ratification by Switzerland (1980–1990)
  3.3 Swiss Courts and Treaty Interpretation after the vclt’s Entry into Force in Switzerland (1990–2016)
  3.4 Relationship with Interpretative Methods under Swiss Law
  3.5 Comparing the Practice of Swiss Courts
  3.6 Putting the Swiss Judicial Practice into Perspective
 4 Evaluation

8 Swiss Courts and the Interpretation of Unwritten International Law
 1 Introduction
 2 Customary International Law
  2.1 Domestic Courts and the Interpretation of Customary International Law
  2.2 Swiss Courts and the Interpretation of Customary International Law
 3 General Principles of International Law
  3.1 Domestic Courts and the Interpretation of General Principles of International Law
  3.2 Swiss Courts and the Interpretation of General Principles of International Law
 4 Evaluation

Conclusion and Recommendations
 1 The Argument Defended in This Book
 2 Recommendations
  2.1 Improving the Legality and the Quality of Domestic Rulings
  2.2  Enhancing the Accessibility of Domestic Rulings

Bibliography
Index