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Ethics: between law-making bodies and evolving patterns of behaviour

On the Northern Atlantic seaboards, three schools of secular jurisprudence have developed: Natural, Positivist and Normative.

Natural law has a notoriety for admitting politics into ethics.

UCL was a major source for Positivist jurisprudence in domestic, constitutional and international law; it did not shy away from the fact that the "force of law" was vital to its utility.

International Customary Law owes more to Normative jurisprudence. This insists, for example, on the "pious wish" for "perpetual peace", and has come to be the prevailing jurisprudence in intergovernmental organisations.

Normative jurisprudence is struggling with today's realities. Upholding existing laws is proving inadequate to the challenges confronted. the issue of non-state combatants highlights the kinds of gaps which are emerging, as the distinctions between war and peace blur. Other forces, such as cyber attacks or economic sanctions, further demonstrate how dated existing legal frameworks are.

Meanwhile, rising powers may pay little more than lip service to secular jurisprudence and, when confronted with the challenges upon which Normative jurisprudence has failed to deliver, may revert to the use of raw power.

This RIC will focus on how much law-making will meet the challenges ahead, and what behaviours are likely to emerge.

Page last modified on 11 may 11 17:02