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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

5 - Explaining the Practical Purchase of Soft Law


Why do international and domestic legal actors employ and even apply international soft law sources, although these sources are not legally binding? In this chapter, after surveying different ways in which soft law is employed and applied in international and domestic courts, we offer several rational choice and behavioral hypotheses regarding the influence of soft law. These hypotheses are examined in relation to different types of soft law instruments and different actors who apply and create soft law. We conclude with a brief discussion of the dialectic relationship between soft law making and the influence of soft law.

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