Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne studia nad prawem
The Role and Functions of the Mechanisms of Soft Law in International Public Law Discourse. Remarks against the Background of the Opinions of the Venice Commission
The aim of the paper is to create an updated typology of soft law. It places soft law among mechanisms of a rather moral, sociological and political origin. This does not mean that it is completely irrelevant in legal terms, but the inclusion of the regulations of soft law in the framework of a “normative system” does not deserve to be taken into account i.a. due to the character of soft law (i.a. formulating the regulations in a general, imprecise manner, the uncertainty of introduced instruments, the lack of an obligatory force to implement them). This paper indicates the roles played by soft law in the international public law discourse. It also presents differences in their consideration on the grounds of the international law (including the Community law) as well as the internal law. Out of the whole catalogue of individual functions and tasks of soft law, special heed should be taken of the co-ordinating role of the mechanisms of soft law. Against this background, the paper makes a categorisation of the opinions of the Venice Commission in the framework of soft law. This is because they show the typical features of the mechanisms of that law: they play a binding role, relatively clarifying the international law, they are based on the undisputed authority of the creating entity. However, they are not subject to the forced implementation of them. In the conclusions of the paper, a chance, but also a fundamental threat related to the conduct of the international legal discourse on the basis of the mechanisms of soft law were indicated.